The Walking Dead: Episode 1: A New Day Review
The Walking Dead series is one of my favourites, from the comic series to the impressive AMC drama series of the same name, I just can’t get enough of it. So I’m very bias when it comes to this downloadable Point and Click/adventure/visual novel we have here. The game will be released in five parts, so far they’ve only cost 400MS points each (That’s five dollars in old-timey money) and you certainly get enough bang for your buck.
The game doesn’t follow the plot of the comics or the TV show and instead has us follow another group of survivors just after the start of the zombie outbreak. We follow the story of Lee, a man convicted of murder. His prison transfer vehicle gets into a car crash and Lee gets knocked out cold for who knows how long. Once he comes to, he has to break out of the car and comes quickly comes face to face with his first zombie. After blowing the former cop’s head off he goes in search for help and instead finds a little girl called Clementine, who needs help more than our wounded jail bird. The game sees the pair attempt to figure out what the hell is going on, finding a way to get to Lee’s family and just plain surviving in a world that’s gone to hell.
While it would be wrong to call it a click and point adventure game it’s the closest thing I can think of at the moment. You control the movement of Lee as he slowly navigates restrictive environments while you also scan the area with your cursor. The early sequence with killing the cop at the start really sums up the feeling of the game. You’ve got a zombie quickly crawling towards you, an empty gun to your left and a shell to you right. The “puzzle” is to add the shell to gun, while the point and click aspect is point at head and “click”. It’s simple but you’ve got to do it quickly or you’re going to be zombie chow. Most of the game is fairly relaxed but the when things get messy you’ve only got a few seconds to act and due to the interface you’re sure to get a kick out of it.
Like I said though, the game is fairly relaxed. I would say 90% of the game is just you wandering around the area, exploring the world and coming to terms with the undead and all that. You also spend your time talking to your fellow survivors. Conversations can be directed with options much like ‘Mass Effect’, ‘Alpha Protocol’, ‘LA Noire’; you know the type. You get up to four options and how you answer or act around people will affect how people will behave around you. So if you lie about how you know Clementine for example; well that could come around and bite you in the ass later in the game. However do you want people to know you’re a convicted murderer, technically on the run from the law?
It’s not only your conversations that will affect the game but your actions will too. At set points you’re given choices…not always easy choices and they’re normally on a timer. Did you choose to rest and venture out at night, or did you decide to go sooner rather than later. Did you side with the overly protective father or the guy that says that child is bitten and will become a problem later on? All these things will affect the story to the point where you feel like you’re reading a ‘choose your own adventure’ story book, the kicker is that these choices will affect future episodes so once you’ve completed them all you’ll be able to do it all over again but get a different story.
It works though, it works so well. You spend your time getting to know these characters, getting attached to them but before too long something will come along and ruin your day. Throw in some very tense moments and you’re got yourself one hell of a game. It’s slow burn, don’t expect to be killing many zombies, but it’s a well written, well acted story that will have you engaged from start to finish. If you enjoyed the comics or the TV series then give this game a look.