Originally derived from a graphic novel, this franchise has captivated zombie enthusiasts with a rich devotion to both character development and a unique insight into life as it would be in an undead world. Moving from comic books, to a hit television sitcom, and now a video game, The Walking Dead has taken the zombie genre to a whole new level of storytelling.
In The Walking Dead video game, players are given the opportunity to experience the mayhem for themselves. When faced with trials, it is up to the player to decide the best way to go about it. As the story begins to unfold, players will learn that they must not only look out for themselves, but also decide who else is worth saving.
Lee: A middle-aged man with a mysterious past—players see the world through the eyes of Lee Everett. Labeled as a criminal by society, Lee doesn’t fit the part as he begins to show concern and loyalty to his friend, Clementine, whom he had met in the midst of the pandemic. As players advance through the game, they will begin to learn more about Lee and the life he lived before the traumatic events that changed his life as it once was.
Clementine (Clem): Independent, strong-willed, yet filled with innocence, eight-year-old Clementine (Clem) proves that she can hold her own in a society in ruins. Separated from her parents, she becomes scared and confused amid the events that take place but manages to maintain her composure and uses her smarts to overcome the obstacles that lay before her. Clem learns to fend for herself when she realizes that she is on her own. It Isn’t long before she and Lee cross paths and the two of them decide that there will be better chances of survival if they stick together.
Every character in the game possesses a unique personality and each of them gives a heavy contribution to the story. What excited me the most was when I would run into a familiar character from the television show and graphic novels.
With point-and-click controls, the game easily accommodates players of all skill levels. Conversation options are assigned to various buttons that make for a simple way to breeze through the dialogues, and all other options are set up in a player-friendly fashion that allows for a simple, yet enjoyable, experience. There are two modes that a player can choose to play. The first gives players hints and mark “hot spots” around the environments that make it easy to locate objects of objective points. The other mode is completely free of these aids and leaves it up to the players to find things out on their own. The “hot spots” are displayed with dim-white dots over the point of interest. Once a player moves the reticule over the dot and clicks on it, that point becomes activated and Lee will react with it accordingly.
The combat in the game is extremely entertaining to watch with gory bits displayed in a creative manner. I found myself cringing while Lee used a hammer to repeatedly bash in the head of a “walker” as it clung onto any sense of life that still remained within its rotting corpse. The combat system is used just like any of the other controls. “Hot spots” will be placed in various areas on the subject’s body and a strike will be dealt when a character clicks on it.
Where the game truly compelled me was with the strong sense of human emotion that was portrayed amongst the characters and how every decision had an impact on how the story would unfold. In a particular situation I had to choose to either travel in the day or in the night. I figured that traveling during the day would be safer so I chose that option. Clementine reassured me that it was the best option since the zombies seem to mass during the night.
Let’s just pretend for a minute that an all-out zombie infection plagued the earth. I can only imagine the emotions and the decisions that mankind would have to endure in such a catastrophe. It is an absolute rarity to find a game that invites players into the story and allows them to experience the drama for themselves. The Walking Dead game had me completely immersed in the story as I began to make difficult decisions and feel all sorts of emotions for the various members in my group. There were characters who I cared for and felt completely loyal to, and at the same time there were characters who I didn’t trust. The game’s wealth of character development is produced by player interactions in the game.
Whether the dilemma be big or small, players of The Walking Dead are constantly faced with decisions. Choosing to give one character a candy bar instead of the other, or even having to make a choice between which friend to save from a horrible death—every decision has its consequences and each will change the game accordingly.
I also have always liked the monster within idea. I like the zombies being us. Zombies are the blue-collar monsters. -George A. Romero
Between zombie attacks and missions, character interaction is a more than necessary function in the game. A quick discussion with another can go a long way, for it not only gives more insight into the situation at hand, but also allows players to create a healthy relationship with the fellow survivors. I noticed that when I took the time to check on how the others were holding up, they began to trust me more and took note that I cared for them. Being that the characters took into account practically everything I said to them, I quickly learned to be more attentive to the things I would say. Lee is naturally a horrible liar and when he failed to tell the truth, his actions screamed with awkwardness which made it blatantly obvious to others that he was a bit dishonest.
It is great to see that the developers over at TellTale Games made a point to stay true to the graphic novel which the game was inspired by. Portrayed in a classic comic book fashion, the graphics resemble the images depicted in the novel. I have to admit that at first I was a bit hesitant on how well the cartoon graphics would fit such a serious game, but after playing I was relieved of my uncertainties and began to favor the stylish and unique look to the game.
My only worries for the game is how the audience will react to a point-and-click adventure game, and also some may be deterred by the lack of a strong challenge in the game. For those who had played and enjoyed classic point-and-click games such as “Full Throttle” or “Day Of The Tentacle,” I have no doubt that The Walking Dead will be the perfect fix to rejuvenate your adventurous desires. Gamers who hadn’t played games of this type may have trouble adjusting to the unfamiliar style of gameplay. Point-and-click adventure games are essentially made to entertain gamers through an interactive story-telling experience. Though it doesn’t present much of a challenge, The Walking Dead has delivered a game that managed to entertain with a deep dialogue and story that accurately captured the reality of human survival.
Although I was completely patient through dialogues and took full advantage of everything the game had to offer, I completed the first episode in only two hours. This may seem short to some, but when considering the high replay value and the four remaining episodes that will be released, this game is well worth the money. At this moment it is unclear when the other episodes will be available, but the good news is that all the future episodes are included in one base price when the game is purchased for $24.99.
As an avid fan of The Walking Dead franchise and the entire zombie genre as a whole, I can admit that I am a bit biased to anything relating to the undead, but I can honestly say this game has accomplished what most others fail to do. While playing I felt that the game adapted to me, not the other way around. I was pulled into a scenario that was overflowing with chaos and I managed to experience every bit of it.