Videos and opinions from the first episode of Telltale's take on the comic turned game.
To be frank, I'm a bit sick of talking about The Walking Dead: The Game. For more than a year now, IGN has been covering developer Telltale Games' newest project, but we haven't actually seen much of it -- just had interviews and story tidbits to dissect. In that time period, episodes of Back to the Future started strong but faltered while Jurassic Park disappointed.
What does that mean for The Walking Dead: The Game? Well, not much. I've played the first episode, and as a fan of the franchise, I'm happy to tell you it's really good. Why? Well...
Above is the first four minutes of The Walking Dead. If you don't want to watch it because of spoilers, just know that it starts us off as protagonist Lee Everett and allows us to ease into the role. Once everything is established, it's irrevocably destroyed.
Episode one took two hours to play through for the first time, and there are plenty of moments like this -- where the action slows, the dialogue takes over so I get to know the characters, and then action hits. If you're not reading The Walking Dead comics, that's how creator Robert Kirkman has it play out. It feels like the book.
One of the biggest complaints with Jurassic Park was that the action didn't feel right. For years, audiences knew these dinosaurs as clever killers, and suddenly humans were outrunning them and getting plenty of time to make what should've been split-second decisions.
The Walking Dead game doesn't suffer from that problem -- so far. The video above shows how fast a zombie can get the drop on Lee, and it feels like just the right amount of time. The shambling horde is going to come after you, and as they do, red seeps from the corners of your screen to give you an idea of how close to dead you are.
I took out my fair share of walkers in episode one, and at no point did I feel like, "This is nonsense, I should be dead."
Historically, Telltale titles don't shoot for the "M" rating, so some were worried about how the developers would handle killing the undead. But there's no reason to be concerned. The babysitter video above is one of the more graphic kills in the episode, but it's not the most graphic kill. Here's another kill that, again, isn't the most graphic one. Seems like Telltale's got the blood and gore down.
Still, the coolest thing The Walking Dead game has going for it is choice. Throughout the game, you're presented with game-altering choices. Sometimes they are little things like your response to a question influencing how a person feels about you, but other times they are massive decisions like saving one person over another. These choices are cool enough that as soon as I beat episode one I immediately wanted to replay it to make the other decisions, but I'm even more jazzed to see how they play out episode after episode. My group of survivors and how they feel about me could be vastly different than yours come episode five.
Plus, you get to see how other players chose when you finish an episode, and there are multiple save slots so that you can have multiple playthroughs for each episode and thus multiple takes on the same overall game. (Spoilery image of the stats in the image gallery.)
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
It means that I'm really excited to get my hands on the final version of The Walking Dead: The Game episode one and make different decisions to see how my relationships and experiences change. Other than being excited to play again, it doesn't mean all that much. I loved the first episode of Back to the Future, but the experience lost me by the end. After talking with story consultant Gary Whita about later episodes and all the crazy crap that's going to happen, I'm not too worried about that being a problem with the Walking Dead, but just like in a zombie apocalypse, it's better to be safe than sorry.
The first episode of The Walking Dead will be available this month for 400 Microsoft Points or $4.99 on the PlayStation Network. PC and Mac players can also get the first of the five episodes this month, but they have to pay $24.95 upfront for the entire season.