The dead walk right into your games!
Here at The 4th Wall, we love a lot of things. We love comics, we love The Walking Dead, and we love video games. What happens when you combine all three? You get endless joy and excitement. I recently downloaded Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead, an episodic “point and click” game based on Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard‘s highly successful series. Now I know Justin is usually the one to review video games, but I really could not resist.
So what is an episodic series? It’s a kind of game that works similar to a t.v show. The game is made up of episodes (in the case of The Walking Dead it is made up of 5 episodes) and when each episode is released, you get the next portion of the game. Games like these have existed for awhile and it does seem like one of the best formats to go with when doing a game based on a comic book, itself an episodic format. You can download the game in two ways. When playing on a console like the Xbox 360 or the PS3, you download/pay for each episode as it is made available. In the case of PC or Macs, you can pay for a “season pass” which means you have paid for all 5 episodes at once and they will be downloaded to your computer as they are released. But enough about the boring technical jibber jabber, how is the game?
The Walking Dead is set in the same universe as the comic books (so nothing about the popular AMC show appears in this) and follows the story of Lee Everett, a man who may or may not have committed a murder. While being brought to prison, he finds himself at the very beginning of the zombie outbreak and lands himself in charge of taking care of an orphaned little girl. The game is a “point and click” adventure so you walk around the environment and use your cursor to interact with the environment. This includes picking things up, talking to characters and of course, killing zombies. The true beauty of this format however is it’s attention to story-telling over action. Yes there is action, and it comes at a fairly regular pace. But the parts that shine, much like in the comic series, are the moments of interpersonal connection. You are put into a situation with people that you have to choose to trust or distrust. The only way you can ever choose to do either is by talking with people and getting to know them. Speaking of choice, it plays a large part in this game. You have dialogue choices that effect your gameplay and how the story plays out for you. There are even choices that mean life or death for some people. Oddly enough, it really gets you to think what you might do in a similar situation. Would you lie to your fellow survivors or would you tell them the truth? Would you choose to be confrontational or as helpful as possible? In one sequence of the first episode, you find yourself having to make a choice of who to save. Saving one person means the other will die. Without a moment’s hesitation I picked, based on what they offered myself and the group as a whole. It brings out a side of you you might have never known. It allows you to connect and engage with characters that you come to get attached to, much like Kirkman’s books do.
If it isn’t clear, I love this game so far. It gives a greater look into the world crafted previously, it truly succeeds in its ability to connect with the player and the strengths of this game are the same strengths present within the books. I will say this, it might be worthwhile to wait until all 5 episodes are released before purchasing the game. Because I guarantee that once you start playing, you’ll want to keep going until the very end.
Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead (Episode 1 & 2 have been released as of writing this post)