Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Walking Dead Game: Episode 1

(I originally posted this on my Google+ page, but in a few days it will be buried under a pile of images and links.  So I will repost it here.)

I finished Episode 1 of The Walking Dead game and I absolutely loved it. I was only planning on playing a couple of minutes, but the characters and situations kept me invested. I just had to see what happened next. Telltale did an awesome job retelling the zombie apocalypse story.

I would say that 45% of the game consisted of talking to people and developing relationships, another 45% was examining the environment and figuring out puzzles, and the final 10% was freaking the fuck out. There were times I did or said the "wrong" thing because I was drinking water or eating something (in real life), and the game forced me to make a quick decision. The best analogy I can think of is imagine that you're driving on the freeway and you realize that you're about to pass up your exit. Can you react fast enough to safely make the exit? Do you let is pass and just rely on making a U-turn later? Or do you risk your life and the lives of everyone around you to swerve over three lanes and exit? Now add zombies to the situation. Yeah, it's something like that. At one point or another, I let a lot of people die, and I may or may not have punched an old dying man in the face. Not to mention, I actually died within the first ten minutes of playing. The game handles the theme of urgency well.

A favorite part (that I was kind of worried about before playing) is the combat. The fighting and killing in this game plays out like how a regular person would fight or kill. It's awkward, it's clunky, and it's terrifying. Nobody wants to drive an ice pick into someone else's head, and how many more chances do you have if you miss? (In a clicking frenzy, I missed a few times and peed a little each time.) The way I describe it makes it sound like a complaint but I really did love how they managed the fight scenes. Fighting zombies is exciting.

My only gripe is that the game felt really short. I finished the first episode in about two hours. I know, I can play it again several times and respond differently, which could lead to different scenes and situations. I just really wanted less time freaking out and more time to socialize with the other survivors. Instead, I kept getting rushed from one problem to the next. But I guess it makes sense. The fall of civilization isn't a fun party where you can just drink and make new friends.

I took as many screenshots as possible (which was nearly impossible amidst some of the chaos), and I uploaded some funny/interesting ones. For the most part, they're spoiler-free.

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