Saturday, 28 April 2012

Game review: The Walking Dead: Episode 1

The first I heard that this game existed was when I saw an initial review released so I had quite literally no idea what to expect from this the first of five episodic downloadable titles based off the popular comic and television show.

As you may already know ‘The Walking Dead’ franchise as it has now become, chronicles the lives of survivors of a zombie apocalypse who, after their world is thrown into chaos, try to fend for their lives against increasingly difficult odds of survival. The series, which takes place in Atlanta, Georgia in North America (that’s southern North America if you don’t know your states), is renowned for its suspense and the originality of its realistic depiction of human survival. Obviously a benchmark has been set, one that this new interpretation must meet lest it disappoint the series’ loyal fan base.

Sadly Rick Grimes is not the main character of this game.

In the game you play as Lee Everett a history professor who is on his way to jail for the murder of a state senator who has been sleeping with his wife, when a chatty cop pulls a ‘Lloyd Christmas’ the car carrying himself and Lee collides with a zombie and careers off a highway. When Lee awakens (seemingly days later) he must find his way to safety from the walkers that confront him, eventually making contact with a little girl who has lost her parents. Lee takes custody of the girl and the two set out to find a safe haven until the ordeal is over.

The control system for the game is quite disappointingly a point and click affair (an uncharted like control system would have been great in my opinion), while at first I thought that this may add an element of suspense and helplessness to the game that was suited to the theme of the series I came to realise that the clunkiness of this type of control has been outdated on PC (the platform for which it is ideal) for years for a reason and so on a console like a PS3 it seems ludicrous to have such a limiting interaction with a game.

The main character of the game, Lee Everett. Notice the comic-like graphics.

The cel-shaded graphics are beautifully realised and make it seem as if the comic is coming to life, I couldn’t imagine a better art style for a game like this that is so visually appealing and yet representative of the comics from which it began. The voice acting however is very hit and miss, some are perfectly passable even good at times like the main character Lee but a huge amount of the vocal talent have clearly phoned it in, giving a less than interesting cast of survivors, if I had been given the option I would have used quite a few of them as zombie bait.

For a relatively low budget and low profile game it has quite an ambitious idea, it features a spiders web of plot lines based on the decisions you make similar to games like Mass Effect, I’ll hold my thoughts on this since I can’t tell how thorough they will be given that I’ve experienced just one of the 5 episodes. This RPG-like addition is the first indicator of some of the extremely tedious tasks present in both bad RPGs and point and click adventures also existing here, the mandatory “Talk to everyone in the room” is no longer acceptable in games in 2012 some real evolution has happened since that was the only way to give players interaction, the developers are really falling behind with these tired old mechanics.

How playing point and click games make me feel.

All in all though I am mostly interested in what happens next, whether that’s because of the quality of this story or because I’m a fan of the comic and television series I don’t know yet, but what I do know is that next time I want a click option for “Punch 5 year old in the throat” then I’ll be happy. If you were planning on buying this I would advise not to, it isn’t worth the price tag unless you’re one of three things: 1) A diehard Walking Dead fan, 2) A point and click fan/ time traveller from 1995, 3) A masochist. 


  1. Great review! I loved your openmindedness(how you do not try to set in stone how the game sucks) and range of vocabulary. Very enjoyable to read!

  2. Enjoying the Blog! Reviews are well written and insightful.
    Wondering if you'd review Citizen Kane, I know it has a huge reputation but I watched it recently and was disappointed, I probably don't understand the innovations etc.