Lee Everett sits in the back of a police car, convicted of murder and being transported by a rather chatty old cop in the heart of Georgia. After answering the seemingly harmless questions asked by the old timer, you start to take notice of strange things going on, even if the cop decides to ignore it. The radar blasts with incoming reports; emergency vehicles are seen screaming down the other side of the highway, but soon you are neck deep in the events after your squad car collides with a zombie meandering across the road. As you drift in and out of consciousness, you survey the wreckage and escape with a pretty bad leg injury.
This is where you take control of the character for the first time, outside of choosing dialogue chooses that are on a timer; keeping the tension high in the game. Surviving an up close and personal experience with the former lawman that wants nothing more than to dine on your flesh, you barely escape coming to the realization that the woods are littered with the undead. Meeting up with a sweet little girl Clementine; whose parents are away on vacation, the two of you head off to try and make sense of the nightmare you find yourselves in.
The world that infamous point and click developer Telltale has created feels different when compared to the sterile world in the previous Back to the Future series. Where their last title Jurassic Park felt more like an interactive movie than game, The Walking Dead blends the classic point and click style with action moments perfectly. You feel in full control of your character this time, as you try and outsmart and survive the zombie apocalypse.
Choice. Choice sets this game apart and choices made under pressure keeps the tension palpable. Only having precious seconds to respond or to act in a situation as the fear of the undead is always there clouding your judgment. Your choice plays a integral role in the game and among the group of survives. It will be your decisions that will keep people alive or more often than not get them killed. How you act will constantly change how you are perceived.
The overarching story arc runs in parallel to the events from the AMC series and the graphic novel as you are introduced to new characters as well as some that will be familiar. This is not a simple side story in the same universe and for those that haven’t watched the series or read the graphic novel won’t feel like they are getting the short end of the stick. The narrative can stand up on its own merits to the original series story.
Once the credits rolled on the first episode after breaking the 3-hour mark I found myself sitting at the each of the couch, finally able to relax my grip on the controller. Making use of a graphic novel style, the aging engine utilized by Telltale has never looked better. The emotion and fear on the characters faces as a zombie is looming over them is the best I have seen. The PlayStation 3 version can be a bit choppy at times, but this is nothing new for PS3 owners. Telltale has grasped more than just my attention with the first episode as I await patiently for Episode 2 and continue my struggle for survival in a world that no one is prepared for.Note: The Walking Dead: Episode 1 - A New Day was reviewed on PlayStation 3. A digital copy of the game was provided by the publisher/developer.