Half-Ass Gaming Reviews: The Walking Dead Review

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Welcome to the walking nightmare… you are immediately placed in a car as a man in need of a better lawyer. You are Lee Everett, who is headed out of Atlanta in the back seat of a police car. The veteran police officer analyzing, Lee, believes he is not a guilty man. And he makes this point known while barely paying attention to the road. Like any good B movie, a shambling figure dances into the road and sends the both of you tumbling into a ditch.

It’s at this juncture that you are firmly in control of, Lee Everett. Unlike previous titles in the adventure genre, players will notice the lack of an intrusive U.I. If you’re familiar with any of Telltales previous games like, Back to the Future for example, you’ll notice some similarities but distinct differences when playing, The Walking Dead. The game completely omits the need to grab at random items; instead they are attached to the pointer and shown at the left of the screen.

The Walking Dead, incorporates vast changes to the formula of adventure games. To create a heightened sense of fear, Lee is placed into dangerous situations which span from quicktime events, to aiming the reticule at key body parts. It’s the survival aspect that keeps players locked into a game where you don’t constantly shoot zombies in the face. It’s a puzzle solving game without all of the elaborate choices from other games in the genre. A variety of the puzzles are fairly simple and common sense; while others rely on the player advancing to another area first.

It isn’t just the puzzles that make the world feel alive, it’s the sense of choice that most adventure games don’t have. Players will make tough choices that can change the whole dynamic of who Lee associates with. For example, there is a portion of the game where players can choose to roam the city in the daylight or at night. In one of these choices, the player will completely miss the opportunity to meet one of the characters. In many of the other choices, the player has to choose between the life and death of two survivors.

Other choices aren’t as cut and dry as that, since Lee will be able to make various dialogue choices that change the way he is perceived. If Lee is spending all of his time being a dick, the rest of the characters will take note and think of him as a wild card. My only problem with this so far, is that it doesn’t seem to really change the outcome of any given situation. Sure the survivors will mention it in dialogue, but they won’t hold it against you when the going gets tough. I’m sure this is because it’s the first episode and these situations will be fleshed out more, but as of now it feels severely linear.

The world that Robert Kirkman created jumps off the comic book panel and onto the screen. The characters look as if they were drawings come to life, with some nice 3D animations to complete the transformation. Telltale has gone a long way to make this 2d comic into the 3D gamespace, and make some of your favorite characters into living breathing survivors. It is a great thing to see and may push more players into reading the comics.

The voice acting is notable as well, with some steadfast performances. It isn’t award-winning but it keeps to the tone of, The Walking Dead series. The cheesy voice-overs and often over-emotional conflict is what this series is about, and the only real issue would have to be the main character, Lee. He often sounds bland when expressing himself and it seems as if his performance could have used a lot more oomph! The sound effects really keep you on your toes, with some haunting melodies and some juicy blood splatters.

In the end, this is a fantastic opening for the new series. Like many people, I was worried how this would work out in the adventure game genre. However, Telltale has crafted a gory treat to start the episodic story. Here is hoping that the rest of the game can capture more of the “Choose your own” adventure vibe. The Walking Dead, receives a B+ from Half-Ass Gaming; let’s hope that each episode keeps up with this one.

 

Welcome to the walking nightmare… you are immediately placed in a car as a man in need of a better lawyer. You are Lee Everett, who is headed out of Atlanta in the back seat of a police car. The veteran police officer analyzing, Lee, believes he is not a guilty man. And he makes this point known while barely paying attention to the road. Like any good B movie, a shambling figure dances into the road and sends the both of you tumbling into a ditch.

It’s at this juncture that you are firmly in control of, Lee Everett. Unlike previous titles in the Adventure Genre, players will notice the lack of an intrusive U.I. If you’re familiar with any of Telltales previous games like Back to the Future for example, you’ll notice some similarities but distinct differences when playing The Walking Dead. The game completely omits the need to grab at random items; instead they are attached to the pointer and shown at the left of the screen.

The Walking Dead incorporates vast changes to the formula of adventure games. To create a heightened sense of fear, Lee is placed into dangerous situations which span from quicktime events, to aiming the reticule at key body parts. It’s the survival aspect that keeps players locked into a game where you don’t constantly shoot zombies in the face. It’s a puzzle solving game without all of the elaborate choices from other games in the genre. A variety of the puzzles are fairly simple and common sense; while others rely on the player advancing to another area first.

It isn’t just the puzzles that make the world feel alive, it’s the sense of choice that most adventure games don’t have. Players will make tough choices that can change the whole dynamic of who Lee associates with. For example, there is a portion of the game where players can choose to roam the city in the daylight or at night. In one of these choices, the player will completely miss the opportunity to meet one of the characters. In many of the other choices, the player has to choose between the life and death of two survivors.

Other choices aren’t as cut and dry as that, since Lee will be able to make various dialogue choices that change the way he is perceived. If Lee is spending all of his time being a dick, the rest of the characters will take note and think of him as a wild card. My only problem with this so far, is that it doesn’t seem to really change the outcome of any given situation. Sure the survivors will mention it in dialogue, but they won’t hold it against you when the going gets tough. I’m sure this is because it’s the first episode and these situations will be fleshed out more, but as of now it feels severely linear.

The world that Robert Kirkman created jumps off the comic book panel and onto the screen. The characters look as if they were drawings come to life, with some nice 3D animations to complete the transformation. Telltalle has gone a long way to make this 2d comic into the 3D gamespace, and make some of your favorite characters into living breathing survivors. It is a great thing to see and may push more players into reading the comics.

The voice acting is notable as well, with some steadfast performances. It isn’t award-winning but it keeps to the tone of The Walking Dead series.  The cheesy voiceovers and often over-emotional conflict is what this series is about, and the only real issue would have to be the main character, Lee. He often sounds bland when expressing himself and it seems as if his performance could have used a lot more oomph! The sound effects really keep you on your toes, with some haunting melodies and some juicy blood splatters.

In the end, this is a fantastic opening for the new series. Like many people, I was worried how this would work out in the adventure game genre. However, Telltale has crafted a gory treat to start the episodic story. Here is hoping that the rest of the game can capture more of the “Choose your own” adventure vibe. The Walking Dead receives a B+ from Half-Ass Gaming; let’s hope that each episode keeps up with this one.