The stench of rotting corpses fills the air, alone and separated from your group, fear begins to set in. As you scramble gingerly and take a glance of the inhospitable surroundings, a slight misstep could spell the end. In the distance, the sound of chewing and gnawing is all too familiar. A horde of walkers have claimed yet another life. When will it all end?
Lee Everett, the game’s protagonist is first seen in a patrol vehicle on route to prison. A former university professor, his reputation is now tarnished and battered. What he doesn’t know is that the next few days will make all that pale in comparison. Within minutes, a walker causes the vehicle to swerve and tailspin onto the side of the road, spiraling out of control into a ditch. Dazed momentarily, Lee makes his way out of the wreckage by breaking the windscreen.
Lee’s very first encounter with a walker is truly memorable as the policeman, or at least what’s left of him is crawling menacingly towards you. A quick glance to the right, you notice a shotgun beside you. Left with no choice, you are forced to put it out of its misery. Fumble and take too long to react, and it could get messy.
The walkers here are no pushover
The Walking Dead presents you with many different choices to play the game. Do you shoot someone to save them from the unimaginable pain of being eaten alive? Take supplies that isn’t yours out of sheer desperation or risk starvation? Choosing to spare the life of a maniac isn’t so easy when the opportunity presents itself. Be the guy who thinks of nothing but the safety of the group or one that everyone would loathe and despise. These are just some of the choices that the game presents to you. How you choose to respond, whom do you pledge your allegiance with, or decide to rescue – they ultimately go a long way in altering the game. Which is why, playing differently on your next session just to see what other alternatives can unravel is very much encouraged.
No zombie apocalypse would be complete without a well diverse cast, and this is where The Walking Dead delivers. Staples of the genre; college jock, the journalist with a keen eye, an overly protective dad, and an orphan are just some of the different people you will meet. Their motives and hidden agenda bring much conflict and tension once food and medication supplies run dry. Often at times, Lee will have to play peacekeeper and attempt to diffuse the situation.
With top-notch writing, initiating conversations isn’t a chore but an integral experience. Friendships turn hostile, uneasy alliances are formed out of sheer desperation, romance could spark as you get to know someone, this game has emotion down to a pat. And in an industry marred with many one-dimensional characters that fail to engage, the cast here are well-rounded and relatable.
Amidst the chaos, humanity is very much alive
Players use the left analog to control Lee while the right one is reserved for looking around the environment. Everyday tools such as shovels, ladders and wrenches can be used to get out of a sticky situation or to fight off incoming walkers. Conversations are more often then not, timed as you are forced to choose from four options to respond. Get caught telling a lie and you will be called on it, raising further suspicion on Lee. Your actions are also tied and timed to the D-pad. Be too quick and press on the trigger, and it will alert walkers to your presence. With the onrush of footsteps and no escape in sight, scanning the environment for an exit or a tool that you can use, is bound to set your heart racing.
Point and click games will always have the issue of certain items and objectives not being highlighted clearly enough which is bound to frustrate and cause moments of aimlessly wandering around, but as they occur so rarely, it doesn’t detract from the experience. If you appreciate a well woven tale that is high on drama and intrigue, $20 is all but a small sum. Ironically, The Walking Dead revives the slumbering point and click games from its grave to new heights, and sets the benchmark for others to follow. Season 2 can’t come soon enough, we are waiting with bated breath.
Most bizarre moment (LOOK AWAY IF YOU HAVEN’T BEATEN THE EPISODE): Episode 2 will leave you disgusted once the motives of a group is revealed. Something about the St. John’s just doesn’t seem right. With those shifty eyes and Brenda’s willingness to cook up a meal for our whole group, surely something is up. You see, they have a well thought out plan, survivors who wander onto the area will be presented with an offer that is too good to pass up on. Food for gas, you say? Fair trade in a world gone to shit. We will just keep you alive long enough and feast on your flesh. Its downright gory and sick, but that’s what make this episode so awesome.