Review: The Walking Dead Episode 1
The XBLA release from Telltale and Skybound ‘The Walking Dead: Episode 1’ is based on the highly successful and amazing AMC TV show of the same name. In this episode (of which there will be five in total) we are introduced to the Zombie apocalypse with a fresh new perspective.
You start out as Lee, and without spoiling anything, he has a fairly shifty past. You encounter numerous allies and enemies along the way, and for 400 Microsoft points this is a downright steal. The key concept for this series is that every decision you make directly affects you at some point during the game, whether that is in the next five minutes or in the next couple of episodes we the player aren’t made aware. These decisions can be a number of things; who you save, how much you care for other characters in conversation or the side you represent in an argument. I really felt like this mattered and it works fantastically well. You are under pressure to make decisions with quick time events, and especially during conversation as you have a time bar and options to choose as a response. If you take too long you actually choose total silence, so be careful as some bars move MUCH quicker than others. The feeling of pressure is also present in combat, if you take too long or get spotted by a zombie, it’s game over. You constantly feel in a battle with your conscience and at the same time you find yourself trying to watch out for any developing situations you may need to act on.
The game is presented in a comic art style which works pretty well overall although, the eyes of Lee seem to have a life of their own. We also see the return of two characters from the original TV show in the form of Glenn and Hershel. Although Hershel’s story is different, Glenn is relatively the same character, which I thought was a nice touch. If you knew that The Walking Dead Episode 1 would be an original tale, you might have then thought that you would miss characters such as Rick and the others from the TV show but none of them matter here, other stories exist and this is just one of the many.
The newest and the best addition to this zombie tale are the other characters such as Clementine. She represents what is best about this game, personality and real character. Even though this game is only a couple of hours long, you feel attached to her and I found myself desperately trying to save her as I didn’t want her death on my conscience.
At times it can be annoying that loading screens interrupt the flow and exist at all, even if they are brief. Do not be alarmed as I am being very picky because the quality of this game is that great that you wouldn’t welcome a moments rest. Yes, these episodes might be 400 points each and so therefore total up 2000 Microsoft points but this way you can make sure you like the product, in this case you should. You feel under pressure constantly which I assume accurately represents a zombie apocalypse, just as I would feel under pressure if I hadn’t bought this on the XBLA yet.