I am a die-hard fan of everything Zombie…ergo George A Romero is God, 28 Days Later is a Legend and obviously, Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead Graphic Novels. Been following the series for a while and it kinda has the same vibe that Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later had. See, when people think zombies…its all blood and gore. However, in The Walking Dead, zombies only set the stage for loads of drama and emotions scattered throughout an apocalyptic world dense with zombies. Frank Darabont’s ‘The Walking Dead’ TV series was right on par with the graphic novels and hailed as one of the best TV shows ever. Though the TV show was only loosely based on the graphic novels so as to pave way for some brilliant writing and a different story arc than that of the graphic novels. I was never too excited when I heard a Walking Dead game was in the making especially by a studio whose previous games having a record of being mediocre to being absolute ‘down the drain’ stuff. I was further less excited when I learnt that the game was to be a ‘PnC’ Adventure (Point n Click). I stopped following news about it and thought to let it slip by my hands but then, a new day dawned!
Welcome to ‘The Walking Dead – A New Day’, the first of 5 episodic games developed by Telltale Games. You, in ‘A New Day’ starts off as Lee Everett, a man with a mysterious past caught in the thick of zombie apocalypse. The very first sequence itself reminds you of its cinematic depiction. Its been tightly directed to make it feel like another Darabont TV episode. The narrative is well done letting you choose responses to an NPCs questions which takes you forward with the story. The game is filled with conversations with NPCs. So if you are not a fan of ‘cut scenes’ you might be a bit put off…coz there are helluva load of em. I, for one, loved the interactions with the NPCs. The characters are emotionally attached to us. Especially Lee, letting us choose for him makes that much needed impact. This aint new in gaming but the scenario and drama that’s surrounding us makes us a part of these choices. I have only played the game once but I heard the game changes scenarios according to your choices.
The gameplay is usual PnC fare but the tense world and ambiance of a zombie ridden world makes it that much more intense. You never feel like you are playing; Its more like you are living a movie. There is a fair amount of searching and wee bit puzzle solving but nothing that’s too tedious. And Oh yes you do get to squash some zombie skulls indeed and these sequences are for pure gore lovers. Telltale never restricts the player to overcome the joyous violence of mashing a zombie brain to pulp. Though these kills occur just like quicktime events and you gotta be quick on your reflexes. Initially the controls felt a bit stiff though its all a matter of getting used to it.
The graphics is definitely not next-gen but much better than that of Telltales previous titles. The Walking Dead is not cel-shaded but the thick outlines on the characters makes it look like its straight outta the graphic novels. Subtle colors and backgrounds makes for a game that has a good art direction. Add to that, the exemplary facial animations of the characters makes it all worth the moolah you spend on an episodic title. The same cant be said about the textures though…it stretches and sometimes comes off as very low res. Another minor let down is the occasional stiff animation.
‘The Walking Dead A New Day’ is off to a good start for the series. It remains to see how the developer takes forward the same narrative style balanced with action in the upcoming episodes. If its gonna be anything like ‘A New Day’ we have nothing to worry. Afterall I was never a fan of the Point n Click Adventure games but ‘The Walking Dead’ made one outta me.