The Walking Dead by Telltale GamesTHE COMPANY LINE:
“The Walking Dead is an award-winning vision of Robert Kirkman’s global hit comic book series. Experience the true horror and emotional impact of being a survivor of the undead apocalypse in a zombie game unlike any other. You will meet people and experience events that will impact the story of Deputy Sheriff Rick Grimes, and you will be forced to make decisions that are not only tough, but that will have a direct effect on the story that you experience. The undead are everywhere, but they’re not your only problem. Starvation, betrayal, heartbreak and more will challenge you as you attempt to survive in the world of The Walking Dead.”

THE SKINNY:
I held off on picking up Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead (PC) until all five episodes had been released, and I’m glad I did.  With the Walking Dead television series currently in its mid-season hiatus, the game proved itself to be a very solid Walking Dead fix for me…a fix that lasted 12 hours, and was every bit as good (if not better) than the television show itself.

Take the point-and-click adventure type of game design, add in a Choose Your Own Adventure element, and then mix in a little Dragon’s Lair for good measure, and you pretty much have The Walking Dead‘s gameplay in a nutshell.  It’s a game you watch more than you play, and if you’re looking for balls-to-the-wall shoot-em-up action you’re gonna be disappointed.  But if you want a game that’s incredibly well-written (if even at times predictable) and plays out like an interactive spinoff of the television series, then you’ll be quite pleased with this effort.

In my old age, I find myself often becoming bored with game storylines, and had come to the conclusion that it was just me having acquired ADHD in the post-Internet, Mtv-edited world.  However, now I’m thinking that it may be a case of the storylines and writing in most games being uninspired and derivative shite.  There is some talent at work in this title, and the writing is some of the best that I’ve ever come across in a video game.  So much so, that I was completely invested in the game’s interesting characters and intense situations from beginning to end, and the fact that certain scenes in the game hit me on an emotional level, only prove the point further.

The Walking Dead -- Lee and Clementine on the train

As the game’s protagonist, Lee, it’s surprising how much I found myself caring about the orphaned Clementine — the young girl you’re charged with taking care of throughout the course of the game.

Technically, the voice-acting and direction are also incredibly well-done, which is typically an area in gaming that’s prone to weakness — especially with the former.  (There’s certainly no Resident Evil inspired “master of unlocking” moments to be found here.)  And as for the game’s cel-shaded visuals, you either like that look or not, and I’m a big fan.

THE BOTTOM LINE:
The Walking Dead is more interactive TV show than game, but it’s so well done, that any gamer who can appreciate a great story and richly developed characters will certainly appreciate what Telltale Games has accomplished.  I honestly loved every minute of it, and recommend it quite highly.