Review: The Walking Dead: Episode One – A New Day
Coming off the technical disaster that was Jurassic Park, I really didn’t know what to expect with The Walking Dead. Would it be another “Heavy Rain” inspired action-adventure title, or would Telltale go back to their roots with a pure point and click adventure. While A New Day isn’t exactly either of those, it does seem that this series could possibly be the best set of games that Telltale have released.
First of all, anyone that watches only the Walking Dead television show a heads up, this game is set firmly in the comic book world. If you haven’t read the comics, you won’t be lost or anything but some locations might look a little different than you are used to. A New Day takes place during the onset of the zombie apocalypse. You take control of Lee Everett, a man who was being escorted to prison, when the cop car he is riding in crashes into a walker and you wake up to a world where the dead are roaming free. Lee takes refuge in the home of Clementine, a young girl who has been hiding out waiting for her parents to return home from a trip. You decide that it is now your responsibility to protect this little girl.
This is game is not the action heavy QTE-fest that was Jurassic Park. Most of the time you will be talking to other survivors trying to solve a puzzle here or there. That isn’t to say that there is no action at all. The game splits controls across both analog sticks. You will use the Left Stick to move around in the world, while the Right Stick is more like a mouse cursor. You move it around the level looking for objects to interact with, or in moments of desperation fend off a zombie or two. But the game is really all about the dialogue and choices that you make with characters.
Because of Lee’s sort of shady past, it is up to you to determine how much you let others know. Most reactions are saved and characters will remember what you tell them. This means that play-throughs can be totally different based on the responses you give. When playing my first time, I was treating Lee like he was wrongly convicted, something that really isn’t known at this point. Telling small lies here or there to make others around me feel safe. However this was the complete opposite on my second save file. I was a hardened asshole who was a dick to almost everyone but Clementine. It was really interesting seeing the different reactions characters had to my two different play styles.
There are also some movements what will bring big changes to your game. A few life or death moments where you are forced to choose between different survivors. There is no middle ground, it is one or the other. This is where that option of multiple save files comes in huge. I used each file to make sure I would see all of the game’s different branching paths.
There were a few instances where I was baffled by how this person is still alive. The one that stood out the most to me was this reporter girl that apparently is from the 1700s and has never seen or used batteries before. There is a section where you are shacked up in a general store and she is trying to get the radio to work. You inspect it to see that there are no batteries. After finding the batteries that are scattered around the store, you hand them over to her. She them manages to put them in backwards, this pretty much sealed her fate for me.
A New Day really has me excited for what is to come this season. And if the “Next Time On” preview is anything to go by, it is going to be one hell of a ride. Much like the show and comic, Telltale’s Walking Dead effort brings a sense of humanity to the zombie apocalypse. It isn’t a story where you go out guns blazing. It is one about the connections you form with other survivors.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation 3 version of the game.
What I Like:
- Branching narrative where choices matter
- Not a technical mess like Jurassic Park
- Great setting and characters
What I Dislike:
- Some voice recordings sounded low quality
- No way to invert the right stick
- Grown woman doesn't know what batteries are...