Given the success of The Walking Dead TV series — which is itself an adaptation of the comic series of same name — it shouldn’t be too surprising that the franchise made its way to another medium, and the project couldn’t be in better hands. Developer Telltale Games, known for their solid stable of adventure games (and their knack for weaving a good story), has taken it upon themselves to create an episodic series of games based on The Walking Dead for PC/Mac, Xbox, and PS3. And while the result is a bit unusual, it’s still an undeniable success.
The Walking Dead game features an original story that runs parallel to the events of the comics/TV show and is broken up into five episodes, which Telltale intends to release on a semi-monthly basis (episodes will run you $5 apiece, or $25 for a full season pass on PC/Mac). The series revolves around an all-new character named Lee Everett, who may or may not be guilty of murder, and a young girl he meets named Clementine.
Episode One, titled “A New Day,” begins with Lee being taken to a penitentiary in Georgia, when the zombie outbreak begins and all hell breaks loose. The car he’s being transported in crashes, he’s sprung free, and he sets out to find out just what is going on. Early on in his travels, however, he stumbles across Clementine, a first-grader who’s holed up in her treehouse and hiding from zombies. Eventually, the two team up and set out to find a safe haven, with Lee acting as Clementine’s guardian and protector.
During your travels as Lee, you’ll encounter some familiar faces and locations from the original story, including Hershel’s Farm. But while Telltale does an excellent job of staying faithful to the source material and the universe that it created, it also introduces an intriguing new story that stands quite well on its own.
It is worth noting, however, that despite Telltale’s track record of creating generally kid-friendly, light-hearted games, The Walking Dead is serious business; it’s very much a mature title, both in terms of its content and its themes. It has its fair share of strong language, blood, and gore — as well as a decent body count by the end of the first episode alone — but players will also encounter some pretty dark moments when they see how the zombie apocalypse starts to affect peoples’ minds, their relationships, and their families. Nobody is safe.
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