Monday, June 4, 2012

The Walking Dead: A New Day

If there is anything people should know about me, it's that I am 100% over the zombie fad.  I don't like scary things in general and the genre is super bloated.  The only area where I have made exception is with The Walking Dead.  In the same way that a good sports movie has little to do with sports, The Walking Dead has little to do with zombies; it's all about the characters and relationships.  The game based on the popular graphic novel follows suit.

When people think of a zombie video game, the images that come to mind are horde shooters from Call of Duty, super gory deaths in Resident Evil, and free-roaming with a machete in Dead Rising.  The Walking Dead is a point and click adventure that puts the player in control of the character Lee Everett as he meets people along his journey to find refuge from the zombie apocalypse.  Lee must make important choices about who to save and which people to side with during arguments and conversations.  Every choice has an impact on the games outcome and how the other characters treat the player.

I haven't played too many games like this, but I am told that it is similar to the Back to the Future PC game.  It is a point and click game, so the suspense expected from a zombie game is definitely lacking.  I don't mind the more calm feeling, but for some it's a real let down.  For the most part, the controls and game play are pretty self-explanatory and intuitive.  

I had two major gripes about the game.  The first being that the Y-axis does not invert.  The episodes of the game are short, I finished in around two hours, so it's hard to adjust so quickly to the not-inverted controls and then immediately go back to another game two hours later.  It seems obvious that there should be an option in the menus to change it, but there isn't.  I have my fingers crossed that they will include it in future episodes.  Also, there is a timer when it comes to making decisions and sometimes that timer is damn fast.  I understand that the mechanic behind it is to force me to make a quick, impulse decision as I would in real life, but it goes so fast that I can't read all the options before time runs out and a decision is made for me.

Other than those two negatives, this game is full of a whole lot of positive.  The scare factor doesn't make it unplayable, the characters and relationships are compelling, and it's a refreshing choice in game style for an over-saturated genre.  For a measly 400 MS points on Xbox or $5 on PSN or PC, I highly recommend picking up this title.

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