Many gamers rejoiced when Telltale Games arrived on the scene, and rightly so â€“ their aim was to rejuvenate the then-dead point and click adventure genre. Their licensed games have received mixed reviews in the past, with their last game – Jurassic Park – critically mauled. There’s no need to worry though. This is Telltale back on top form.
Episode one of this five part series engages instantly. Without spoiling the plot too much, things kick off with the protagonist in the back of a police car, en route to prison, and so within minutes it quickly becomes apparent that the main character has a dubious past. It’s because of this that those who you meet while fleeing a zombie apocalypse are always slightly wary. It doesn’t help that you pick up some extra baggage early on either â€“ a young girl left to defend herself. Would you trust a stranger who is accompanied by a child who isn’t their own? Exactly.
It’s not just the story that manages to draw you in. The control system is intuitive â€“ the left stick moves the main character, while the right stick acts as a cursor and is used to select objects. Anything that can be interacted with has an icon above it, although you can turn the HUD off completely if you fancy a screen free from clutter for that cinematic experience. Visually it goes back to the series’ comic book roots with a hand drawn look, not completely unlike Take-Two’s Borderlands.
The highlight of episode one involves a rescue mission at a motel. The area is surrounded by the undead so you have to scour the environment for ways to kill (re-kill?) the zombies one at a time without making too much noise. Puzzles are coherent and logical throughout â€“ finding batteries for a radio and then making sure that they’re in the right way around, for example.
There’s a trust and loyalty system in place too. If you tell another character a lie about your past and fail to stick to it later on, then you’ll quickly find yourself confronted. Some tricky decisions have to be made as well, and in a very short space of time, which certainly induces the sensation of panic. The outcome of these decisions will affect how things pan out later, which also helps to add some much-needed replay value.
A long game this isn’t â€“ it can be beaten in around two or three hours. Bear in mind though that Telltale are only charging 400 MSP (around Â£3.50). It’s perfectly priced, in other words.
If you have been thinking that zombie games have been overdone lately then The Walking Dead: Episode One may very well prove you wrong.