Some games benefit from having a close association with more visible entertainment franchises. In the case of the Walking Dead video game series though, there is definitely a special connection, partly because of the way it formulizes a connection with various characters, carrying them over a series of terrains and situations. However, perhaps the most striking thing about this seasonal, installment-based video game cycle is that it simultaneously introduces a very slick type of gameplay in the midst of a horror premise that feel extremely visceral. The way the action is delivered is part graphic novel, part quicktime event sequence while blending in traditional character control via fixed angles. Technical details aside, it’s also a tone of fun to play too.
“The Walking Dead” sees you handling various characters, each with their own stories to tell as they try to survive the zombie apocalypse. Some might feel as though this genre is too “played out” and that nothing particularly fresh could come of it, but they’d be wrong of course and this “complete first season title” is evidence of that. More historically informed gamers will immediately note that it seems as if the developer brought back as sort of directing style reminiscent of earlier games such as “Resident Evil 1, 2 and 3”. In other words, there are lots of scenes where you have complete control over how the character moves but instead of freely moving the camera angle around as you would with a traditional first or third-person game, you have fixed “sets” which act as built-in cinematography. What we’re left with is a thrilling experience that is able to achieve much within its seemingly limited mechanical framework.
For most of the game you’ll be searching for clues or reacting to sudden events, scrambling to make those sorts of life and death split-second decisions. Even better of course is the way the game actually makes your choices matter, which is arguably the reason people love this emergent series so much. Whereas a lot of other games which rely on lots of dialogue to move the story forward tend to split up sections, clearly separating the action from the tamer moments, The Walking Dead is quite spontaneous. Naturally, this is what makes everything feel that much more “alive” in the end, even if you’re mostly dealing with the undead.
Likewise, the way each episode is structured is almost identical to that of a tv show, meaning that you can sit down and digest one entire segment, leave it alone and jump right back in later. Needless to say, when you pair this paced, segmented concept with the overall art direction and style possessed by the game as well as the way it makes the pathways you take come alive, you have something truly special.
If you’ve never played a game that almost focuses entirely on the story and dramatic prose before, this is a great place to start (perfect for all types of gamers too, from casual players to hardcore pros). There’s a very nice blend between action and downtime as well, meaning it ends up being a very dynamic experience, to say the least. You should also check out The Walking Dead: Season 2 as well, which follows on from season one.