Maverick Reviews- The Walking Dead Chapter One: A New Day

*This is a little different from my normal reviews because I usually save a section in the end for bonus points and deductions. These are more for certain aspects that I think deserve praise or criticism that don't fall into any of the above categories (usually graphics and sound is worth ten points because they aren't as important as the elements of the game, which leaves twenty points to fiddle with as wished). However, I'm trying something a little more classic. Hope it works :)*

It's no real surprise that The Walking Dead has finally limped its way into the video game world. Zombies are an always increasing fad and after a best-selling graphic novel series and an award-winning TV show, it was inevitable.

This is going to be a short review because it is the first of five chapters. However, unless TellTale decides to change a lot over the course of its run, then this review should signify how the remainder of the series will play out (unless they drastically change something, but I don't see that happening).

So, come! Let's traverse the zombie apocalypse, Reader.

Graphics: -2 (18/20)

I have to give the developers credit. The comic book art style fits perfectly for this game. Everything from character models, environments and gore are presented in a very understated yet artistic way. The only gripe is that some animations are a bit choppy, but it doesn't break the illusion.

Sound: -1 (19/20)

Apart from some hiccups in terms of voice acting, it's more than solid all across the soundboard (zing!).

Controls: -2 (18/20)

Definitely a huge difference from the BttF series. It's more streamlined. Controls are simple. Walk, click on an object of importance (character, item, obstacle, etc) and repeat. The only deduction comes from a sometimes-finicky camera.

Style: -5 (15/20)

Alright, onto the juicy stuff.

Something that many true horror-based games have lacked in the past few years (with a couple exceptions) is lack of a good atmosphere (I'm looking at you RE5 and Raccoon City). Apart from the opening scene, the remainder of the game always holds the ever-present depressing gray-shade of gloom. While anyone smart enough can know at what moment something bad is going to happen, eliminating the element of surprise, they throw a curve-ball that will catch you off guard.

The game (much like the material is based off of) is a drama with many characters you absolutely love or absolutely wish would get the chomp.

As new character, Lee Everett, you are on your way to what is presumably a death sentence, when you are set free...into the zombie apocalypse.

The best way I can use to describe this game is Heavy Rain-ultra lite (which is in no way a bad thing for me, I absolutely loved Heavy Rain). As you play through the game, Lee is put into many situations to where your choices dictate how the remainder of the story plays out. Do I lie to someone and lose their trust? Or do I respond honestly and ensure that they'll have your back when the time comes? Do I save this person or that person, and if I do, how will this effect me later on? There are only a few of these choices in the game, some holding more weight than others, but it's all up to you and how YOU feel the situation should be handled. There are no wrong moves.

The one huge beef I have the game is the unevenness of the game-play. The story stays consistent throughout but certain things like balancing puzzles, combat and other elements is very hit or miss. I personally think there wasn't enough interaction with the environment or enough puzzles (except for a brilliant one involving a pillow and a spark plug).

Combat is a little on the simplistic side, as well. It's just aim and hit a button. Whether or not this is an ode to how it will be in the future zombie outbreak (point and shoot, swing at its head) remains to be seen. It doesn't detract from the experience though, considering it's not an action based game.

Fun: -5 (15/20)

Much like other games of this type, I don't really think it's about “having fun” in the traditional sense. I tend to think of it as a “you find the enjoyment in it” sort of deal. If you are interested in story, the relationships you form with characters and how you will deal with the consequences that follow your actions, than this is will be right for you.

Final Score: 82/100 B-

Is it worth the $5 price tag? Only if you are going to play through the entire series and put the time into it. As for me? I can't wait to see what happens “Next week on: The Walking Dead.”