A Game Review on The Walking Dead Episodes 1 and 2 (PS3)
The Walking Dead has become something of a pop culture phenomenon. What started off as a best-selling graphic novel series has evolved into a hit television show, novels and video games. The hit television show, The Walking Dead, will be entering its third season on October 14th 2012. The season 2 finale set a basic cable record with 9 million viewers. The third season will most likely set its own basic cable record, shattering that of the season 2 finale. So far, there have been 96 issues in the graphic novel series and 2 novels based off of the series. The release of issues 97-102 will be on December 18th 2012.
When TellTale Games announced that they were developing a Role Playing Adventure game for The Walking Dead based off of Robert Kirkman's Walking Dead graphic novel series, fans were high with anticipation. Many hoped that it wouldn't turn out to be like many other games based off of television series, graphic novels or books, which most of the time disappoint it's fans. The first episode of the The Walking Dead game was released on April 27th 2012 to critical acclaim from both game critics and fans of the series.
The Walking Dead game is made up of 5 different episodes, with only the first two released as of this review. The game is set in the world of Robert Kirkman's Walking Dead series, but follows its own story line different from that of Rick's. Besides it being a Walking Dead game, one of the main draws is its gameplay. Throughout the game you will be forced to make difficult choices, whether its to save one person but not the other, or how you should divide up the last of the food, but there is a catch. You won't have much time to ponder the possibilities of each action since you are only given a few seconds to decide. Also throughout the game you will be given many, many dialogue choices, and while some do not affect the outcome of the game, there will be some choices that affect how other characters view and react to you, and will have a profound impact on the game. The game focuses less on action and killing and more on problem solving, characterization and the story.
Episode one was released on April 24th 2012 for the PC, Xbox 360 Arcade, and the PS3 store, as a downloadable game. Players could also purchase a season pass which will include all 5 episodes for a smaller per-episode price.
Episode 1 follows the character of Lee Everett, who has been arrested for the murder of a congressmen that was supposedly having an affair with his wife. While in the back seat of a police cruiser, the car hits someone and swerves off the road, crashing in the woods. You wake up to find out the world has been seemingly taken over by the walking dead. You make your way to a near by house, hoping to take shelter from these things. You meet up a little girl, Clementine, whose parents are away. You find that the babysitting has become a zombie, killing it and escaping out of the house in the process. You meet up with some kids who offer you a ride to their fathers farm, who is none other than Hershel Greene. This is before Rick and company arrive at the farm.
After an incident with the walking dead, you hitch a ride with a family that was also staying at the farm. Lee and Clementine, along with Kenny, Katjaa and their son Duck, head towards Macon, Georgia where they meet up with another group of survivors. This is where you meet with Glen, another character from the television show, who is part of the group of survivors. I enjoyed the fact that they included characters from the show, giving fans a glimpse at what these characters may have been doing prior to the events in the show. The whole of Episode 1 takes place before we are introduced to Rick in the show. The group eventually takes refuge at a motel. Glen decides to leave to head to Atlanta to hopefully help any of his friends that are left.
The characters of the game come across as real, as do the situations you are forced into. You are never asked to do something in the game that one would never do in real life. It gives the game a more realistic feel to it. Lee is a very likable character, and his relationship with Clementine is something you care quite a lot about. She looks up to him now, as almost a father-like figure. You form relationships with many of the other characters throughout the episode as well, such as your friendship with Kenny or the unfriendly tension between Lee and Larry.
The dialogue choices and actions you choose shape a lot of what occurs throughout the episode. Something as simple as lying or telling the truth to a character to something as difficult as choosing one of two characters to save. Things you say and do shape how Clementine and the others view you.
The Walking Dead Episode 2 was released on June 27th 2012 for the PC, Xbox 360 Arcade, and the PS3 store.
The Walking Dead Episode 2 takes place 3 months after the end of the first episode. Their food supply is running low, there are two new people among the group, and tension between Kenny and Lily are at an all time high. When two people appear outside of the perimeter looking for gas, the group decides that since they own a dairy farm maybe an exchange of gas for food would be beneficial. At the farm Lee helps out fixing a swing for the kids and helping to secure the electric fence surrounding the farm. Lee and newcomer Mark are attacked by Bandits while trying to fix the last part of the fence. Mark is hit with an arrow but they are both able to escape without getting killed. The rest of their group shows up at the farm and Mark is taken inside to get stitched up.
Brenda, the mother of the two men, says that she will whip up a dinner for everyone. The discovery of a slaughter room peaks Lee's interest in the people. When dinner is being serves, Lee excuses himself to the Bathroom but really goes upstairs to check up on Mark. He finds Mark in the bathroom, both of his legs missing, realizing that his legs are the meat served for dinner. Lee runs downstairs, stops clementine who almost eats some of the meat, and thrusts himself and the rest of the group in a struggle for survival against this crazed family.
This second episode tops the first one in terms of intensity and stakes. The group no longer has just walkers to worry about, but crazed humans and bandits as well. Lee must make some tough decisions in order to help the group survive, as well as protecting Clementine. The choices you must make are quite similar to the ones in the first episode, whether you are choosing how to react to a situation or whether you should kill or spare one of crazed dairy farmers. The graphics for both episodes are top notch, delivering immense amounts of detail and great looking animations.
I loved both The Walking Episode 1 and 2. The story of Lee and Clementines survival is great, and the gameplay is absolutely fantastic. Every choice you make effects the outcome of the game. It's not just a zombie action game where you run around killing zombies but a character driven game with zombies. You become invested in Lee and Clementine, as well as some of the other characters and its your choices that shape the game. I couldn't be anymore excited for the release of Episode 3.
Episode 1 - 10/10
Episode 2 - 10/10
The Walking Dead Episode 3 will be released sometime around the end of August/Beginning of September for the Xbox 360 Arcade, Playstation Store, and PC.