|System: PC*, PS3, Xbox 360|
|Release: April 24, 2012|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language|
As gripping as the story is, there are some major flaws in the gameplay that mostly stem from its adventure game formula. This mostly has to do with finding item A to give to person B to progress the game. At one point you have to find a picture of a zombie in order to convince your friend that he once worked at a pharmacy and may have the pharmacy keys. However, the zombie is the only one in the area wearing a pharmacist's uniform, and this is very easy to see even from far away. Similarly, the picture doesn't even look at the zombie, which at this point is rotted beyond recognition. It felt like I should have just been able to say "Dude, look at what he's wearing." But I couldn't.
Points like these pop up all throughout the game. At one point you can't reach a brick that is a few inches in front of you, even though there are tons of long objects that would allow you to knock it your way. To reach it, you have to get outside, but to do that you have to axe off the lock on the gate. This would be a fine puzzle, except you find the axe at a motel—which you get to by leaving the place you were via the back entrance. If leaving via the back were so easy, you literally could have just gone around front and picked up that damn brick. There's also a whole puzzle about finding a weapon to kill zombies with, but at this point you had already passed several knives, canes, and even a shotgun that the game didn't allow you to pick up. It just breaks your sense of immersion at points. It strikes me that these puzzles could have easily been reworked to be more plausible.
As much as I nitpick, I still enjoyed The Walking Dead: Episode 1 - A New Day. As a fan of the comics, the game absolutely nails the tone and setting. Important characters like Hershel and Glen make an appearance, and they act just as you would expect them to. The voice acting is great, and the models are very expressive. You can tell exactly when someone is pissed off at you, or terrified at the zombies that are chasing you.
The first episode is five dollars and lasts about three hours. The game will come in five episodes, all of which are available in a $20 pre-purchase pack. If this guarantees me fifteen or so hours of terrifying social gameplay in the zombie apocalypse, then I'd say The Walking Dead: Episode 1 - A New Day is a great buy.
Angelo M. D'Argenio
Date: April 24, 2012