The Walking Dead Episode 1 is Telltale Games‘ attempt at telling a story in Robert Kirkman’s popular¬†apocalyptic zombified world, well the first part of a five part attempt anyway. Known mostly for their family friendly titles like Monkey Island, Sam and Max, and more recently Back to the Future Telltale’s episodic style fits with the nature of the graphic novel source material; but how does a company with this type of lineage fair in a world thick with death, despair, and putrid gore?

The story of The Walking Dead Episode 1 (and presumably all subsequent episodes) centers around you, playing the part of the main character Lee. Lee’s journey through this first episode begins in the back of a car and ends in the parking lot of a motor lodge. A violent car accident, several zombie kills, a couple life and death choices, a little puzzle solving, and most importantly a chance meeting with a little girl named¬†Clementine fill in those middle parts. To say that the story is conversation driven is a bit of an understatement. The story is conversation. Hell, the game is conversation. With persistent consequences based on these talking bits. Building relationships with your fellow survivors and dealing with the opinions they form of you is central to the experience. It isn’t just the things you say that have an impact on the story but the things you do as well. Life and death choices are yours to make; choosing one life over another with my heart instead of logic had me wondering what might have been, so when another opportunity came up I choose wisely… or at least I hope I did.

Walking Dead’s animation and art work together to present a unique visual style that really pops. Dropping the black and white of the graphic novel in favor of full color, the Charlie Adlard-esque art style pulls you into the game visually and the stellar writing stimulates the brain.

The overall slow pacing of The Walking Dead Episode 1 punctuated by moments of intense action is a nice parallel to being slowly stalked and suddenly attacked by the shambling horde. If you are a fan of rad stuff Telltale has a special little gift for you. If you need an arbitrary and meaningless numerical score this ones got to be at least a 37.

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