Review: The Walking Dead – Episode One: A New Day

Episode One: A New Day definitely has places to be and paths to take you there but to say it’s on rails would be doing it a huge disservice. Maybe a choose your own action adventure on rails would be most accurate as it is most accurately not of any specific genre.

Episode One: A New Day of The Walking Dead[1. A copy of this game was provided for review by Telltale games.] is finally out and it has all kind of expectations to live up to. The comics, the show, and what’s current in action adventure gaming today. Telltale Games set out to please everyone and no one. For the game to be successful it must stand on its own but still make sense within the The Walking Dead universe.
We’re introduced to The Walking Dead universe in Episode One: A New Day at the kickoff of the zombie apocalypse rather than weeks in as we are at the start of the TV series.
Immediately, we’re introduced to our main character, Lee Everett[2. A black man in the back of a police cruiser. Le Sigh.] and we get to decide what kind of person he’s going to be based on how he completes conversations–or doesn’t.  Not saying anything is an option, it’s also the default when you time out.
See, in the story summary video below there are choices being made that bring to along to those places and those conversations–those outbursts aren’t standard. Lee rarely says anything without your consent.

The game definitely has places to be and paths to take you there but to say it’s on rails would be doing it a huge disservice. Maybe a choose your own action adventure on rails would be most accurate as it is most accurately not of any specific genre.
However, to get a bit more specific, Episode One: A New Day offers some first level game things that should be noted.

The gameplay mechanics of Episode One: A New Day:


As is to be expected from a choose your own action adventure on rails, the game quickly introduces the method for choosing. The method is pushing the button that corresponds with your choice.
If you have the hints on, you might be notified after making a choice that you’re now seen as a nice guy, or an asshole, or a sketchball. It depends on what you decide to say.
Conversation choices need to be made quickly (sort of) or you’ll be stuck with the default or your choice will be “silence.” Saying nothing can sometimes say a lot about you.
Action choices, while they need to be made quickly can also be left to inaction like saving This Guy, That Guy, or neither. Though often in action choices you must choose.
Objects also must be found to complete a number or scenarios… So maybe this is a choose your own action adventure puzzler on rails. Anyway, a small number or items are kept in your inventory to be used either on people or thing to either solve them or win them over.

The story of Episode One: A New Day:[3. Of course, I get a little butthurt about the black man being carted off to jail for murder as an introduction, though it’s heavily tempered by my happiness that a mainstream game is actually staring a person of color as a regular person rather than a shaman or witch doctor or gang member or rapper.]

I was immediately engaged in the story presented in Episode One. The officer in the car is transporting Lee to jail but doesn’t believe he’s truly guilty. Out the window you–you’re allowed to look around as much as a real neck would allow– might see shambling people, and car accidents.
Eventually, you hit a person (zombie) and it knocks the police car into a ditch. Sorting yourself out at the bottom of this ditch is where you sort out how to control the character, interact with your environment, kill stuff and really do all the basic tutorial stuff. Lee comes to grips with the fact that something terrible happened and people are all fucked up.
Making your way through a neighborhood, Lee finds a house and is charged with making a friend or three to eventually get himself out of the suburbs.
Lee’s murdering past comes up often as a kind of haunting character motivation piece. Thankfully there aren’t any flashbacks.

Overall Episode One: A New Day:


1. The art style is great. It’s not intended to be Mass Effect-real or straight up cartooney. There’s a great mix of comic art and animated effects. To me, it felt new and worked well with the game.
2. Nobody is perfect. I hated something about every character, which to me is good because it means they’re not trying to make super familiar likable characters. Everyone, felt really regular and realistic. I think they did a better job of humanizing characters than the TV show did[4. Sorry, can’t help but compare.]
3. Maybe because I’m a nerd and I love graphs and stats, but I was geeked to see the comparison at the end of the level about who made the same choices you did. Were you among the majority? Did other people stay silent when they could have spoke up?
It’s a great feature that ads a bit of perspective and community to an otherwise solitary experience.
4. It’s not as heavy as the chow or the comics. People die and impactful decisions need to be made but they don’t unsettle me. I feel like playing through some of the decisions  in the show and the comics would have been really difficult.
5. There can be a lot of hurry up and wait. It’s urgent to get to X or to do Y but you can spend eight years searching a room for the A or you have to talk to every singly person before you can progress. I don’t care about some people and their motives
6. In order button mashing is how you fight. So, a zombie attacks and the screen flashes “x” and you tap it and then it flashes “b” and you tap that and you can win, lose or not die but not really win. Personally, I like being in full control of a hit stuff button.
I’m having fun playing and so excited to find out what happens next in Episode Two.
[Rating:4.5]

Remember, the full five episode season of The Walking Dead for PC and Mac is available for purchase via the Telltale Games Store (http://www.telltalegames.com/store/) and other digital distribution outlets as a season pass for $24.99.  Once launched on Xbox 360, each episode will cost just 400 MS Points, and on PlayStation 3, each episode will cost just $4.99, or $19.99 as a season pass.

Telltale Games' The Walking Dead Video Game!

Ohmigawd, Ohmigawd, Ohmigawd! I’ll try to breath, but, it’s finally happening. No, not the apocalypse. The Walking Dead video game. They said it would but after waiting so long (at least it felt like so long) I thought, maybe it was just an idea that wouldn’t really come to full fruition.
Then, one day, I saw the AMC choose your own adventure motion comic game thing, Dead Reckoning, and thought that was the game. I mean, it was awesome but not what I expected from Telltale Games. They make games not promotional content. (By the way, check out the AMC promotional games for The Walking Dead, they’re generally awesome.)
Finally, today, I got the press release  along with the video for the “Choice Matters” trailer:

Tellale explains the details in today’s press release:

Telltale Games and Robert Kirkman, the Eisner Award-winning creator and writer of The Walking Dead for Skybound Entertainment and Image Comics, announced today that the first episode of the game series based on the critically acclaimed comic book series, The Walking Dead, is now available for download.  Players can purchase the PC and Mac versions from the Telltale Games Online Store, as well as Steam and other digital distribution services.  The first episode is also available for download now on PlayStation®Network for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, and will be available Friday, April 27th on Xbox LIVE® Arcade for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft.

Every system (except the Zelda/Mario/Exercise console)!
Continue reading “Telltale Games' The Walking Dead Video Game!”

Save the Universe You Love on Valentine's Day


This Valentine’s day Bioware will be releasing the demo for Mass Effect 3. Knowing how hot the gaming world is to finally know what happens between Shep and The Reapers once and for all, Bioware whets our appetites with just a taste of what’st to come in Mass Effect 3 when it launches on March 3rd.
The developed detailed the move in a press:

Award-winning developer BioWare, a label of Electronic Arts Inc., announced today that the demo for 2012’s first blockbuster game, Mass Effect™ 3 will be available beginning February 14, 2012. The extensive demo will allow players to experience the all-out galactic war against an ancient alien race known as the Reapers from multiple fronts, including the mind-blowing opening attack on Earth that kicks off the single-player campaign.  Players will go deeper into the campaign and also get a taste of the franchise’s new co-operative multiplayer mode as they preview the epic story, adrenaline-pumping action and deep customization options that lie ahead when Mass Effect 3 launches on March 6, 2012. The Mass Effect 3 demo will be available for the Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and PC. Mass Effect 3 will also be one of the first pre-launch demos to support full voice recognition functionality on Kinect™ for Xbox 360.

In Mass Effect 3, players will be thrust into an all-out galactic war to take Earth back and save the entire galaxy, assuming the role of Commander Shepard, a war-torn veteran who’s willing to do whatever it takes to eliminate this nearly unstoppable foe. With a team of elite, battle-hardened soldiers at your side, each player decides how they will take Earth back, from the weapons and abilities they utilize to the relationships they forge or break. Mass Effect 3 also features a new co-operative gameplay mode that allows fans to experience the war from a different perspective. Players who want to try this new mode will be able to do so on February 17, or by qualifying for early access to the co-op portion of the demo which begins February 14. Gamers qualify for early access if they have activated their Battlefield 3™ online pass* or though other opportunities that will be announced in the near future www.masseffect.com.
(source)

Get ready to blow off that someone special so you can spend time with Shep and some Brave and Beautiful aliens.

A New Character is Voted Onto Dead Island

Dead Island, the playable beachy horror story set on the fictional island of  of Banoi just  announced a new playable character. This new character will be available in addition to the original four characters (who each have different classes from ranged combat to fisty brute)[1. Check out the official site for the full character profiles.]:

The new character isn’t profiled on the site because then there would be spoilers. Yup, This is a person you’ve encountered in the game before and his storyline should add a new perspective to why and how things on Banoi unfolded the way they did.

[wpspoiler name=”Deep Silver announced the character in a press release: ” ]This DLC offers a unique new perspective into the incidents in the main story of Dead Island: This time the player will get the chance to play as Ryder White, the antagonist of the main game; learn more about his motivations and why, from his point of view, he did what he had to do. This fresh take on the Dead Island story shows Ryder White both as a military man and a loving husband. The DLC stars Ryder White as a newly playable character and offers a single player campaign with several hours of story content with twists and turns that will shed new light on the game’s happenings. Two blueprints and weapons will further expand the already impressive arsenal of Dead Island. The DLC will be available on February 01, 2012 for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and Windows PC. It will be available for 800 Microsoft points on Xbox LIVE Marketplace or for £7.99 on PSN and Steam. (source)[/wpspoiler]

Upcoming Post-Apocalyptic Game | The Last of Us

Naughty Dog announced, via a two and a half minute minute cinematic trailer, an upcoming post-apocalyptic video game: The Last of Us.

During the Spike TV’s annual Video Game Awards Naughty Dog announced a new, upcoming  post-apocalyptic video game via a two and a half minute minute cinematic trailer: The Last of Us.
Among the ruins and the wreckage, a man and an adolescent girl (his daughter?) make their way to safety. At first glance I thought they were doing something long the lines of Max Payne 3 for the Uncharted series because the man in the trailer, Joel, looked like an older Nathan Drake. Also, the young girl, Ellie, looked like Ellen Page.
Facing savage zombies (?) with well practiced skill, Joel and Ellie work together to save themselves and set up a pretty fantastic looking new game.
Not much has been announced aside from the video and the name of the game, The Last of Us, and the brief summary that goes with it:

Check out the announcement trailer for Sony Computer Entertainment and Naughty Dog’s new PlayStation 3 exclusive – The Last of Us!
The Last of Us is a genre-defining experience that blends survival and action elements to tell a character driven story about a population decimated by a modern plague. Abandoned cities are being reclaimed by nature and the remaining survivors are killing each other for food, weapons and whatever they can get their hands on. Joel, a ruthless survivor, and Ellie, a brave teenage girl who is wise beyond her years, must work together to survive their journey across what remains of the United States.
Visit the official The Last of Us website at: http://www.lastofus.com/
or visit Naughty Dog at: http://www.naughtydog.com/

Trailer:

[More about The Last of Us]