Who want’s to play with The Walking Dead?April 20th, 2012 |
There are dozens of video games out there either based on zombies, or with zombie elements. It seems with the start of the Call of Duty zombie campaigns and games like Left 4 Dead, the zombie craze was able to reach out to people who didn’t watch zombie movies, or read zombie books. It took a media many people were familiar and comfortable with and attempted to immerse it and the people who played video games in a world that is dark, gritty, sad, and somehow among all that awesome and fantastic all at the same time.
Now not only do we have the games that started the zombie game craze, but we also have other classics such as Plants vs. Zombies, and Dead Island. We have an entire website devoted to zombie based flash games for your computer. And all you need to do is type the word zombie into your app store on your phone to be flooded with an ever growing list of zombie games for your Android or iPhone. And among all of these games one game will stand out among the list, just as it has done with comic books and a madly popular TV series, The Walking Dead.
I tried to ignore this game. Trailers have been circulating for weeks and I have resisted on clicking on every one of them. Why might you ask? Because I’m broke and didn’t want to buy another zombie shooter I wasn’t going to get to play that often. Man am I glad I finally looked into this game.
Just like the Walking Dead series for both comics and TV, this game promises to be unlike any other zombie game you have ever played. Although there may be some shooting involved, this game play is more of a decision based, making the things that happen in the game change depending on what decisions you make. And we are not just talking about the A,B,C choice answers to questions. From what I’ve seen it can also have to do with what you decide to pick up, what order you decide to do things in, and how quick your response is.
Even combat with the undead seems to have this choice mechanic built in. You could see how this could make battle frightening in a zombie game. Instead of point and shoot, you may have to aim the cursor toward your leg, and then press the corresponding button at the proper moment to kick the zed in the head. Or you may reach for a weapon with the cursor then swing your POV around to focus again at the zombie before being prompted to swing at it. Because everything is decided by your choices, this could lead to making your fights different every time based on earlier decisions as well. Things that might seem unnecessary, like picking up the ax at the end of the hallway, may make your combat choices change. Even where you end up engaging in an enemy could mean the difference between life and death.
Let’s also talk about the graphics of the game. Telltale Games wanted it to be very clear that the storyline is based on the comic book, not the TV series. Therefore they decided to use comic book style of graphics in the game. This could have really gone either way for the game, either making this a novel game enriching us with the comic book essence, or make the game look really hokey. In my personal opinion, it did a little bit of both. I’m not saying the graphics look bad by any stretch, but I’m talking about how the graphics make you feel instead. On one hand Telltale was able to capture the Walking Dead universe exactly how it is viewed in the comics. Details like the layout of the farm or the one confirmed cross character, Glenn, transcribed beautifully. This made recognition easy and gives you the feeling like you’re really playing in Kirkman’s universe.
On the other hand you can see where the game lost a level of reality by deciding to go with this format. That doesn’t make the game less scary, and it’s not really a bad thing. But when people are used to games like Call of Duty, or even Mass Effect 3 where things look real polished and more lifelike, you have to wonder how well this look will be accepted by players. There are other games out there with this graphic style, but none of them have reached the popularity of these other “visually stunning” games. Let’s just hope that the name of the game will prompt people to try it out, then get sucked in by the high quality storytelling and unique game play, rather than judging it’s quality based on if it looks like Left 4 Dead or not.
If you want to find out more about Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead, and see more behind the scenes footage including sneak peeks at game play, visit their website at www.telltalegames.com/walkingdead.
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