Unfortunately, I’ve never had an opportunity to watch The Walking Dead. I’ve been wanting to sit down and watch the series starting from the beginning for a while now and still plan on it as soon as I have an opportunity (which most likely won’t be until I have the financial means to purchase each season on DVD). So when I sat down and got into A New Day, it was my first experience with The Walking Dead on any medium.
A New Day opens by introducing you to the protagonist, Lee Everett in the back of a police car being transported after being convicted of a crime that you know nothing about at this point. The storytelling in A New Day is fantastic, this is shown immediately as the game begins as it pulls you in and not only raises your curiosity about unanswered questions about the characters but also allows you to build a connection with them. As you travel in the police car and chat with the officer in the front seat, it becomes apparent that something is afoot (i.e. shit is goin’ down) as police vehicles race in the opposite direction towards the city and the officers radio is going nuts. It isn’t long before a sudden turn of events throws you into survival mode.
Although it seems that zombies are poking their rotten ass noses into every other game released nowadays, The Walking Dead creates a unique experience with it’s adventurous episodic game. A point and click type gameplay system creates an experience reminiscent of adventure games of the past, but it’s the relationships you create with NPC’s and the intensity of the results of choices that you make that allow The Walking Dead: A New Day to really stand out as an excellent gameplay experience. The presentation nails the look of The Walking Dead comic, and just seems to work perfectly with the formula.
The voice acting is very believable and is a vital part of the gameplay given that these relationships and actions of every character are the real core of the game. Telltale has done a fantastic job of creating intense situations, with some decisions requiring the player to make them in a very short amount of time with serious consequences (like choosing which character to save in a deadly situation). It’s these types of situations and excellent storytelling that make this an experience that keeps you pulled in and won’t let go. This encourages you to form emotional connections with some of the characters in the game and actually begin to care about their well-being, especially Clementine, the young girl that ends up in your care throughout the game.
Some of the best experiences that I’ve had in recent years have been games that were exclusively downloadable. *Cough* Braid *Cough* With this being said, The Walking Dead: A New Day was a great experience and I can’t wait to continue playing through the episodic content. Plus, it’s free on Xbox Live right now so there’s no excuse not to dive in.