Lee and Glenn vs zombies. Where are the plants when you need 'em?
Release Date: OUT NOW! RRP: £3.99 on PS3/400 MSP on Xbox per episode (£15.99 for a five-episode season pass on PS3) Format reviewed: PS3 Also available on: Xbox 360 and PC Publisher: Telltale Games
DevelopersTelltale have carveda lucrative niche,creating episodicadventure gamesbased on beloved SFproperties like Back To The Future and Jurassic Park. Pastefforts have ranged from “perfectlyenjoyable” to “triceratops poo”,but this is their most successfulundertaking to date.
Set to be released in five chunks of two to three hours each, it’s a zombie game that abandons the usual reliance on braining deadheads, in favour of human drama and tense, gut-wrenching decisions. You are Lee Everett, a man with a shady past, whose story takes place immediately after the outbreak. The (mostly) new cast are incredibly well written and performed – particularly Lee, who you shape to your liking. Lee’s relationship with Clementine, a young girl he rescues on the road, is the heart of the game and genuinely emotive.
It looks painterly and beautiful, cleaner than the comics, but it also captures the feel flawlessly. Best of all, the life and death decisions throughout must be made under strict time conditions, frequently forcing you into panic-induced mistakes. This is important, because you can’t boot up old saves: choices are permanent, lending every one meaning, and characters remember how you treat them, giving the player huge scope to shape the story.
Judging by this first episode, this could end up as the best take on The Walking Dead in any medium, and a very special slice of narrative gaming indeed.