Well, the first episode of The Walking Dead video game (officially called, pretty uncreatively, The Walking Dead: The Game) is great fun. It’s out for PC, PS3, and XBox 360, as of April 24th, 2012. There will be five episodes total, for a cost of $4.99 per episode. The episodes come out monthly.

All right, we got the needed information out of the way. Before I get into gushing all over this game, a caveat: I am a pretty casual gamer. I play video games maybe once a week, if that. I love Guitar Hero and games you can sit down and play in an hour, save, and come back to a week later and not forget what you were doing. So just know that that’s where my opinion of this game is coming from.

The story takes place within The Walking Dead (comic) universe. It starts right at the very beginning of the outbreak and goes from there. Your character — Lee Everett — is being transported to prison in the back of a police cruiser, when the driver runs into a zombie and crashes off the road, down a hill. You then control Lee and both of you are introduced to a horrific new world where the dead walk and just staying alive takes strategy.

So, yes, the game is awesome. It really feels like you’re playing a motion comic (and I love motion comics). Very much comic book graphics. Just like the rest of the franchise, the game isn’t so much about massacring zombies (although that is inthere), but focuses mainly on decisions your main character must make — sometimes very, very quickly, and in an unsuspecting moment of intensity. A couple times I had to choose which character got saved, and which character got eaten alive by zombies. And I had about five seconds to make the decision. There’s a timer bar that lets you know how long you have to choose; sometimes it runs slow, sometimes it runs fast. Sometimes there’s two options, sometimes there’s four.

Not all decisions are life-and-death though. As you encounter new characters, you’re presented with different options of response, and the characters often remember (the game lets you know) what that response was, and how it affects them and your relationship to them. And they remember all of this from episode to episode. Because of all of these choices, I don’t see how it cannot make the replayability high. I mean I already want to replay the first episode, and it’s only been a week.

The gameplay itself is pretty basic. You have a cursor on the screen and you move it around to look, take, and talk with people, things, or enemies. You don’t even really maneuver Lee around the environment that much (not compared to usual games), so there’s no straight-up shooting a horde onslaught or anything. If you prefer that, well, there’s plenty of other games out there that provide it. The episode took me about two hours to finish, and from what I understand, each subsequent episode will take about as long. Economically, $5 for two hours of this game play is worth it.

Now like I said, this is coming from a casual gaming perspective, and I don’t know if hardcore gamers think differently or dislike the style of gameplay or.. what. But personally, I loved it, and if I had to give it a rating I would probably rate it 8/10 walkers. I can’t fucking wait for the next episode.

About Paul Skow

Paul Skow lives in the Kansas City, Missouri area and has an unhealthy obsession with zombie movies. If the zompocalypse does ever occur, he'll be one of the first to take it as a very good reason to loot liquor stores and pharmacies.