Comic Gaming: The Walking Dead

Posted: December 5, 2012 in Games
Tags: , ,

By Alex Headley
Robert Kirkman’s zombie epic, The Walking Dead may be the hottest comic property outside if Avengers at the moment. The comic has always been a critically acclaimed hit but AMC’s television drama has really put the series on the map. As a result, tie ins and cash grabs are coming fast. There are some duds to be sure but amidst it all are two excellent games worth your time. The first TellTale Games excellent adventure series bases in the Walking Dead universe. The 5 part episodic series is available to download on pretty much any platform imaginable. A retail version is coming soon for consoles. It puts you in the shoes of an original character making his way through the zombie wasteland. Lee can be roleplayed in several different ways depending on your personal preference, but ons thing is constant. You have to keep Clementine, a young girl you meet early on,safe. The games play like a classic adventure game with a heavy emphasis on exploration and Mass Effect style decision making and conversation. Your decisions have a huge impact in how the game plays out from episode to episode. You will decide who lives and dies on a regular basis. The story consists mostly of an original cast but there is some crossover with Kirkman’s cast like Herschel and Glenn. The storytelling on display here is second to none and does a fantastic job of translating the themes and ideas from the comic series. It really does feel like playing the comic and that probably makes it one of the best comic book games of all time. It just nails it.
Another game I’ve been enjoying is Walking Dead Assault. Its an IOS for $1.99 and is closely tied to the comic series. It’s an isometric view squad shooter in real time. You control up to four characters from the series and make your way through maps rescuing survivors, collecting supplies and killing lots and lots of Walkers. Each mission has a main objective and a bonus objective to complete so there is some definite replay value, a requirement in a iPhone game for me. Each character has their own stats, weapons, special abilities and passive abilities. For instance, Glenn can distract walkers to his position and let his squad flank them or you can use Andrea’s ability to sneak past a group. The game plays well, it’s fast paced and fun but like all touch screen games the controls can be a bit sluggish. It gets better as you play though. The best part for me though is that the entire game is rendered in the series class black and white look, and the menus borrow art from the comic meaning that the character portraits have a lot of personality.  It really helps drive home the atmosphere. My favorite bit is that a comic panel pops up briefly at key moments, like when a zombie herd approaches. In addition to earning stat points and skills for collecting supplies, you can also unlock bonus material. The trivia is the most interesting aspect of this but the concept art is cool too. The sound design is less impressive. It’s not bad really, I just don’t like the music and generic zombie moans don’t do much for me. The clicks and beeps in the menu are particularly annoying. I only call it out because the interface is just so well designed in every other aspect. If you’ve got a couple bucks lying around and are itching for some zombie action on the go, this game will definitely scratch that itch, treating you to some cool Walking Dead stuff along the way.

  1. raheadley says:

    It’s interesting how the show has gotten so many people to go and read the original series. AMC has done a great job with this series so far and I hope it continues. Finding a quality game based on a movie or TV series is rare. Glad to hear about these.

  2. Matt says:

    Activision has a console game coming out early next year. The Dixon brothers just confirmed they’re recording VO.

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