The Walking Dead
As we reported yesterday, the unfortunate news is that this much-anticipated game has been delayed for iOS platforms until summer this year, and so while PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 can get their teeth stuck into the title right now, us mobile gamers have a little longer to wait. That hasn't dented our enthusiasm for the game one jot, and so we've rounded up some information gathered from the recent release to whet your appetite with.
So what is The Walking Dead and why are we excited about it? Well, in this particular incarnation, it's a zombie game: a genre you'll be forgiven for feeling has become somewhere over-saturated in recent years. But what marks it out from the pack is that not only does this game have the heritage of a much-loved comic book and television series, but the devilishly talented developers at Telltale Games are responsible for delivering their nightmare version of the franchise. Now we're listening.
Lee Everett is the bad-boy of this adventure game, a convicted criminal packed off to a high-security prison in order to serve out his time. It all goes along rather well (or as well as can be expected when facing a lifetime of incarceration) until a zombie lurches onto the screen, causing the car to crash and hurling the sheriff chaperone from the car.
Here the game opens up both of its key mechanics: the interactive storytelling and the action sequences that task you with using a cursor to dispatch the fearsomely undead, rather than partake in the repetitive QTE events of the developer's Jurassic Park game. Recovering from the crash, your first task is to take out the newly-zombified sheriff with a well-aimed headshot before heading off on the story proper.
In the storytelling, The Walking Dead is a game that offers up complex relationships, and a story that will weave around itself based on every choice you take on Lee's journey. In life-or-death moments, you may need to choose which character to save at the expense of another. In turn, this will affect how other characters respond to you, so you'll need to balance out relationships carefully.
From the smallest to the most transparently momentous of decisions, The Walking Dead promises to be a truly personal story, and one where you break the bonds of trust you've gained with the few survivors at your peril (if you're to survive the ordeal that is). Weaving deceit with cooperation, along with the mutual drive for survival, sounds like a winning take on a tired genre to us.
All in all, the first episode released for Steam, PSN and Xbox Live Arcade is looking good, and the game has been well-received so far. The great news though is that this first installment is to be followed up with four more episodes, and while we'll have to wait a little longer for the first of these to hit iOS devices, we'll just have to hope that the extra development time is being used to polish this potential gem to perfection.