Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4
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So far, The Walking Dead: The Game is one of the finer examples of interactive fiction in recent years. Giving players some tough decisions that can have far reaching consequences ensures that every choice made is one that's pondered thoroughly. For the gamer after a slower and more thoughtful experience, this is the game to get.
It was hard not to be disappointed with Telltale Games' use of the Jurassic Park license but all mistakes have been rectified here. The first episode of The Walking Dead: The Game introduces us to Lee Everett, a criminal who gets a second chance when the dead comes back to life to kill us all. He's a complex man, immediately demonstrating how little is straightforward in life. Players are given numerous opportunities to explore decision paths of their own choosing in terms of his opinions and interactions with others.
While the storyline might keep to a strict linear path, how the player reacts to any given situation can have very long term repercussions. Indeed, as someone who's played Episode 2 on a console, the decisions made quickly in the first episode have gone on to affect how others feel about Lee in the second episode. Speed is of the essence, both when dealing with zombies and when making a decision. As in any normal conversation, quick replies are required otherwise other characters might perceive Lee as quiet or rude.
Other action features in the form of quick time style events in which Lee must react to a zombie threat. At times, it's genuinely tense stuff - even if a Game Over screen doesn't really affect much.
One pivotal decision within Episode 1 is the kind of decision that no one should ever be faced with and while players will have only spent around 2 hrs at most with their companions, it's an impressively emotional judgement call to make.
Length is one issue with The Walking Dead: The Game. Short but sweet is the best way to sum it up, much like Telltale Games's other episodic content. It certainly leaves you wanting more.
Performance wise, The Walking Dead: The Game does struggle a little, even on an iPhone 4 which rarely provides sluggish performance. At times, especially with other apps running in the background, I noticed some mild jerkiness and slowdown, although never enough to affect enjoyment, fortunately. For those who have seen the console and PC/Mac screenshots, don't expect the same stunning visuals here. Fortunately, the voice acting more than makes up for this.
The Walking Dead: The Game is a fascinating exploration of just how desperate people can get, as well as a gripping thriller of a game. It's the kind of interactive fiction experience that many have been craving for years. For thoughtful gaming, this is the place to go, even if you will only play this once before waiting for the next installment.