Gaming: The Walking Dead

 – 2012. Telltale games.  Available on PC, Mac, Xbox 360 & PlayStation 3

The Walking Dead is a geek franchise not to be reckoned with: a popular comic book series, a television series and as many bits of merchandise as they can draw a zombie on, so when Telltale Games announced they were releasing a five part video game tie-in, I didn’t think lightning ever struck thrice. Well, colour me surprised because the games are not only immensely enjoyable but approaching the giddy heights set by the comics.

The game places you in the role of Lee Everett, a man with a shady past struggling to deal with a world infested with zombies. The game is especially effective at weaving the storyline into that of the comics; you meet various characters before they turn up in the main series and a decent portion of the first episode is set on a location that is infamous for fans. However, it does not make the understanding of these references essential to the story allowing newcomers to the series.

In terms of gameplay, The Walking Dead isn’t fully immersive, but rather an interactive comic book. This is not a major problem as the game intends to place relations with other characters over zombie killing as a focus and the use of timers on responses in conversations effectively builds tension. When it acts as a game, it displays its weakest fault; whilst facial movements for the characters are shockingly good, there is an odd floating quality to character’s limbs that show the lack of care given to the non-verbal sections of the game.

Currently there are three episodes of the series available with two more to come soon. This isn’t a traditional zombie game, containing little that will test your trigger finger but if you’re looking for a different take on well-worn ground it is worth it. There are very few game adaptations worth your time so when one as good as this comes along, it really is something special.