Cinematics have always played a huge role in the story telling of video games. Early on, when the in-game graphics weren’t nearly as advanced as they are nowadays, developers relied heavily on cut-scenes, completely separated from the gameplay. Some prime examples are they Final Fantasy games back on the Playstation One. You would go from an assortment of bricks and spheres resembling characters, to over the top cinematics with beautifully rendered CG, then back to the in-game graphics. The transition between these two differences was almost always a jarring experience. I always found myself wishing the in game graphics were as amaizing as the cut scenes. Modern gaming has done an amazing job blending these two elements into one cohesive experience. The Walking Dead is an excellent example of this evolution in story telling.
Telltale Games’ latest entry plays like a choose your own adventure novel. You are placed within various scenarios and the decisions you make will affect the outcome. You take the role of Lee, a college professor who is on his way to prison to serve out a life sentence. You are riding in a patrol car when there is a terrible accident. You wake up after the accident dazed, to the sound of gunfire and horrifying screams. This is where the game begins. Because so much of the experience is based around the story, I wont go into any greater detail than that.
It’s almost not fair to call The Walking Dead a game. As I was “playing” (and I say that loosely because honestly there is very little gameplay involved) through Episode One: A New Day, there were many moments where I was sitting for five minutes at a time, just watching the drama unfold. There are actually very few segments in the game where you have complete control over your character. Most action sequences are restricted to certain types of movements or responses. At first I found this to be semi-disappointing, but after I realized how this greatly added to the tension in the game, I didn’t have a problem with it at all. To be honest, I really liked it. The graphics are very stylized, which helps give it that graphic novel-esque feel. Sometimes this worked incredibly well, but other times I found myself a little offended by how bad textures looked. Generally speaking though, the game looked really good. If you have the patience for a story heavy game, with very little combat, I would highly recommend trying out the first episode of The Walking Dead and for five bucks you can’t really go wrong.