So, let’s just jump right in shall we? If this is the first you’re reading of ‘Reviewing The Walking Dead’, then check out the introductory post. If it’s not then sit back, relax and enjoy a quick look at Episode One – A New Day.
Lee Everett is a complicated man. His character sits in that grey area between good and bad and right and wrong. But that’s the theme that Kirkman set out for The Walking Dead. These are stories of survival following real people. These people aren’t superheroes, brainless soldiers or mutant samurais – they’re you and I. The episode opens with Lee in cuffs, sitting in the back of a squad car receiving an unwelcomed lecture on morality from a cop – probably just days from retirement, in true action film style. Of course, we’re given snippets of information as to why Lee wound up where he did. But, throughout the entire series, this is all we’ll be given – the occasional snippet of his past. Telltale do a brilliant job of making who Lee once was, seem irrelevant. Sure, it plays a part later on in the game, with chunks of his past rearing their ugly head now and again. But, in the scheme of things, what he did then doesn’t affect what he’ll do now and in the future. After some “skilled” driving by the man in blue, Lee finds himself unconscious in a wrecked car, quickly becoming surrounded by the un-dead. After a pulse raising scuffle, a few blasts from the cops shotgun, a quick limp away and a struggle with the least attractive baby sitter ever to grace our screens, Lee finds himself a companion.
The relationship forged between Lee and his new companion, Clementine, sets the tone for the entire series. This chance meeting changes the course of Lee’s future in ways that even the player can’t comprehend. In Clementine, Lee will find a friend, his love for whom equals almost that of a father to his daughter. In some cases he will even see her as a role model. Her childish view of the zombie apocalypse reminds Lee, and the player, that even in times of the utmost danger, even at the end of the world; there is still room for human decency. At the beginning of the game, Lee has no other goal than survival. By the end of the first episode, Lee will have no other goal than the protection of this little girl and to do his best in helping her find her parents.
In A New Day the player will meet a number of the main characters. A chance encounter outside Clementine’s house leads the player to an idyllic farm in the Georgian countryside (fans of The Walking Dead might know where I’m going with this). Here players will uncover an untold story from The Walking Dead series which will explain the past of a certain grumpy farmer – and why he became such a pain in the arse for new arrivals. At the farm, you’ll also meet with Kenny (brilliantly voiced by Gavin Hammon), a fisherman and overly protective father. His wife, Katjaa (wonderfully voiced by Cissy Jones) and their young son, Duck. Much like the friendship between Carl and Sophia, Clementine and Duck give a child’s perspective on the end of days, which is a strong contrast to the fears and worries of the adult survivors. Later in the episode Lee and Clementine will meet some new survivors, adding to the roster of this already deep and detailed cast.
One thing to remember about this game series is that it focuses your decisions. The playing experience changes depending on your actions, how you interact with other characters and even your surroundings. Some characters may not stick around for long, so choose your friends wisely – you may not get the chance to patch things up with a character before they sadly depart the game in a swarm of flesh eaters.
That’s your roundup for Episode One – A New Day. It’s been difficult to avoid spoilers, so hopefully the overview of the story – and a quick insight into what makes this game so special – is enough to wet your appetite to try out the first episode. Remember to check back next week for Episode Two – Starved For Help.
By Alecs Pillik