The Walking Dead is a long running comic book series that has the misfortune of being simply amazingly written while at the same time having a TV show based on it that has never really understood the tone of the comics. Given the continued vitriol the internet has recently found against the show, and the way that the last game by this publisher (Jurassic Park) was received, expectations of this game were expectedly low. Happily that made the entire experience that much more enjoyable when nothing about this game was awful at all.
The first and most striking aspect of the game is the art style. Everything is cell-shaded to look like the characters from the comic book and looks amazing, which is interesting because this is built on the aging Telltale engine that has been kicking for almost a decade at this point. This game looks fantastic and from start to finish it remained impressive looking.
The Walking Dead also manages to escape all of the common adventure game trappings of needing to find random objects and combine them to proceed. Most of the environments in the game are small and don't require puzzle solving, but when they do, most of the time the characters in the game either know exactly how to proceed and inform the player as such or the solution is as simple as glancing over the world for interaction points.
Even though the world is populated by the living dead most of the action in the game comes from the dialog choices presented to the player as they are all timed. This might not seem like much as many games have done this in the past, but the results are what really define the experience. Most of the time when a choice is given in a speech tree it directly impacts how the NPCs of the world interact with the avatar, so instead of taking time and reading each choice carefully there is a real sense of having to think on the fly. The way that the game only allows auto saves means that while the game can be reset to a previous state there is going to be some content that has to be played between choices, so most decisions have to be lived with.
The voice acting is on par with almost all of the other games from Telltale as well; which is to say amazing. The content of the game could very easily be construed to be that of a B movie and largely hammed up, but it is good to see that while the TV series might not really understand character development this game does.
This game falls into line with the old purchasing structure of the old Telltale model, the episodes have to be purchased as they come out monthly. The first episode (of five) goes for five dollars, which is pretty reasonable. This will probably mean that the total series will end up costing about 25 dollars, and since the first game ran me just over two hours long the series will probably end up between 10 and 12 hours. That said I think I played this game in one sitting, which might not sound like much but I thought that I had only been playing for a quarter of that time. This might be the best game that Telltale has put out yet.
Not As Good As: The comics
Also Try: Any of the Sam & Max games
Wait For It: The TV show to ever get better