The-Walking-Dead.jpg Copyright: Telltale Games

In this week’s Red Bull Gaming Blog, Glen Ferris aims for the brain with The Walking Dead and reveals some info about an Assassin’s Creed movie…

The Walking Dead: Episode 2 – Review

Zombies are everywhere these days - almost as much as those bloody vampires and werewolves - so you could be forgiven for having had your fill of the flesh-eating nasties. There’s nary a corner of the cultural zeitgeist that hasn’t been appropriated by the undead, and videogames are especially awash with rotting corpses. So any new release has to be pretty damn good to get your attention.

Luckily, just like the graphic novel and the TV series that inspired it, The Walking Dead videogame is decapitated head and shoulders above the rest.

Telltale Games made waves with their episodic comedy graphic adventures Sam & Max, Monkey Island and the ace Back To The Future games and now they’re continuing the piecemeal approach but shifting tone dramatically from goofy guffaws to downright horror.

The game is based primarily on the comics not the TV series and introduces a whole new cast of characters headed up by Lee Everett, a good man with a shady past who finds himself acting as guardian to a young girl named Clementine just as the zombie apocalypse takes hold.

Episode 1, available to download on Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network and PC, made a good fist of introducing the characters, concept and gameplay, but it’s Episode 2 (subtitled Starved For Help) that finds the five-part series really hitting its stride. It’s more than two months since the End Of Days arrived and Lee and his fellow survivors find that increased tensions within the group and rapidly diminishing food supplies inexorably lead to some very difficult moral decisions.

nullCopyright: Telltale Games

Starting with a tough quandry about what to do when a member of their group gets caught by a bear trap in a Walker-filled forest, Episode 2 squeezes every last drop of tension out of the situation. With nuanced choices to make in a split second, how far you will go to survive has serious ramifications as the game progresses. It’s this muddying of morality that makes the series such a cracking success, with decisions becoming less black and white and decidedly more grey as the story shuffles along.

The appealing presentation and excellent dialogue adds greatly to the impressive levels of realism and, while there’s still little in the way of true graphic adventure-style puzzles, the game will tax your diplomacy skills to the max. Of course, if all this talk of intergroup politics sounds pretty dull, you’d do well to remember that you’re never more than a few minutes away from an exhilarating zombie attack.

Suffering only from the odd graphical glitch and frame rate issue, there’s very little to complain about with this series. The storytelling is smart, the characterisation compelling and the gore satisfying. The next episode – called Long Road Ahead and due out in August - can’t come fast enough.

Byte-Sized News

  • While we’re on the subject of The Walking Dead, word reaches us that another game based on the TV series is on the way from developer Activision. They’ve charged Ghostbusters: The Video Game developer Terminal Reality to work on a new first-person adventure which will take place before events of the show and will centre on the crossbow-wielding badass Daryl Dixon and his unhinged brother Merle as they make their way to the alleged safety of Atlanta.

    Mooted as a straight action game with RPG elements as you collect and store food and ammo, it’ll feature other characters from the show. So far, that’s all the info we have, aside from the teaser clip pasted below, but we’ll be sure to keep an eye out for more details on this project as we lead up to the release on Xbox 360, PlayStation3 and PC next year.

  • There’s been talk of an Assassin's Creed movie adaptation for some time but the project has never quite got off the ground… Until now. Hollywood trade bible Variety has broken the story that Michael Fassbender, he who played Magneto in X-Men: First Class and the dodgy android David in Prometheus among many other great roles, is set to portray the main character.

    Which character that will be, however, is yet to be revealed as Variety’s vague plot description doesn't give anything away. Could it be Desmond, Altair or Ezio? We’d guess there would be more franchise potential if they started at the beginning with the film set during Altair’s adventures in the Third Crusade. This would allow possible sequels to take place in the Italian Renaissance and the American Revolution, as in AC 2 and 3.

    This will be Ubisoft’s first stab at making movies after the failure of their Disney-made Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time and, even with the curse of videogame movies hanging over their heads, we reckon the inclusion of the always-awesome Fassbender could make this the movie to break the mould.

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