If you read my post on Wednesday, you know that I’m not a fan of digital game downloads that don’t offer a significant discount over their physical disc counterparts. The Walking Dead game from Telltale, however, started out as a digital download before making its way to the disc format this past month. On Xbox Live, the entire Walking Dead game (the first episode and the four additional episodes, available as downloadable content) usually costs 2000 Microsoft Points, which equates to $25. The full game, available at retailers in disc format, will run you $30.

That’s an okay discount, but it’s nothing like the one Microsoft is offering today.

As part of its “Countdown to 2013” sale, Microsoft is giving away the first episode of the Walking Dead game absolutely free, and is selling each additional episode at 50% off. Each installment comes in at 200 Microsoft Points, or $2.50. When all is said and done, you can end up spending $10 on what many feel is a Game of the Year contender.

I’ve personally played through the first two episodes so far, and I have to admit that I’m hooked. The game, which uses the Walking Dead comics as canon (not so much the TV series), does a great job using its source material as it weaves the story of convict Lee Everett and a little girl named Clementine in and out of encounters with new faces, actual characters from the series, and, of course, walkers. It’s a dialogue-driven experience that benefits from some great voice acting and characters you actually feel something for; when a group member goes down, you feel a sense of loss. That’s the mark of good storytelling and character development.

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The Walking Dead Game

If you’re expecting a lot of zombie killing action, don’t; the game is more an exercise in exploration, puzzle solving, and decision making. The Walking Dead game is a “choose your own adventure” game, of sorts, where the decisions you make directly impact the story that revolves around you and your group. Do you lie or tell the truth about your past? What do you say in key situations? Who do you save when walkers attack? These are the types of decisions you’re faced with constantly, and they all weigh heavily because their consequences stay with you throughout the game.

Do yourself a favor: jump on Xbox Live and download the first episode for free. Once you’ve played through it, I’m certain you’ll spend the $10 to pick up the rest of the game’s episodes. And if you somehow finish them all before I do, please don’t spoil the ending.


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