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NINTH CIRCLE


THE WALKING DEAD PC, Mac, PSN, XBox Live, iPhone, iPad


Telltale Games We are now three episodes


into Telltale Games’ The Walk-


ing Dead. While the vast majority of zombie titles, such as Left 4 Dead and Call of Duty’s Zombies ex- pansions, follow the tried-and-true template of zom- bies attack, you kill them, lather, rinse, repeat, here the focus is on plot and character, as well as the in- dividual in-game choices you make, elevating it above its run-and-gun kin. Episode 1: A New Day introduced Lee Everett, a re-


cently convicted felon en route to prison at the start of the zombie outbreak. Making his escape, he even- tually crosses paths with Clementine, an orphan girl whom he vows to protect. It’s not long before you, playing as Lee, encounter other survivors and team up with them. In Episode 2: Starving for Help, tension builds amongst the crew as supplies begin to dwindle. You find shelter on a fortified dairy farm, but it is ten- uous, as bandits attempt to raid the place. Now with the release of Part 3: Long Road Ahead, the crew moves on, seeking to escape humans and zombies alike. The visual presentation (cel-shaded comic-style


graphics) is solid and the point-and-click control sys- tem is easy to master, but the real standout is the nar- rative. The progression of the story is based on the actions you choose when prompted. Who are your al- lies? How much do you tell the other survivors about your history? Who do you save? Every decision has consequences, as characters “remember” those choices, thus affecting alliances. Rare is the game that invests time in developing believable character dynamics, which make it all the more horrifying when bad things happen… and they do! Your relationship with Clementine, the emotional crux of the story, is handled particularly well and is guaranteed to bring out one’s ingrained parental instincts. Also, expect references to characters found else- where in the series, including an encounter with Glenn (pre-Atlanta) and a stop-off at Hershel’s farm.


0000 HEADSHOTS: EASY CONTROLS, GREAT VISUALS, TOP-NOTCH NARRATIVE


MURDER OF CROWS Card Game


Atlas Games Turn any gathering into a game


of murder most foul with A Murder of Crows, a two-to-five player card game that utilizes competitive sto- rytelling and has players building their own murder-mystery plot while attempting to sabotage their opponents. Each card contains an element of a story (be it character,


motive or action) and a letter (M-U-R-D-E-R). Players draw cards while attempting to spell out “murder” (to win the game) and construct a devilish plot along the way. (For


00000 HEADSHOTS: CREEPY, CARTOONISH ARTWORK, HANDY CHEAT SHEET INCLUDED MISFIRES: COULD USE MORE STORY ELEMENT CARDS, MORE SILLY THAN SCARY MISFIRES: EPISODES COULD BE LONGER, OCCASIONAL DELAYS BETWEEN RELEASES


xample, “A cool breeze danced in a narrow alley when Madoc Manchester, in a jealous rage, used a fountain pen to stab Scarlet Moonbeam.”) Each card also contains an ac- tion to mess up your opponents’ own stories, making them discard, draw or reveal cards currently held in their hand. To raise the stakes even further, Wild Crow cards allow you to play off-turn, giving gamers the ability to defend


themselves against these attacks. Murder of Crows is easy to pick up and play, and the hands are


fast, making it a great game for parties or anytime you need to kill a few minutes with friends. Mildly malevolent fun for the whole family.


JESSA SOBCZUK 61 RM


DREADLINES


How can I sum up a game where the outcome is unique


to each player? Simple: get it. With talk of a sequel to the title, now’s the time to get on board. It’s a fitting addition to the popular franchise, and one helluva gaming experience. RON MCKENZIE


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