Categorized | Arts and Entertainment

Reviews: The Walking Dead game by Telltale has great characters, decision making play

Telltale’s The Walking Dead (not to be mistaken with the awful The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct) is not a game based on the show or the comic books. It is its own separate story that takes place in the same world, shattered by the zombie apocalypse.

TWD is an episodic adventure game. It means that it is divided into parts (episodes), with every episode having its own part of the story. The game comes out in parts which unfortunately mean that you have to wait 2-3 months between each episode (so far it ends on Season 2 Episode 3).

The story is the main focus of the game. The studio responsible for the game, Telltale, has almost 10 years of experience in telling great stories (ironically enough) and it also shows in the game. The script is superior; characters have their own goals, backstories and even the motives that make them do terrible things. It makes them more believable and memorable. At this point I can’t even find one character that would feel unnecessary for the story. They’re all like carefully placed puzzles that make the story, you get a rid of one and it would just fall apart, especially if you get rid of Clementine, but I’ll talk about her in a moment.

 In the first season of the game you play Lee Everett, a history teacher who is on his way to prison for killing a senator who slept with his wife. He spends a while talking to the police officer and then BAM, zombie apocalypse. Lee wakes up few days later in the crashed car and in the middle of the forest. He makes his way to the first house he sees while he’s getting chased by zombies and here Lee meets Clementine.

WD, 2

 Let me stop here for a second and tell you that Clementine is the best kid character in the video game history. She is so complex for a 8 year old girl and yet she is innocent enough to still be believable. She is the piece of the puzzle that goes in the middle; her presence is like glue that holds everything together.

 Anyway, Lee takes Clementine with him and decides to take care of her until they find her parents. This is the kind of redemption that Lee goes through to repay his sins, and in the end this is what makes the choices you make in the game difficult, especially the one you make during the ending sequence.

  The story-changing feature that allows you to play the game multiple times and see different outcomes is making decisions. During the entire game you’ll have to make the decisions that would be difficult to make in any circumstances. For example, in Episode 2 you get few food items and you have to decide how to distribute them between 10 people. It doesn’t matter what you do, some people will be mad at you and some will still support you even if they don’t get any food.

This sort of social awareness where choices you make affect how people interact with you is the best idea the developer could come up with. Unlike “Heavy Rain”, the choices in here matter not because they change the story, but because they affect the way you remember the characters. If you‘re talking to them like you’re the center of the world they will hate you, and if you’re trying your best to make everyone your friend, some people will still hate you, just like in real world.

Those “small choices” are not the only ones you’ll make. Since it’s a middle of the zombie apocalypse you’ll have to make some serious and brutal decisions, like deciding to cut the arm of the infected person and see if it helps or leaving it be. Just remember that every choice has its own consequences.

WD, 3

The graphic is pretty good, I mean it’s not “The Last of Us” by any means, but the art style is unique and despite the blocky characters it fits the mood. Unfortunately the game has minor problems with frame rate on consoles. It slows down if there are more 10 zombies on screen and the transitions between screens take few seconds. I didn’t see any problems on PC though.

 I have to give them credit for improving the engine in Season 2. It still has some issues, but they’re nearly unnoticeable now.

Some people might also complain about gameplay, or rather lack of gameplay. You just move through linear locations and talk to people, occasionally fighting with zombies, and pressing buttons at the right time to survive, but in my opinion it’s ok.

It doesn’t have that much depth, but it works better than making it a First Person Shooter. It’s definitely better than “Heavy Rain” with its dumb commands, although “Press X to Jason”, was hilarious.

The story in the Season 2 so far is also lacking. It’s still more original than the generic zombie stories, but it’s not nearly as good as Season 1. I have a feeling that after the great Episode 1 of Season 2 the story stopped being about the main character and is more about the characters no one cares about. I hope the last episodes will fix this problem.

Telltale’s The Walking Dead is a great game. If you’re a fan of anything zombie related or if you just like games with good stories you should definitely check it out, especially since it came out for every mobile/stationary device. You can buy the entire Season 1 for about $10. Believe me when I tell you that the game is definitely worth it.

Score: 9/10

Pros:

+Amazing story

+Decisions that have an impact on characters

+Believable characters

+Ending of the Season 1

+Clementine

 

Cons:

-Minor problems with the console versions

-Season 2 is inferior to the previous game

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