Review A look back at The Walking Dead The Game Season 1

Written by Twisted Ideas

The last episode for The Walking Dead The Game was just released wrapping up this season. Earlier this year I wasn’t sure if I could recommend buying the season just based on the first episode. Now that episode five has been released I know for certain whether it is worth the investment.

Story

Lee Everett is a convict who is on his way to prison when the zombie outbreak begins. Due to the chaos he manages to escape from the crash police vehicle while evading the walkers. He meets a young girl Clementine whom he decides to protect and to raise her as best he can in this new world. They befriend several of survivors and form a group. The constant threat of the walkers, bandits, hunger and internal tensions put their lives at risk.

Rant

The writing is the game’s strongest point. Right after chapter one each episode gets better and more shocking than the next. They know how to keep you guessing and how to keep you engrossed in their story.

The Walking Dead The Game uses dialog options that will affect how people view you. Unlike games like Mass Effect or Elder Scrolls the dialog choices aren’t dictated by the good and evil morality. Many times you are given choices with no “right” answer. You are forced to make difficult decisions whether you like it or not. You will inevitably displease someone. It is a question of who you please. Do you side with your friends? People who you dislike who make reasonable arguments? Try to please everyone? Do you keep to yourself? No matter what you choose the story will progress but the outcome and how people view you will change.

Unlike most games with dialog choices The Walking Dead often uses timers during scenes. You are not allowed to contemplate your choices.  If you wait too long then the scenes will progress without your input. You may not even be sure what the choices were and you may even regret the choice you did make and are unable to take it back. These are basically modified quick-time events to keep you focused on your decisions.

How do you know what to say?

Quick-time events are also integrated with the point and click mechanics when defending yourself against zombies. Other QTE’s have you repeatedly press a button to survive but occasionally they will be impossible to succeed until the scene is passed. This creates tension because you don’t know if you have to press the button faster even if you cannot. There is a genuine sense of panic when those scenes continue for an extended period because you don’t know when it will end or if you will die.

Kill or be killed.

The game itself isn’t perfect. It has problems with flow that point and click adventure games have. The game feels the need add puzzles. Logically, the puzzles aren’t difficult but if you miss what you need then it could take a while. Lee also walks very slowly when you are allowed to explore.

The game suffers from graphical glitches and frame rate issues. You may encounter scenes where held objects or even people are invisible. The game looks choppy when you are walking around and when you trigger some quick-time events there is noticeable frame skips. The graphical and the frame rate issues aren’t a deal breaker but it is strange that with the amount of series Telltale hasn’t been improving their engine.

Final Thoughts

If you’re a fan of the series then the game will be right up your ally. I haven’t read much of comics but I do watch the show and I prefer the game. The characterization if much better because they aren’t limited to the time and writing restraints that TV and comics carry with them. Since the story it isn’t based off the comics there is infinitely more room for surprise. Each chapter gets better and has a conclusion that left me speechless.The popularity of the game has prompted Telltale to make a second season in 2013. If you have yet to play any of season one now is as good a time as any to get started.

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