Hello all! Today I will be reviewing Telltale's The Walking Dead; a point and click adventure like no other. The version of The Walking Dead that I've played the most is the Ps3 version, but I have completed full playthroughs of the 360 and IOS versions as well, which I will bring up later.
SPOILER ALERT: If you have not yet played this game, I HIGHLY suggest that you skip the story section. Trust me that game is much better while playing if you don't expect it!
Story: The Walking Dead tells the story of convicted felon, Lee Everett. It begins in the first of five episodic campaigns in the back of a police car. Some small talk between Lee and the Sheriff ensues before hitting a walker and driving off the road. Hours later Lee wakes up from unconsciousness. He is attacked by the Sheriff so he's forced to kill him. Lee then ventures into a nearby home, discovering a girl named Clementine. She tells Lee her parents have left for Savannah, so Lee offers to protect Clementine and find her parents. Throughout five episodes, Lee and Clementine meet up with different groups of people that come and go. Without spoiling too much, your choices in the game really do count throughout the entire story. It's hard to review something without giving away the details, but the story is great in The Walking Dead. The character development is something that gamers are still getting used to. If you don't have any emotional attachment after playing all five episodes of The Walking Dead then there is something wrong with you
Gameplay: The Walking Dead is a point and click adventure game, played from the third person perspective. If you're looking for a game of button mashing, large explosions, and instantly fun action sequences IE Call of Duty, then look elsewhere. The Walking Dead is not that. If you want to give this game a chance, you're going to need patience. It's very much a story driven game and doesn't have that instant satisfaction as a Call of Duty or Halo would. The basic gameplay consists pretty much of walking around with the left stick, while searching for and interacting with items with the right stick, and picking up/using those items. The gameplay isn't all that deep, but really isn't focus of the experience. There are quicktime-events that you will need to react quickly in order to save something/someone, as well as brief first-person shooting moments. Other than that, expect to walk around and search for items a lot.
When you're not walking around, you'll be making major decisions that shape the story throughout the five episodes. Think Mass Effect and it mirrors the choices in the ME series a lot. Not only will these decisions affect yourself, but they affect the people around you. For the most part, Lee and Clementine are in the larger group for the entire game so do you want your group members to like or loathe you? It's completely up to you, and those always choices will come with consequences. Only have five food items? Leave Kenny hungry and see how he treats you later on when you need his help. Do risk yourself saving someone in trouble? Or leave them as a distraction for you to get away. The choices you make are tailored to each specific run through the story, so replayability is VERY high. I wanted to see all the different outcomes the that The Walking Dead would offer me, and enjoyed every one of them.
Specific Genre: As far as point and click adventure games go, I have not played many of them. The controls work well but it could be a bit laggy at times. Also the response time can be quite slow sometimes. Other than minor gripes I think the point and click was the perfect way to go for this game. Though the game does contain a couple first person shooting sequences, they're very breif. If you're like me, you'll enjoy just walking around in a certain area, searching for every nook and cranny that make contain an intersting item or action to do.
Multiplayer: No multiplayer but it's still a great game to watch someone play. I've had friends come over so we would all dicuss the decisions before we'd make them as a group.
Presentation: A mixed bag in the presentation department. The visuals are good, not great. Textures seem muddy at times and it looks like they didn't put a lot of money into the visuals. It still looks good with the anime style landscape but don't expect to confuse this with Crysis. Framerate can be VERY choppy at times, on all three platforms that I have played TWD on (Ps3, 360, IOS). Lip syncing is way off on all platforms. Loading times are a bit awkward as music leads into it, and then just stops. Cutscenes sometimes stop completely and need a hard reset. Minor bugs. Soundtrack is very good though and fits the mood perfectly. Overall, this is just the case of not enough budget for such a surprisingly popular game. Season 2 will improve greatly on this but as it stands, the presentation is just good. One thing that impressed me the most were the facial animations in both cutscenes and during gameplay. You'd be surprised how the facial animations affect your decisions. A raised eyebrow might be enough to sway you into not helping somebody, just because you think they look angry.
Conclusion: The Walking Dead is a fantastic experience. Since playing through Telltale's 5 episodes of The Walking Dead, I've downloaded and watched the tv show (every episode) and started to get into the comics a bit. If you like good gaming experiences, you owe it to yourself to give The Walking Dead a try. It's winning GOTY awards for a reason. The ending is fantastic and leaves a bit of a cliffhanger for season 2, but most of the questions are answered. It's not often when a game draws an emotional response from me, but I actually felt bad when a character I like died, or excited when one I hated ended up living. It's a unique experience that you owe it to yourself to play.
If all technical issues were ironed out it'd be higher. But with Telltale's low budget, I'm think season 2 will be much improved from season 1
Let me know what you think of the game/my review as well as what you think TellTale can bring us for season 2!!!