The Walking Dead: A Telltale Game Series
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Platforms: iOS, PS3, Xbox 360, PC, PS Vita
Release: December 12, 2012
To decide means to determine or settle. To kill off all other choices and pick one. But how can you do so when there are many choices and all of them seem viable? That is the hardest part of Telltale’s The Walking Dead. You, as the main character, are tasked with making tough decisions. Some are downright brutal. And believe it or not, you are even timed on some choices. But hard as those decisions may be, it all contributes to one of the best gaming experiences of this generation.
The Walking Dead is an adventure game that takes place over five episodes. Each containing their own story but contributing to a bigger plot for the main character Lee Everett. Lee will come across various fellow survivors throughout the story and form partnerships. Partnerships will develop into friendships but not all will last. Tension can rise among the core group leading to very tough dilemmas. At the end of each episode you will find yourself mentally fatigued recounting everything you experienced. Gameplay consists of dialog, quick time events, and action sequences that may task you with shooting zombies or crawling away from one. It is not your typical “point and click” adventure game. So don’t write it off thinking of it as old-fashioned.
The action is not the main attraction though. This is a serious drama that makes you think and second guess yourself the whole time. Should you agree with one of your comrades, or disagree? Should I help this person from danger or that person? Should I comfort a young man guilty of wrongdoing or condemn him? The choices can make you stress out for sure, but its awesome.
Connections between characters in games are becoming more poignant as time goes on. The Walking Dead’s episodes develop a relationship between Clementine and Lee masterfully. Although they aren’t biological father and daughter, their love for each other is strong and tangible. A lot of the choices you make will revolve around the well-being of Clementine making them have serious weight. A lot of games that offer choice usually offer us the morally “good” or “bad” decision. But in a game set in a world where civilized humanity has been eradicated, each player decides what is right, or best for the circumstances at hand.
Over the five episodes of The Walking Dead, choices that you make will impact situations you encounter later on. Side with a specific individual in an argument and they are more inclined to help you when danger comes. But on the flip side of the coin, the individual that you disagreed with may act cold towards you or even worse. Every character you face has a true personality and human feel. The gaming term NPC (non-playable character) almost doesn’t seem to fit for this cast. During my play-through, I unfortunately encountered some technical issues. The game froze a couple of times and there was an issue regarding my save in episode four. But Telltale has released patches to fix most of these issues and the overall gaming experience is a smooth one.
With the budget pricing structure, dynamic cast of characters, and heart pounding narrative, The Walking Dead is highly recommended….. to mature audiences. The story of Lee and Clementine is gripping all the way to the tear-jerking finale. You will find yourself wondering how the story would have unfolded if you would have chosen different words or actions. You will mull over so much even after the controller has been set down. One thing is certain, Telltale’s The Walking Dead Season One deserves your attention.