Video Game Review: Telltale’s The Walking Dead

July 18, 2015

Written by Capt McNeely

Georgia Division ZADF Twitter: @ZADF_ORG

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With Comic-Con wrapping up and AMC’s “The Walking Dead” 6th season revealed I decided to take a look back at Telltale’s game adaptation of “The Walking Dead”. This game was released back in 2012 and won Spike’s Video Game of the Year award for which it got a lot of backlash for mainly because it came out of no where and was competing against a lot of other and better games I.E Darksiders 2 and Dishonored. I personally was upset that this won because from a gameplay stand point  and I would go on to be-grudge this game until I eventually picked it up and now playing through it for a second time I can now understand why this would win Game of the Year.

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As you can see graphically wise, it ditches the ultra-realism that most games aim for and instead uses cel-shading. I personally enjoy cell-shaded games, some of my favorite games of all time are cell-shaded but it’s when it comes down to technicality I was expecting this game to run a whole lot better. The load screens are sluggish and the frame rate drops every now and then, if a game like “Borderlands” can do cel-shaded and more and still run at a smooth 60 frames per second than this game should be running smooth as butter. Although I did notice it runs a bit better on the Xbox One over the Xbox 360 so if you own a big fancy next-gen console this game will be a bit nicer to you.

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Telltale’s “The Walking Dead” split its gameplay up into 3 different parts; Quick time events where a prompt will come up on screen to mash and press certain buttons in rapid succession to complete a certain task. Puzzle solving where you’ll be throw into a certain area and must solve puzzles around the said area in order to advance for example there is one area where you discover a fully working train and must figure out how to get the engine running and then disconnect the train from its destroyed counterparts, it’s rather simple but along the way you find much harder and more thinking ones and some times the game will throw a countdown at you so must compete the task with a certain amount of time or else you or someone else will die. Lastly are the dialogue trees which is what Telltale is iconic for. All of their games have you making choices throughout the game and force you to make hard decisions, whatever decision you make will affect the outcomes of you and everyone else along the way, it’s rather astounding seeing the work the developers put into making these choices and the creativity of the aftermath your decisions will face and with every decision you make you can really feel the weight of it bearing down on you and can either making you feel confident or upset. In the screenshot above you have to decide who should be in charge Kenny, Lilly or you can be indifferent, I’ve played through this game twice so I’ve seen the two different outcomes and well I’m not gonna spoil it either way though this game really shines when it comes to making decisions but then again all Telltale games do.

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Now all Telltale games work the same, they take a property with characters and limitless imagination and create a 5 part episodic game series. They are currently doing this with “Borderlands”, “Game of Thrones” and with Michonne from the actual “Walking Dead” show. In this version of “The Walking Dead” you play as Lee, a man convicted of murdering a state senator and on his way to the county jail in Georgia his police car crashes and he passes out only to awaken to zombies all around him. After escaping a near fatal encounter with the “Walkers” he meets Clementine, a little girl only 8 years old surviving in a tree house after she saves your life you two become partners and begin to look for her parents. That’s all I’m gonna say because Lee’s story is something you have to experience, He’s such an interesting person and with the way Telltale tailored the choices there are really 3 ways you could play as Lee and each way is so perfectly developed and affects the way you encounter each new person along the way as you play through these 5 episodes. Now I’m not gonna go through every episode but instead I will just rank them from greatest to least greatest.

1. EPISODE 5: NO TIME LEFT, Of course the last episode in the series is the best. It’s the stunning conclusion to a long journey between Lee and Clementine and although there are a few loose ends it still brings full circle for Lee and what eventually decides to do.

2. EPISODE 3: LONG ROAD AHEAD, This is one of my favorite episodes mainly because the game decides to shed what it was building and decides to hit you the player with some really heart-wrenching scenes. Near the end though the episode starts to die but beginning first 2 acts of episode 3 are just astonishing and show the true power this game can exert.

3. EPISODE 1: A NEW DAY, For the first episode it does a very good job at introducing Lee to the player and hits you with some real hard decisions 3 to be exact and as well has a very emotional scene between Lee and a loved one but if I go any further in detail I’d be spoiling.

4. EPISODE 2: STARVED FOR HELP, I like and dislike Episode 2. It’s opening is rather boring and although it does answer any cliff hangers left by the first one it decides to follow the show it’s based off of in a good way and brings you to a iconic area if you are familiar with the show and it has a really nice plot twist and a rather grand conclusion unfortunately you have to play though an hour of quick time events before you actually experience it but at least it’s not as bad as….

5. EPISODE 4: AROUND EVERY CORNER, I had to google the name of this episode because it’s just kinda forgettable. It’s not really until the end where it really ramps up and gives way to Episode 5 and seeing that it takes place between the first and second greatest episode it feels like filler. Here’s this character and why they would be important later on, here’s this character and why they are going to be important later on, it’s just not as intriguing. Worst part is similar to episode 2 it borrows from the show again but this time it uses one of the filler episodes.

All in all though Telltales “The Walking Dead” is a spectacular game and although it drops in both story and game play quality I can now see why this would have won Game of the Year but in retrospect 2012 was a great year for gaming so I really can’t hate. I give Telltales “The Walking Dead” a 9 out of 10, it is available on Xbox One, Playstation 4, Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC.

 

 

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