So grab a shovel and join in!
Minor Spoilers follow – You have been warned.
The Walking Dead started as a comic book created by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard. This series is famous for its tone which is at times scary, tense, exciting, emotional and funny; Telltale’s game utilises this tone perfectly to craft one of the finest stories ever told in a videogame that adapts entirely to the choices you make throughout its five fantastic episodes.
The series follows two characters – lee Everett (a convicted murderer) and Clementine (a young girl who saves Lee’s life at the start of the game) – and as such, the game is focussed around the character development of the two characters to progress the story. Clementine is used as some kind of moral compass for the game world and everything you have said to her throughout the episodes unfolds at the conclusion of the game. This brings me on to perhaps the biggest strength of the game: because everything you say matters (and the actions you perform), you really do care for each and every character’s feelings and completely understand the plight and panic they are all going through. This is the only game I have played where I have felt so much for each character – the game’s biggest strength.
The game is tonally consistent with the comic book – graphics and all – and every moment is as important as the last. The game is perfectly balanced and paced, but at times you can forget there are zombies, I personally liked this as it became a drama based around survival and friendships, but I can see why some people would find it boring due to it not being an action or horror game. One point to make about the tone however, at times it is very gruesome –see, gut-wrenching gore and truly disgusting situations and choices – so the game is not at all for the faint of heart or people easily offended.
There are a few technical issues scattered throughout the game such as lip-synching errors and the odd bit of stuttering in the frame rate; but they are not glaring enough to dampen the experience, notable, but not terrible. Other than that, the game runs smoothly and looks fantastic.
The game-play is not like a your usual point-and-click adventure game, as it does not focus on puzzles at all, instead opting for talking and decision-making. There is the occasional action sequence and puzzle, but these are simple enough that nobody should struggle with them; in fact, the hardest aspect of the game is the decisions you are forced to make, each one only giving a limited time to choose what to say or do.
The Walking Dead is the perfect example of a game that you don’t want to end, that you just want to carry on playing to see what happens next. It’s perfectly paced, fun to play, it really makes you think about every single decision you make, but never punishes you as there are no wrong choices. Another nice touch is that at the end of each episode there is a screen showing the choices made by everyone who has played the game, and whether you went with the majority (I mostly did) or not.
With the Walking Dead, not only have Telltale crafted one of the finest stories in videogame history; they have created one of the best stories ever told. Telltale’s Walking Dead is not only one of the best games I have ever played, it is one the best pieces of entertainment as a whole.
Not for the faint of heart, The Walking Dead fires on all cylinders and none of its shots miss their mark: 97/100.