Few games have tugged at my heart strings, sitting on the edge of my seat and feeling legitimately choked up and regretful of certain decisions I made throughout the adventure. The Walking Dead series from Telltale managed to do all of these things and more from the very start.
You play as Lee, a former history professor who starts off handcuffed in a police vehicle. To jump ahead a bit, you end up in the woods, rescued by a little girl, Clementine, who you come to care for just as much as Lee does. You meet a family and a few other people and with their help, you make your way across Georgia, hoping to escape these zombies and whatever caused them. There's one problem: they're everywhere.
Being primarily an adventure game, it's surprising how well it works. The dialogue is just as engaging as any action scene and the time bar often attached to the more important moments, like making a decision, makes you choose quick and sometimes even hope it's the right one. This is very much your adventure and you mold your crews attitudes and actions by your decisions, who you stand up for, etc.
The voice acting is fantastic across the board and the dialogue is smartly written. Humor, tense and even tender moments are really well done and makes the more tense scenes that much more harrowing to watch and the moments where you have to choose if you want to save someone more intense.
The game itself isn't perfect. There are sound cutouts and there were moments when some of the more important dialogue trees wouldn't respond to my inputs. Otherwise, the game looks and plays like a dream. I felt the pain and sting of some of the more painful decisions playing as Lee throughout the five episodes and plan on going back at some point to see what can be done differently. For me to want to play a game again from start to finish is quite a feat on Telltale's part. They did a great job of showing us a way to celebrate life and appreciate what we have.
The Walking Dead is my GOTY 2012. And if Season 2 isn't as good, I might just go kick myself.
It truly was one of the best, most emotional games I've ever played. And yup, Journey wasn't anywhere near it.
The only thing I didn't like was how transparent the decisions became by the end of each chapter, when they would give the stats on how many people opted for each choice. It kind of ruined the replay value for me. I really enjoyed it though, it reminded me of Indigo Prophecy in a lot of ways.
2012's GOTY by far. I absolutely loved this game. In fact, it's what I was finishing when 2013 started. An amazing way to start off a great year! :D
I'm glad this wasn't just some generic FPS with a bow and arrow. We need more of this in our industry.
I'm not an emotional guys, but so far this game has moved me nearly to tears twice. My only complaint is I keep having severe frame rate issues which are terribly distracting
I didn't encounter either of the two technical issues that you mentioned. Maybe I just got lucky.
My main criticism is that some of the "puzzle" elements of gameplay didn't feel all that strong. And it is a bit daft in some sections where you're meant to have a sense of urgency but Lee still moves at his standard speed... The main strength of the game came from it's conversations and decisions.
I got into the Walking Dead comics a couple of years back at the urging of a close friend. So when I got the game I had the great joy and satisfaction of, after completing it my way, watching my friend play through it his way. We made various different decisions and, while the end game was identical, it was very interesting seeing how certain character's fates played out. Particularly in the final chapter.
@Shanks_D_Chop Yeah, there were a few times when Lee was pretty much strolling instead of running for his life.
I did like the story a lot but I was kind of disapointed that if a caracter had to die, he"she will die no matter what. So really didn't care at all for any caracter outside of Lee and Clementine. I was also on the edge of my couch will playing the game, very tense but I felt more nausea than anything ( like the scene where you cut your arm or digging out the dog ... )
@Coco_pierrot Having an alternate ending where he did survive wouldn't really make Season 2 anything special, though. Sure, I'm upset he died, but it was the right way to end a series, and sometimes a game isn't always going to have a perfect ending (cough cough, FFXIII-2). But in this case, it was the perfect closure to Lee's story and a new beginning for Clementine.
@Bayonetta2013 I'm ok with the fact that everybody died ( well almost ... who knows where Lily, Omid and Crysta are ? ). But for a game claiming the fact that our choices make a big difference on everything in the game. Nah really no.
You may have deceided to abandon Lily on the road , even if you replay the game just to see what will happen if you deceided to take Lily prisonner and deal with her later. She will untie herself and flee with the camper ... so in the end she will leave the story at that point.
During that same scene where Lily accused Carley and/or Ben of the shit that happenned, well no matter what choices you make ( tell Lily to cool down or accuse Ben or whatever ), Lily will shoot Carley in the head. I know I tried every dialogue choices of that part of the game just to see if I could save Carley for a while longer and no.
It isn't like Heavy Rain where your choice really made a difference in the game because you had multiple ending for each caracter and it could make the game shorter if someone died etc.
@Bayonetta2013 Simple, the end of the game Heavy Rain change depending of what you do during the game, your choice give you a different ending, it even could make the game shorter.
All of that isn't the case in TWD. I don't see how my only complain about this game is something impossible since a 2 years old ( maybe more ) already did it.
I know many people got emotionnaly involved with the game, in my case I was more involved emotionnally in Heavy Rain. In TWD I was more disgusted or tense than anything else but still a nice story.
Also, the story isn't tailored to my choices, they all died anyway, so I didn't get very attached to anybody because I expected them to die soon. So whatever how many new game I do, Lily will always shoot Carley in the head, Ken will sacrifice himself etc.
@Coco_pierrot @Bayonetta2013 Well, I don't really know how you started off on choices since I was talking about the ending, but you're asking the impossible. You can't always make every single decision in a game. Telltale Games advertised that the story was tailored to your choices, correct? In some ways, it wasn't but in most, it was. The decisions affected ME and many other players. Not so much the story, but the fact that those decisions made any difference at all not only to me as the player, but also the dynamic characters and your relationship with them is a huge step in my opinion.
@Coco_pierrot @Bayonetta2013 I felt the same when I played this game a second time to see if their were any chabges as well and in the second playthrough Carly still dies, and Lily leaves you no matter what, in the final episode Ben dies wheather you save him or let him drop in the bell tower he will eventuelly die when Lee and the crew are jumping from that little belcony and Ben wiil just fall down and break his leg and then Kenny play's the Hero no matter what with Ben if you have Ben or not he ends up bieing saving Crysta.
@Coco_pierrot Sometimes things happen that you can't control even if you're prepared for them. Sometimes people just completely lose it without warning and kill someone. Even when you try to keep someone alive eventually something out of your control happens and then the other characters make decisions beyond your control.
@Drilbit777 I know but it isn't real life and no one can say if our lives are pre-destined or if things are created along. This is a "game" were your choice supposely "matters", so their should be different possibilities !!!
Which is the case of Heavy Rain. The game could be shorter if someone died early and/or you don't get the same ending because of the path you choose. So it is fun to try a different path and see what will happen, in the case of TWD no matter what you do, a caracter had to die at that point because you have to have the same ending because, like I said, going from episode 1 to 2 would be a mess if in my case a caracter didn't die while in yours he/she died.
I'm glad you liked the game. I did too. Not a very good review however. You'll have to work on your objective criticism.
Clementine will remember that.
Yeah, that about sums it up. Can't wait for season 2 and how it's going to continue where this one left off. It's definitely a memorable experience. And the feels man, the feels. They were everywhere.
@SoNin360 I doubt its going to continue off season 1 and they probably get a new cast.
@Drilbit777 I saw and interview on this website where the creator of TWD talked about using our save of the first season to continue on season 2 ... I don't know if it would be a good idea ... and I don't think my decision would make a difference if Lily make a come back or Crysta and Omid are the shadows at the end ...