There aren’t many games that challenge one’s morals, ideals, and choices, but The Walking Dead is one of them, and it does it really well as well.
Name: The Walking Dead Season One (with the 400 Days DLC)
Developer: Telltale Games
Available On: PS3, Xbox 360, PS4, Xbox One, PC, PS Vita
Reviewed On: PS Vita
The Walking Dead is based on the graphic novels of the same name, just like the TV show, but all 3 are independent of each other: you don’t need to watch the TV show to play the game, and you don’t need to have read the graphic novels either.
The game centers around Lee, a criminal who is being transported to prison when suddenly the police car crashes into a zombie. Climbing out of the wreckage, Lee climbs up to a residential area where he finds a little girl, Clementine, who’s mother and father are away, and she’s being looked after by her aunt (who is now a zombie). Lee adopts the girl, and together they head out into the world.
The Walking Dead is a story-driven game – there’s not much action or puzzle solving, and mot of it is choosing dialogue options to proceed the story – but this in turn makes the game a lot more emotional and personalised for the player, and makes you feel as though you are Lee.
Throughout each of the game’s 5 episodes, Lee has to deal with his band of survivors, who to trust, who not to, which city to go to next – it’s hard to describe the story, because if I tell you what happens in each episode, it’ll spoil it. Just know that the game is well worth picking up because of the story, partly because it becomes so personalised. This personalisation causes the game to have a profound impact on the player: making the decision to end a life, or choose one person to live over another, or when a character that doesn’t like you very much sacrifices themselves or you…it all becomes very emotional, and it’s such a great experience. But it’s not just these choices you – or Lee – have to make; you also have to worry about Clementine, and whether you want your ‘adopted’ girl to see you kill, and it really sticks with you days after you play. It’s fantastic story-telling, and it’s certainly the best storyline I’ve seen in a long time.
The art of the game is simply stunning as well – it’s cel-shaded, and looks like a moving comic book or graphic novel – as if you could actually be playing the novels the game is based on.
What also helps this game is the dialogue – each dialogue option (of which there are usually 4) has voice acting from Lee, and every piece of dialogue in the game is wonderfully voice-acted: Clementine sounds like a scared little girl, Lee sounds like a tough guy, it’s just really well-done.
Each episode of the game is basically choosing dialogue options, intertwined with a few pieces of puzzling and a few bits of shooting here-and-there; but this game is for those who want a great story, not those who want an action game.
I did particularly like the TV-episode layout: each episode starts off with a last-time segment (except for episode one) and finishes with a trailer for the next episode (except episode 5, the last episode). There’s also credits, and I liked the statistics on how many takeaway dinners the team had, which was pretty funny.
Each episode lasts for about 2 hours, maybe slightly more or less depending on if there’s a large puzzle you can’t figure out (in my case, this was in episode 3, and I had no clue what I was doing, so I spent a half hour trying to figure it out, but this was the only instance of that happening). The exception to this is the 400 Days DLC.
400 Days has nothing to do with the main game, and instead is a pretty obvious introduction to some characters that are going to appear in Season 2. I wouldn’t have a problem with this, except that it is presented so poorly.
All the DLC is is sequentially playing through five new character’s storylines. Again, not a problem, except most of these DLC stories are bland and boring.
They simply have you work through a series of dialogue options, but then give you a major choice which is obviously only for the storyline of Season 2. In the main game at least everything you chose affected how characters thought of you, in the 400 Days DLC it seems that the only choice that matters is at the end of each new storyline (which take around 30 mins to an hour to complete).
The 400 Days DLC is included in some versions of the game (such as the Vita, PS4, and Xbox One versions), but it is not worth getting otherwise unless you really feel the need to personalise Season 2’s storyline (as there will no doubt be some default installed).
Unfortunately, overall the game has just one flaw: frame rate. The frame rate slows often on the Vita, not enough to ruin the experience (it’s good enough to play, it just looks jerky in some instances). Occassionally, the game wouldn’t register my taps on the touch screen, but this isn’t likely to be a problem. If you are looking to purchase The Walking Dead Season One, I would reccomend reading up on how good the frame rate is on your chosen console and see whether that effects your decision. The game is certainly playable, and works near-perfectly, but it might be off-putting to some who would enjoy and otherwise cinematic experience.
– Great Graphics
– Great Sound
– Absoultely Fantastic Storyline
– 400 Days DLC Doesn’t Add Much
– Some Framerate Issues