Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Walking Dead: Season 1

Rating for this game: 8.5

Happy Price: 24.99


Walking dead is a narrative driven adventure game that mainly consists of quicktime events that lead to decisions that alter the course of the story. The focus is choice and ability to make decisions quickly, and dealing with the consequences of each decision. It doesn't take long before you realize decisions matter and you must be fully invested and attentive during gameplay. 

Decisions: This game throws a lot of difficult decisions at you, and you can only sit on your couch and be thankful that these are not real choices you have to make in life. However a decision made in episode 1 can effect something that happens in episode 4, so decisions have a lot of weight to them and feel very real. It makes for an edge of your seat experience that you need to fully invest in. The player has to pay attention to what is going on and understand the context of each situation. A wrong comment or suggestion can alter the group's perception of you and have consequences that are not entirely obvious, as if the NPC's have minds of their own. The ways the story can branch off displays great game design and programming. Everyone that plays this game will have a slightly different experience. 

Killing Zombies: Killing zombies is not the focus of this game, but still looms as the consistent threat throughout the game which stays true to the television series. Most of the conflicts happen when coming across other humans. When put in situations where Zombies need to be dealt with, the controls are very simple. Either aim with the cursor and press A or repeatedly tap a button in situations where there is a test of might. Based on decisions made, these confrontations can vary. If I decide to look around and find a knife or handgun, then my next encounter will go smoother as opposed to not having anything at all. I made sure to scavenge every area I was in to avoid such situations. 


Acting: The voice acting is spectacular. Heavy emotions are in full force in this depressing apocalyptic world, and it comes through in dialogue. There are times when the writing feels a bit forced, but the voice acting covers it up. The expressions of the characters can be inconsistent. At some points It's very good and everything comes together beautifully. At other points, things feel very rushed and there seems to be a lack of attention to detail. This comes through sometimes when zombies are chasing the character and there is an expressionless look of fear that stays plastered on the player's face. It doesn't take away from the emotion felt during these situations though, but is still something that is noticeable. 

Embedded Gameplay: You must pay attention during cinematics because it's apart of the game. Dialogue will suddenly stop and a timer will appear giving the player about 5 seconds to read all 4 available decisions that can be made, then the player must react by pushing the correct button. The short amount of time given to make the decisions keep the story moving at a correct and natural pace as natural dialogue would, adding realism and pressure to each situation. This is where the game thrives, it's a great mechanic and innovative way of integrating story telling and play into one. Games like Mass Effect and Dragon Age allow the player to make branching decisions, but can stop the game, think about it, then choose what I want to do. Walking Dead does not allow this, and incorporates your own psychology and behaviors into the game.


Worth playing by anyone and everyone. This game is very accessible to people that are not hardcore gamers or gamers at all. Very simple controls and gameplay hinders on good decisions, not necessarily reactions with fingers. I will definitely pick up Season 2 and play other games by Tell Tale. However the experience is very intense and does not allow for side conversations with ACTUAL people. So I will have to pickup another Tell Tale game when my girlfriend is out of town or something.

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