Choice has been a trend in the world of video games recently. Some titles promise that users can make decisions that affect the outcome of the story ( like “Mass Effect 3″). However, most of the time “choice” games split a game down two pathways.
Gamers can either play as a “good” or “bad” character. It may change an ending or a game play aspect or two, but in the end the experience can have a cookie cutter feeling.
Very few games have actually had an in-depth choice story.
“The Walking Dead” takes this challenge and has accomplished this task more than any game has before.
“The Walking Dead” video game, created by Telltale Games, is based on the widely popular comic book series, which focuses on the survivors of a zombie apocalypse. Gamers play as Lee Everett, a man who is on his way to prison for murder.
After a car crash, Lee discovered that a zombie outbreak has begun. While in the midst of chaos, Everett stumbles upon a little girl named Clementine.
Lee takes her under his care and journeys through out this new world in order to survive.
The game play is an evolution on the classic point-and-click adventure style game. It is episodic, with new game play periodically introduced throughout the episodes.
However, most of the game play is choosing what to say from a number of dialogue choices. Lee goes along in the world and makes many different dialogue choices that come to affect him in future episodes.
Episode One: A New Day
The first episode is an excellent beginning to the series. Lee’s character, along with the other group members are introduced perfectly, and right off the bat, gamers gain attachment to favorites.
The game play is easy to pick up on and developed very well. Aside from a few technical glitches and lip-syncing problems, this is a great introduction that will get you hooked on the series.
Episode Two: Starved for Help
This episode revolves around one of the classic elements needed for survival: food. The group runs into a family who has a local dairy farm. Lee and the group question if they have found a safe place that they can permanently stay.
The story is definitely another step up from the amazing story of the first episode. It has some the hardest choices gamers will ever make in the series. This episode shows that its best aspect is the incredibly engaging and interactive story.
Episode Three: Long Road Ahead
“Long Road Ahead” deals with the group’s struggle to find a place of safety. They think they may have found a way to get to the coast, a goal the group has had from the beginning.
The story is just as engaging, with an overwhelming sense of heartbreak.
While the story is great in this episode, the game play is not as interesting as previous installments.
The puzzles seem very long and drawn out, but can be solved with relative ease.
This makes gamers feel like they are making more chores than having fun. This makes the pacing seem very slow, even with the great story.
While this is a downside, the beginning and the end of this episode is great and definitely makes up for the sluggish middle section.
Episode Four: Around Every Corner
In this episode, the group journeys to Savannah in the quest to find a boat to head out to the coast.
The game play here is the best in the series.
Stealth and well-executed action play center stage here with the backdrop of the coming ending of the first season of the game series.
New and interesting back stories are introduced here and hopefully they will be more explored in-depth in the future installments of the series.
Overall, “The Walking Dead” game can be played over and over again.
Many different styles can be played with completely different results and be treated as completely different games.
This keeps the player on his or her toes, not knowing what is going to happen or who is safe.
While the puzzles are slow at some points and there are a good bit of glitches, the amazing and well-crafted story completely makes up for it. Gamers truly feel for these characters and that is very difficult to do sometimes in the video game medium. Telltale has created a masterpiece, which will be talked about for years to come.
So far, four episodes have been released with the fifth and final episode of this season being released sometime in November on PC, Mac, iOS, Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.
After the final release, a second season of the game series is planned for development by Telltale Games.