In the wake of a zombie apocalypse, Lee, an ex-university teacher convicted of murder, has a chance to redeem himself when he decides to protect an orphaned girl named Clementine. Your actions will determine who you are. Available on Android, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Windows, PlayStation Vita, iOS, and Steam.
When the first season of The Walking Dead: A Telltale Series was released, Telltale Games had a very small name in the gaming industry. Coming off mediocre works such as Jurassic Park, small expectations were given towards their latest project, The Walking Dead. However, to great surprise to gaming enthusiasts everywhere, The Walking Dead: A Telltale Series proved to be more than just another mediocre adventure from Telltale Games. It was the emotional win for the developer that led to what is coming this August…the fourth and final season of The Walking Dead: A Telltale Series. Ultimately, the first season of this revered franchise is an emotional and revolutionary experience that is bolstered by a riveting story that wipes clean most of the game’s technical faults.
Back in 2012, stories in video games were respected but weren’t considered critical aspects of games. Gameplay and abundances of content were placed as greater priorities. However, The Walking Dead turns that cliché on its head. The greatest priority of this experience is its story. Without the story, the game is dysfunctional. Lee Everett is an extremely compelling protagonist, who clearly has a strong backstory. However, this backstory isn’t explored without certain choice-making. It’s probably the most disappointing aspect of the story and weakens some of the emotional attachment players can make to Lee. However, the clear stand-out of the story is Clementine, played by the acclaimed Melissa Hutchison. She is the window of the audience and how the player is able to interact with the story. Throughout the game, there are a series of choice-making available. Often times, these choices are ground-breaking and shift and change relationships for further episodes. At first, however, there is no real change outside of Clementine’s impressions of you. Most of the choices made in the game rely on Clementine’s views and amplifies the emotions the game is able to create. Outside of Clementine, however, the side characters aren’t as strong. Most of them are generally archetypes that have been seen and repeated constantly in other mediums. While Kenny and Lilly’s dynamic relationship proves interesting and even shocking, no side character outside of Clementine really makes an impact. Overall, The Walking Dead has one of the best video game stories of all time. It blends dark, mature themes with an excellent side-character, Clementine to create a story that rivets and binds the player to the controller.
As stated before, the primary focus for The Walking Dead: A Telltale Games is unquestionably its story. However, that means that certain mechanics of the game, specifically gameplay and performance take a major hit in quality. The gameplay only consists of a minor shooting mechanic, exploration or the making of choices or decisions. The first two mechanics are used very briefly and only are used to propel the story further. It is only the final mechanic that makes a true impact on the experience, particularly on the story. The decisions made will shift and alter the story heavily. While some of the decisions may not have as great as impact as other decisions, certain choices made can turn allies into enemies and can even cause the death of several side-characters. The choice making causes deep emotions, especially when attempting to please Clementine.
However, the gameplay and story is halted by one key issue of the game…the performance. Often times, the frame rate drops mildly consistently. It happens at least several times for each episode. In addition, several glitches occur in the game. These glitches immediately cause the game to freeze and crash, leading to a frustrating restart. While these technical issues don’t dismay the experience that The Walking Dead affords, they certainly mar the experience.
Overall, The Walking Dead is a unique and emotional experience. It proves to be unforgettable in its storytelling and decision making. These mechanics bolster the game and make it an experience that every gaming enthusiast should try. It’s a defining game that revolutionizes a genre and developer. While it contains a handful of bugs and glitches, The Walking Dead: A Telltale Series feels timeless in its design and execution and is a thrilling experience for the ages.
Score: 8.4 out of 10