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I'm going to start my pointing out that this was originally an XBOX Arcade title. I don't agree with it being released onto disc as that's not really the point of it. It's more of an episodic gameplay where you buy each episode. It works out better that way. #rantover
This game is how all games should be. You make choices that affect the entire game. It's brilliant. You can choose to let some people live and die, or to take other people's food, give a child a hoodie or leave her cold, the list is endless. I don't really know what genre to put this game into. It's listed as an Action & Shooter but it's more an Action & Exploration/Investigation game, if that's even a category. You spend most of the time walking around areas finding things and talking to people, but there are moments like a walker (zombie equivalent) attack on a pharmacy or a run across the rooftops that keep the action flowing.
The story is brilliant. Initially Lee, the main character, is being transported via federal custody to a prison for murdering someone but the idiot driver loses control and spins off the road. The officer dies in the crash and Lee raids his body for the keys, when the body rears up and attacks him. You then go on to find a little girl Clementine, in a house waiting for her parents to come home, when actually they aren't going to. She is hiding in her treehouse on account of her babysitter turning into a walker. A great story unfolds that spans across several characters and you have a direct impact on how everyone's lives turn out, or even if their lives turn out at all. For the amount of choices and the painful emotions they invoke, this game is worth playing.
I've recently upgraded my Xbox 360 hard drive to allow a greater amount of storage space, and I made the most of it by downloading some arcade games. Arcade games are often an independent release available to purchase exclusively through Microsoft's Marketplace on Xbox Live. The Walking Dead series is something that I follow on TV and I really liked the sound of this interactive storytelling game. The game is split into 5 episodes which are downloaded individually at the "cost" of 400 Microsoft points each, totalling 2,000 points required for the full game. To give you an idea of value, Microsoft points are purchased using real cash, at a standard "exchange rate" of 500 points = £4.25, 1,000 points = £8.50, and so on. So to purchase the full game it cost me £17.00. However, since I made my downloads, the game has been released in full on disc format, and Microsoft have finally done away with the whole points purchase system which means you can buy arcade game downloads directly using regular old cash money - hooray!
Description: "Episode one of a five-part game series set in the same universe as Robert Kirkman's award-winning series. Play as Lee Everett, a convicted criminal, who has been given a second chance at life in a world devastated by the undead. Experience events, meet people and visit locations that foreshadow the story of Deputy Sheriff Rick Grimes. A tailored game experience - actions, choices and decisions you make will affect how your story plays out across the entire series. Additional episodes available as downloadable content."
So the idea behind this Walking Dead game series is that you play as the main character Lee, and then work your way through the first stage of the zombie apocalypse, meeting other survivors along the way and making a choice through set offerings as to how you handle each situation that comes up. You will find a few familiar names from The Walking Dead, but mostly the story is stand-alone and is different to what has happened in the TV series, so watching the show first will not spoil the content of the game as such. There are a few puzzles thrown in where you will need to hunt for items and look for alternative solutions when problems arise. One main issue I have is that the controls are just awful. It is difficult to control your character and the odd, jumpy camera angles do not help at all. Your character moves along incredibly slowly around pre-set areas, and it all feels very structured, which fits with the method of gameplay. You are only able to interact with items, scenery and other characters when the menu display comes up on the screen and offers you a choice of actions. Conversations are limited to the options displayed, and it can be a laborious process to find out snippets of information from the other characters as you have to guess which method of approach is best when you are conversing with them, and use the correct language and tone appropriately to get the desired result. There are frequent cut scenes which I found were rather long, and I became increasingly frustrated the more they interrupted my gameplay.
The game seems to employ what I personally find to be some unnecessary shock tactics, in order to break up the dull monotonous sections and bring about a fast action sequence to change the pace and move the story along. Oddly enough, even though I've been a zombie fan for many years, anything gory makes me go squeamish and there were several scenes in the game where I had to actively engage in some controversial and explicitly violent actions. I felt quite uncomfortable playing through a few of these bits, as the game has been designed to make the player emotionally invested in the characters and you have to choose your own reasoning and then follow through with the necessary actions, which is much more involved than the detached approach of shooting off waves of zombies in an ordinary zombie themed game such as Dead Rising, Dead Island, Left 4 Dead etc.
One major deciding factor that made me dislike the game was the role of Clementine, a young girl who you come across at the very beginning of the game. This is a potential mini-spoiler, so scan to the next paragraph if you're worried, but it's a huge part of the game and no real secret. Anyway, what happens is you end up becoming Clem's guardian and father figure throughout the ENTIRE game. She is always there, bugging you, getting in the way and causing trouble. She follows you around and you have to constantly check that she is ok and work out how to best look after her. I found it impossibly irritating to have to bear full responsibility for looking after another character throughout the entire game, particularly as she is a child. I have no interest in kids in real life, and the last thing I want to do in my spare time is look after a fake one when I should be doing important things like saving my own ass and killing zombies! Unfortunately you cannot choose to leave her. I have tried, and it forces you to take her along with you from the start.
There are no extra features with this game, although if you have enough patience you can make the most of the multiple choice options at every stage and replay this game to your heart's content. I like to think that I stand on a moral high ground and played through my first go opting for the "best" answers and choices to lead me along the "right" path to the final conclusion. After I had played the game the way I thought it should be played, I was looking forward to going back and raising hell with as many of the other characters as possible! I decided to start trouble and rub them up the wrong way to see what sort of reactions it caused, and was curious to see if the plot really does divert and I would end up with a different outcome than I had previously. Obviously I had encountered all of the big spoilers already, so I could go into the decision making process feeling better informed than when I played previously and had to guess at the correct choices, so I thought that playing through again might put me at more of an advantage. Unfortunately you are unable to skip the boring parts by simply not choosing an option, as it does force you to make a clear decision one way or another. That said, some of the decisions have a limited time span and the clock counts down quickly, urging you to choose quickly which can lead to some snap judgements and panicky button-bashing rather than thinking it through carefully.
One of the most interesting ideas within the game was the statistics display which is presented upon completion of each level. You are shown a summary of the main decision making plot points and as well as indicating which side you took, it also shows you a percentage total of all the decisions made by other Xbox Live players so you can compare how many people sided with or against you on each point. I liked that I was able to see how my choices progressed throughout each level, recapping on the key parts of each chapter. It was also really interesting to see if I sided with or against the majority of the other players, and to think about how I could have played each part differently.
There are 8 achievements available for each episode of the game, but these are just handed out to you for sticking with the game and completing the various sections of each storyline, so there's no way to challenge yourself or earn extra gamerscore points through further replays of the game. I found this a little bit disappointing as I think that the achievements are usually an excellent way to gain some replay value and look into all the aspects of a game to complete it thoroughly and find out new bits you might have otherwise missed, and I feel that this may have been overlooked in favour of developing the community statistics aspect.
Overall I can't really say that I enjoyed this game. I was often left shouting at the screen because I was fed up of the limitations that the options provided, and the storylines didn't necessarily pan out the way that I would have wanted them to. Even though I truly love zombies and have enjoyed The Walking Dead TV shows, I was still not fully engaged with the game and did not enjoy it as much as I had expected to. I would only recommend this to real fans of The Walking Dead, as it was a bit too simple and poorly made for my tastes, and I can't see a casual gamer wanting to stick with the game the whole way through. In all honesty I thought this was just too slow and boring, with the concept being far better than the actual gameplay. I would give it a 2/10 so one dooyoo star seems fair.
Ah, this game. Every so often a game comes along that gets me completely hooked. I'm pulled into it-hook, line and sinker. The Walking Dead by Telltale Games definitely did this to me.
This point and click action game sees you take on the role of Lee, a convicted criminal who was on his way to being exported to prison at the time of the initial outbreak. After escaping a car crash caused by a walker, Lee starts to realise that his life has changed dramatically-gone is the prospect of donning prison robes and staring at bars-in it's place, Lee must fight to survive against the undead, whilst redeeming himself for his past mistakes as he progresses.
On his travels, Lee bumps into Clementine, an eight year old girl who has been surviving by sheltering in her treehouse from the zombies below. Instantly struck by her and noticing her parents are absent, Lee quickly forms a friendship with the little girl, taking on the role of her guardian until she finds her parents in Savannah, who had been on vacation at the time of the outbreak.
What makes this game work so well is the relationship between Lee and Clem. As the game progresses, you will notice how their relationship has evolved, to the point where we are rooting for both of them to make it through to safety together. Clementine is impossible to dislike-sweet, innocent, and seeing the good in everybody, her idolisation of her saviour, Lee, is easy to love. You actually want to do everything you can to save Clementine, perhaps one of the most loveable characters to come out of a video game for a long time.
Clementine and Lee's relationship is part of a much wider, complex fight for survival, which the writers have managed to convey so successfully in the story. It's easy to become emotionally invested in the story, the characters you meet and join along the way, and the consequences for the actions you decided to take.
The point and click aspect of the game is fantastic-it's great fun exploring each place and interacting with things to see Lee and the other characters reactions. The puzzles are never that complicated-often obstacles can be remedied rather quickly, but nevertheless, they're enjoyable-and satisfying-to complete. However, the choice aspect is probably one of the stongest parts. Throughout the story you will be confronted with decisions which will change the narrative depending on which option you have decided on. Many decisions are incredibly difficult to make, but with often only a split second to pick an option, this game relies heavily on your instinct. Many times you will be sitting there filled with guilt, regretting the option you decided to take, whilst other times you will be rejoicing at how successful the situation has turned out.
Being a fan of the comics, I was pleased to notice that the game not only follows the bleak, sometimes darkly funny tone of the comics, but also the style of it too. Characters are designed to look like they've stepped straight out of the pages of Robert Kirkman's excellent series.
At the end of each episode, statistics are revealed, showing percentages of players that took either decision each time. Most of the time, these statistics are rather divided, and it is interesting seeing how you compare to fellow players.
Without giving away any spoilers, I was amazed at how powerful this game, and it's excellent story was. I am not ashamed to admit that I cried at the ending of episode 5, as I am sure many others did too! I left the game feeling a little devastated, and sat contemplating my choices for some time afterwards. This is what made this one of the most talked about games of 2012-it sticks with you long after.
So congratulations The Walking Dead and Telltale Games for winning 2012's Game of the Year, it's well deserved. Now, please bring on Series 2!
Originally featured on my blog: http://8-bitgirl.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/the-walking-dead-game-review.html