Anybody who has been watching The Walking Dead on FX or terrestrial TV, could probably tell you that as it has gone on, it has slightly… suffered.
Budget constraints, a change of director and a general lack of zombies has led to a lack of excitement. It started out really well and kept a good pace through the first series, it just seemed to lag later on, though this was also slightly remedied by a few more exciting episodes to wrap the second series up.
I had seen talk of the game adaptation by Telltale a while back but this slipped under my radar, through missing out on trailers or through my own laziness by not checking them out, so I didn’t know what to expect until I bought it on the Xbox Live Marketplace on Saturday morning.
It was pretty much what I expected in terms of being an episodic game, but as it is from Telltale, what else are you going to expect?!
I bought 5000 points in anticipation of buying Trials Evolution, Fable Heroes on May 2nd and whatever new Rock Band songs took my fancy, but I made sure I kept 1200 points free to buy The Walking Dead, so I was very pleasantly surprised when it popped up at only 400msp.
Having finished it now, that price is spot on.
It’s hard to recommend this game to anyone wanting a long, drawn-out experience, expecting plot-development, character building and exciting set-pieces.
It is very easy however to recommend it to someone who likes the universe the TV series is set in (as you get to see some familiar faces on your travels!) and who likes a game you can sit down with for 2 hours and feel like you have accomplished something by completing that chapter, eager to play the next instalment in 4 weeks time.
And yes, you read that right, it is only about 2 hours long, but as I said before: 400msp.
It’s also an incredibly easy way to bump up your 100% completed achievements games list, scoring 100g per chapter.
This is a great 2 hours though!
The main idea of the story is that you play through as a character within the confines of the same universe as the television series, but you never directly influence it.
People and events may cross into your world but nothing you do will appear in the show, but you can see how you may fill in the gaps before it.
It has a very interesting morality mechanic within the game too where you have a choice of dialogue options, similar to the wheel system in Mass Effect.
If you choose to lie to someone, they may pick up on it and remember that you did later.
If you show concern for someone they will be quicker to trust you and be more receptive to you.
At points, you are forced to make bigger moral decisions which affect certain people or everyone else around you and all these choices will carry on through the game into the next episodes.
It won’t spoil it to tell you that not everyone you meet survives to the end, but you get the choice of which ones do or don’t so it is up to you to decide what, and who, is the most important thing.
I thought I had made the right choices throughout but one of them backfired quite badly on me at the time, though moving on it was clear that I had kept to my own moral path and things turned out better for those I was with.
At the end, you get shown your decisions for 5 major events and how you stack up against the rest of the world and how they decided to act in the same situations.
In all but one, I was within the majority, except for one decision that I thought was a no-brainer, where I was within a very close minority.
So if you all do the right thing, that percentage might swing my way a bit more and I’ll feel better about myself 😉
The next chapters do look like being a bit more active and it looks really interesting as you get given a “next time…” preview and that trailer shows the game with your decisions present.
I really want to go back through it and do things differently just to see how people react to each thing, so I think I may do that this week.
All in all, it is a good start to what looks like being a great series.
If it can keep it up for all 5 games, it would be very impressive because even the Tales of Monkey Island games started to lose something near the mid-point.
It looks like a comic book, utilising a sketchy, cel-shaded look which suits the tone very well and retains a lot of atmosphere through the music and sound effects.
It is very enjoyable though and for a few of your English pounds, this is well worth a punt!