I’m a big fan of the comic book series, it’s one of the best ongoing comics in recent years and it is known for it’s shock value and nobody is safe atmosphere. Kirkman is not shy about maiming of killing off main characters.
So when Telltale announced they were doing this game I was slightly skeptical. Up until that point all there games had been cartoony, type affairs. Could they pull off something edgier?
While there are plenty of Zombies in the world of the Walking Dead. The comic has always been about more about the humans and less about the Zombies. They are the threat and the background in which the human drama is unfolding, but the chatacters and their actions are always the main meat of the story.
So it was great to see that the game focuses more on the small group of survivors and is mostly a dialogue based affair with some puzzles and a few action sequences. It’s not Left for Dead.
You play as a convicted criminal who escapes in a great intro sequence as the world goes to hell in a Zombiepocalypse. You quickly run into Clementine ,a young girl, and become her protector. After helping out a couple of guys you end up in a familiar location for a little while before being dumped in a pharmacy where most of the action in this episode takes place.
Talk to all the characters to gain background and a sense of who they are and they will remember what actions you have taken, who you supported at crucial times, whether you confronted them or lied to them etc etc. This makes the game replayable to see if you missed anything and whether the choice you didn’t take was the better option.
Unfortunatly branching storylines like this mean that the action lenght of this episode seems SUPER short. I managed about 2.5 hours in the first playthrough. On smaller episodic type games it probably means that a 4 hour linear game is turned into a shorter experience with replayability.
Graphically the game still looks dated, but the cell shaded characters do give it a comic book feel that enhances the atmosphere of the game. The game world is pretty, but sparce of actual interactivity. There is a limited area in which to walk around keeping exploration to a bare minimum, but heightens the feeling of being trapped.
In keeping with most Telltale games of late there is little in the way of actual adventuring. Puzzles are few and far between and the couple that do exist are extremely easy to the point of insulting. It does have some actiony sequences, but thankfully they are constrained to a few situations and avoid the Jurassic Park nonsense.
As an interactive experience set in this world, it hits all the right notes. The world feels authentic, the characters interesting, the art stlye adds to the comic feel and you spend most of the time talking to other characters.
As an actual game…it’s too short and waaaaaay too easy.
Time Played: 2-5 hours