The Walking Dead: The Game – Season One (Telltale Games, 2012)

One way to further your total immersion into the Walking Dead universe is to take on the emotionally-tiring episodic video game series from Telltale Games. Be warned: do not attempt if you have a history of heart conditions.

Whilst most modern games push for bigger and better graphics, more epic explosions, larger guns and loud noises, this take on the interactive adventure genre instead induces panic by forcing the player to make incredibly tough decisions in a snapshot of time without much prior warning.

The action takes place in the events immediately after the outbreak of the apocalypse in the same Atlanta locations as the early parts of the comic and TV series. You take control of convicted murderer Lee Everett, a character we are yet to meet in any other canonical Walking Dead media, as he comes to terms with the loss of his family, whilst trying to keep himself and young girl Clementine alive.

The character Clementine is the masterstroke of the game, giving it an emotional edge seldom seen in video games. The decisions made aren’t on the level of which zombie to kill first to keep us alive, but rather how can Lee earn the trust of Clementine to make sure she sides with him and can be kept safe. In this way, whilst there are always choices to be made, there is a tendency to take the moral high-ground and sensible options to ensure the right impression is made at all times.

Decision, decisions.

Decision, decisions.

This is easier said than done. Often the prompt to make a decision flashes on the screen and a button input must be made immediately. There may be four options displayed but there is always the fifth option available too: doing nothing at all often leads to the worst outcome. Mild panic ensues each time the decision prompt appears – a great way to keep players on edge.

There are some nice touches, with several familiar characters appearing to help Lee and Clementine on their early missions. Hershel, his son Shawn and Glenn appear, though these are the only ones seen in the first game.

The game was released as an episodic series in 2012 in five parts, with the 400 Days DLC released soon after. As a result, each episode is left on a slight cliffhanger, a nice touch that makes it necessary to go back for the next part (much like the comic and television series).

Stylistically, it stands on its own away from the designs of the comics and the TV series. Yet, somehow it inhabits both worlds. This is testament to both the design team and the guidance offered by the fully realised world of the source material.

As an immersive experience, The Walking Dead: The Game – Season One is one of the most accomplished video games this genre has ever seen. If you’ve completed it, you can always check out Season Two and the upcoming Michonne DLC, due in December.

The Walking Dead: The Game – Season One is available to purchase as a Game of the Year Edition, featuring all episodes and DLC, now.

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