The Walking Dead: Season 1 Reviews

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The Walking Dead began as a comic book series that didn't hit it off so well in 2003. It took the series a bit of time before it began to ramp up in popularity, largely due to being published under Image Comics; a not so well known company that has had its share of ups and downs over the years. By 2010, the comic was launched into monumental success with the arrival of the smash hit TV series, and by 2012 its first video game release saw the light of day thanks to TellTaleGames.

You would think after nearly six years of The Walking Dead being in the spotlight of TV, comics, and games, that the pandemonium surrounding it would wane, but that has proven to not be the case. In fact, it has only gained further momentum in all three categories, and the first season of the TellTale series actually helped put the game company into the limelight. Sure, the developer/publisher had its share of great titles prior to 2012; Jurassic Park (debatable), Back to the Future, and the Sam and Max series. However, after the success of this title, we've seen two more set in the same universe, a Borderlands game, and now even Batman. It's hard to deny that the highly contagious zombie fever hasn't benefited TellTale in a major way.

Rather than being based off any events in the comic book or television series, The Walking Dead by TellTale is set apart within its own unique location and timeframe. It revolves around convicted criminal Lee Everett, who at the beginning is in the back of a police cruiser, on his way to prison. The car crashes, and Lee finds himself free, but in a world infested by the living dead. In an attempt to find survivors, he comes across a little 8 year old girl named Clementine, whose parents were killed in the zombie apocalypse while they were away for the weekend. Realizing that the her babysitter has also died, Lee befriends the girl and they begin their adventure. You will encounter a plethora of people along your journey, and while some such as Glenn and Hershal will be from The Walking Dead, many will not be.

One of the most striking things about TellTale's first season of The Walking Dead are the extremely tough choices you will inevitably be forced to make. It almost seems like no matter what you do, there will be a sad consequence along the way; you definitely have to remember that you cannot make everyone happy. People will die, trusts will be broken, and you can choose to either be a total jerk, a nice guy, or all around apathetic; of course a combination of all three is possible as well. Can you decide who eats for the day and who starves? Who you save and who ultimately gets sacrificed as a result? Can you decipher who to trust, and who's a risk? Do you put Clementine before your own needs, or are you selfish? These are just a few of the decisive questions you will be asking yourself along the way, and they're all difficult.

Thanks to TellTale's fantastic ability to create rich relationships and deep backstories, it always hurts when you lose someone, or you let them down. Part of the game mechanic is that characters will "remember" things that you've told them or done to them. If they catch you lying, they'll call you out on it. If you're mean to them, they won't forget it. If you tried your hardest to help them, they'll be more friendly and helpful towards you. Aside from this core mechanic, you're able to control where Lee walks for small distances, and also interact with a few objects in the world. There are also quick time events, and of course the prevalent ability to select from four dialogue choices. Other than that, this game is bare bones in the gameplay department, as it's more of an interactive graphic novel.

Cell shaded comic book style artwork colored with soft pastels are the graphics of choice here, and at the time of initial release it was revolutionary; as was the 'gameplay'. The only other title using this type of art at the time was Borderlands, but given the subject matter and roots of The Walking Dead, it's only fitting that it was also used here. Despite its somewhat cartoon appearance, the game is well detailed, though it does show its age considering the vibrancy and more well polished artwork in newer TellTale titles. Above all, the voice acting is absolutely fantastic, and the emotions of each character brightly shine through.

TellTale's The Walking Dead has a deep and immersive story that every fan of the series, and of zombies in general, should experience at least once. As they say, it will hit you "right in the feels". There's a decent replay value due to the amount of choices that are present, and I've personally played through the game three times on various platforms over the years. It seems to be something that I seem to revisit every couple of years, as the story is just that phenomenal. Given its age, I can't recommend the game for the asking price of nearly $30 CAD, but I highly suggest grabbing it when its on sale. The 400 Days DLC also adds a new curve to everything, so pick that up while you're at it. If you've played more recent TellTale games, you'll feel the age on this one, but the story is timeless.

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Valewonca
18,771
Valewonca
TSA Score for this game: 599
Posted on 03 March 19 at 22:04
This review has 0 positive votes and 0 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
Probably the most iconic history based game of the recent era. At the time of it's release it was huge thanks to the TV series and the ammount of let's plays of this game that appeared on Youtube, and to a lesser extent it's comic-like graphics. While you play as a man named Lee, the most important character of the game and of course the franchise, in my opinion, is Clementine, the little girl that Lee saves and decides to take care of. Sure, you play as Lee but Clementine is always there or has something to do on the important parts of the game and for me the whole point of playing was making sure Clementine stayed alive. Superficially, the story in general is great, a great bond is created between Lee and Clementine that reminds me of Joel and Ellie from The Last of Us; but the difference between The Walking Dead and The Last of Us and most other zombie games is that it isn't about finding a cure to the zombie virus, it's just normal people trying to survive. Another thing I like is that this game doesn't have as many filler conversations like the TV series had, what do I mean by filler conversations? Your typical "We are going to make it" "Everything is going to be fine", I remember the TV series being full of those and I found them unoriginal. The Walking Dead is a game that every fan of the zombie survival genre should play, because it is more than just killing zombies, is taking difficult decisions; despite the fact I had seen playthoughs of a few youtubers before and knew how the game was going to play out, when I got it from Humble Bundle it was a no-brainer for me to play it by myself.
But there is more...
The problem with this game, despite the fact that it is great and makes you feel like you are taking decisions and it is shaped by the way you play, is that, as I said, it makes you FEEL like you are playing your way, but you are NOT actually playing your way. It didn't matter if, when I decided to play a second time, I chose every option I didn't take in my first run, the game would always end the same way. And this problem got worse as the series went on.
*** Spoiler - click to reveal ***
. Another thing that made the series worse was the fact that groups of hostile humans became the main threat and not the zombies, something that also ruined the TV series for many people. I suposse the reason why The Walking Dead is still relevant is not for the supposed decision based gameplay but to see what happens to Clementine, Telltale Games did a great job in creating such a lovable character that we got behind of and wanted to see grow. R.I.P. Telltale games by the way.
As I said throughout the review, despite the problem with your choices not being as important as the game tells you, as long you have a damn good suspension of disbelief to cover that up, you should get this game.
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