The highly anticipated sequel to Telltale Games’ 2012 Game of the Year, The Walking Dead: The Game, is here. For those of you living under a digital rock, the series is an interactive story book where you get to navigate a series of events set in Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead universe. You take on the role of Clementine, a young girl from Season 1. Not having played Season 1 in its entirety, but being an avid fan of AMC’s television series Walking Dead, I was able to easily immerse myself in this game. For those of you who have not kept up with the comic, the television show, or season one of this game, it might be a little more difficult to just jump right in. Conveniently if you played season one and are starting season two, the game will search out your previous save files and give you a recap of your decisions leading up to the current episode. Hey, just like on TV!
Most of the gameplay is investigative. You will be restricted to a specific area of the map where you will navigate to different highlighted items and interact accordingly. These more exploratory sections of the game are generally broken up by high anxiety ‘Fast Tap’ responses with some on-the-fly decision making sprinkled in. I played through once with a controller, and once with a keyboard and mouse setup. Both peripherals were smooth and intuitive. Personally I do most of my gaming on consoles, so I felt much more at home with a controller. Either method did not really add or take away anything from my experience other than convenience.
Not much is to be said about the graphics other than they are what they are. To best describe them, they are a stylized version of cell shading. My best comparison would be the artwork from The Walking Dead comic mixed with the graphics of Borderlands 2 (If you don’t get the idea, Bing it, people). In no way does this art style take anything away from the game. It’s easy to tell when a character is upset, terrified or angry without the need of dialogue. Notice I left out any emotions of joy… Segue!
The guts of this game are in the amazing storytelling and immersion of the player into this beautifully miserable world. Just like the television show, the game is situation after situation of choosing whether to trust and maintain humanity or give in to the hardened survivalist mentality. Through the story I found myself micro-analyzing conversations and character’s body language, trying to figure out who to trust, and who is going to hurt me. That is the beauty of this game, much like in a real extreme circumstance, you are faced with tough choices. Making the ‘White Knight’ choices will often leave a trail of innocent blood, while making cold ‘Bad Guy’ decisions could.. well.. leave a trail of innocent blood. The biggest gripe with the game for me is the seemingly lacking variations of outcomes. Basically the story knows where you are going to end up, you are just deciding how you are going to get there.
Honestly as a fan of the Walking Dead ethos, I have just been sold on this game series. Much like coming in on an amazing TV series in the middle of a later season, I have most definitely been inspired to go back and play through the first game. Beautiful, stylized visuals with minimalistic, yet immersive gameplay make this an excellent game to get someone who is on the fence into the world of videogames. Also as a sales pitch to those out there not totally sold on gaming, this game does not require an extreme amount of commitment, as it only took about an hour and a half to complete. If I was forced to complain, I would say the storyline doesn’t branch quite as much as I would like. All things considered this is a great game, easily worth your hard earned scratch.