Amy Moore provides a review based on real time thoughts during gameplay.
Warning, content may contain spoilers.
Contrary to the short episodic adventures of TellTale’s The Wolf Among Us, I found The Walking Dead Game a much more challenging affair with one episode averaging around three hours complete time. TellTale Games’ player portfolio includes the recently released Game of Thrones series with The Walking Dead arguably its most successful project to date.
The Walking Dead Game was released in five instalments between April and November 2012 and almost revolutionises gameplay. The Walking Dead Game is character focused, concentrating on the endearing relationship between lead Lee and a rather childlike Clementine. Hershel and Glen are core examples of consistent characterisation within The Walking Dead, with Kenny proving the most pivotal throughout Season One and Season Two. The Walking Dead Game has no definitive scare factor, but players remain on edge through physically tasking scenes where they are invited to tap and mash buttons to survive. Admittedly, the characteristic comic book style clouds realism, more or less depending on overall reaction time. Yes, some tasks are a tedious attempt to prolong gameplay (such as fixing Carly’s radio), though the enhanced puzzle aspect provides mental stimulation within an emergency stealth scenario. The Walking Dead Game was purchased as a bundle, complete with the neat feature to transfer save data from Season One to Season Two. Earning achievements is easy, though may require a replay with different decisions.
Season Two of The Walking Dead Game, released throughout 2014, is when the franchise really kicks in. Following Lee’s untimely demise in Season One, you now play as a more mature version of Clementine. Though not immediately obvious, there are prominent changes in Clementine’s personality, which bridges the gap between Season One and Season Two, following 400 Days DLC. Designers have done well to make Clementine appear more adult, but in terms of character development, she occasionally borders on that childlike naivety. Clementine has been humanised, which undoubtedly makes her a more likeable character. Season Two’s soundtrack is the most redeeming feature, consisting of slow and sombre acoustic tones.
Season Two has improved on the most basic aspects of Season One. Instead of mashing buttons, you embark on a scramble to survive, with a generous choice of objects to select nearby. Season Two is an enhancement of Season One, with more interactive aspects including increased free roam. Drawing from the ethos of Season One, there’s a ‘who lives and who dies’ mentality and once completed, episodes are separated chapter by chapter to revisit. There are five possible endings to Season Two dependent on choice, which becomes more obvious the second time around. Negatives include a severe lack of puzzle solving, with various ‘fetch quests’ that aim to add fluidity to gameplay. I would also say that there are a lack of likeable characters compared to Season One. Despite this, The Walking Dead Game still manages to maintain that addictive quality that you just can’t shake.
PREDICTIONS FOR SEASON THREE
Season Three of The Walking Dead is currently in production.
There are still a lot of questions left unanswered, with Clementine on the hunt for Christa following their hasty separation at the beginning of Season Two. We’re also not entirely sure what happened to Christa’s baby following the death of Omid in Episode One. It’s certainly convenient that Clementine survives with Alvin Jr, suggesting she reunites with Christa in Season Three, who perhaps takes Alvin Jr in as her own. Tailored to my particular ending – which saw Clementine and Kenny turned away from Wellington – I think Season Three will open here without Kenny, where Clementine is either left to fend for herself or has been reunited with Christa via some future released DLC. There have been suggestions of gameplay through a newly introduced character. I don’t think so. Clementine has almost become an icon of The Walking Dead, where I agree that she will progressively age over the seasons until her emotional death in the final episode, therefore concluding TellTale’s The Walking Dead series.
*Keep up to date with the E3 Conference, which is scheduled to take place from June 14-16, 2015.
Game played on Xbox One. *400 Days DLC Coming Soon