REVIEW: The Walking Dead

Despite the boring first episode, the game turns out to be an enjoyable one. I was always waiting for what happens next.

Released: Steam
Type: Single-player
Genre: Adventure
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Skybound Games
Release date: 25 Apr, 2012

Intro

The Walking Dead is an adventure game from Telltale Games that happens in the same universe as the TV show and comic with the same name. To be honest, this is my second Telltale game after The Wolf Among Us, and I had no clue about The Walking Dead at all except for its name and the zombie theme.

Graphics

The game uses 3D models with a lot of attention to detail. Both facial expressions and mouth move based on what the characters are feeling and saying. Minor details such as blood splatters and wounds also leave marks on the characters for the whole episode. The game seems to combine this style with the clothing style in The Wolf Among Us – clothing folds are made visible by black strokes, similar to 2D drawings.

Backgrounds look beautiful from afar despite some weirdness – static objects such as bushes and tree leaves don’t look natural while some animations look a bit stiff. It might be because I was playing the game on the minimum setting though since I couldn’t stand playing it on the maximum setting with my laptop’s screeching noise.

Backgrounds are breathtaking, despite the weird tree leaves.

Story

To be honest, the story was boring at first. Everything starts very slowly and I was hoping that the episode will be over quickly. There’s nothing that keeps me engaged and everyone feels clueless on what to do. The start of the second episode also makes me feels like I was missing something out since they decided to introduce a new character off-screen. Everything soon changes after the story progressed a bit more. You’ll be in for a roller coaster of emotions – the disgust, the surprise, the sadness – it keeps on changing. I was always waiting for what happens next.

Just like other Telltale games, you’re allowed to play the game however you want. You control Lee Everett, and everything that he says or does is up to you. Your decisions will change the story slightly although you’ll soon be disappointed with the outcome – it will be the same no matter what you do, except for some scenes that were intended to be different. It’s understandable though; it’ll be hard to make a story that diverges greatly throughout the game. However, when you’re playing a game that offers different choices in a zombie apocalypse like this, having no power to change the outcome of your actions greatly affects your experience.

The Game

Gameplay

You’ll mostly watch how the game plays out and give input whenever the game asks you to. There will be 2-4 options that you can choose and you must choose your answer within the time limit. You can also choose not to say anything – silence is a valid option. Sometimes, the game will also switch to either an action scene or free roam mode where you can talk to everyone in your group.

You are free to choose whichever response you want to say.

Action Scenes

Just like other zombie games, there will be a lot of fights involved, whether it’s fighting zombies or other survivors. You’ll mostly have to shoot some enemies or spam a certain button to finish the scene. However, the latter one requires you to press the same buttons every time, making the scene to be repetitive. Both actions can result in a game over screen and you’ll have to repeat the scene if you fail.

Free Roam

Sometimes, the game will let you roam around the area, giving you a chance to talk and bond with other people. You can skip them if you want, but doing so might affect their actions toward you later on. You also can pick up some objects and use them with other objects, point-and-click style. However, the game was a bit vague on the control – it took me a while before I understand the mechanic, even with a tutorial at the beginning of the game.

It took me a while to understand how to choose the second and third action.

Length and Replayability

Excluding the DLC episode, there are 5 episodes in total where each episode takes ~2h to finish. I finished the main story in 11.7h without playing the DLC, which I’ll cover in another review later. Another playthrough is needed to watch some scenes that are slightly different based on your choice, but since you’ll mostly have to deal with the same dialogue that can’t be skipped, I would recommend you to watch them from youtube videos instead.

Problems

You can’t skip any dialogues when you’re talking to someone or inspecting an object several times. The game also has no dictionary feature to revisit all characters’ information – it was hard to remember who was who on the first two episodes, especially with the game giving a lot of names for you to remember.

Specs

Intel Core i5-9300H 2.40GHz, 8GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650

Verdict

Despite the boring first episode, the game turns out to be an enjoyable one. It keeps you engaged by giving more conflicts and emotional scenes one after another – everything flows smoothly no matter which dialogue that you choose to say. I could resonate with the characters, even the bad guys. Most choices will lead you to the same result, but the story doesn’t feel inferior with it anyway, and the ending is superb. You’ll want to play this game if you like to watch zombie-themed movies.

Written by
aquatorrent
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