Review by DandyQuackShot
"...You Ruined That Dude's Face."
Why download all the episodes? Just buy the whole game! Telltale's The Walking Dead is one of the best games you will play that involves complex character relationships and dealing with the emotional stress of keeping your small band of Georgia survivors alive and sane while you struggle to fend off zombies and crazy people in Robert Kirkman's hopeless world of the walking dead. The Walking Dead game is based off of the original comic book and that is what makes the game very unique with an all new story line mixed in with a few familiar faces from the comic book. Being a fan of the AMC television series, I gave the first episode a go when it was first released on Xbox Live Arcade and totally enjoyed it. But instead of downloading each episode I decided to wait on the entire game to come out just because getting caught up in a series like this makes the wait harder (come on rest of Season 3!).
All five episodes last about two to three hours and the majority of your time will be spent in dialogue with other characters with plenty of brief moments of sheer terror and quick choices to either make or break your struggle to survive. And you begin this game as a very interesting character in Lee Everett. When the outbreak event occurs, you find Lee on his way out to federal prison from Atlanta having a conversation with an old policeman about his recent past. Lee's got quite the past and as he seeks out help he runs across a little girl named Clementine and the focus of the entire game centers on keeping Clementine alive and safe until Lee can help her find her parents in Savannah. From Episode 1 to Episode 5 you will be hooked from start to finish on the game's story. There are some very raw moments in the game that will have you cringing and for the sensitive types-putting you in tears as the story's twists and turns take dramatic steps toward a conclusion that is very memorable but lacking on multiple endings.
If you have a played a Telltale game before you will notice the game play isn't much different with Jurassic Park The Game being the only recent Telltale game that comes to mind. You will search for items in scenes and hit conversation options during dialogue situations as well as have to make rapidly tap buttons at times when the going gets tough. There are plenty of situations where Lee will have to beat a walker off of him and if you miss hitting the zombie on the head then you get to watch the various ways that Lee can get eaten alive. If you are looking for better zombie killing action there are plenty of other games out there but The Walking Dead keeps the focus on the characters and the constant challenges they face. You get to learn how to start a train on this game as part of a later episode as well as discover more of what happened in the Walking Dead world by exploring Savannah and the dark world of Crawford.
My favorite characters in this game were Lee and Omid, and Clementine to some degree. You do run into Glen and Hershel from the original series in the first episode which is cool. Lee becomes a very likeable character no matter what decisions you make him decide. His chance for redemption of his former life before the outbreak is found in keeping Clementine safe and he quickly learns that taking care of her will mean much more than simply keeping her out of harm's way. Omid comes along later in the game but is the comic relief of the game. He and Lee are voiced by two very good voice actors in Dave Fennoy (Lee) and Owen Thomas (Omid). Other notable characters are Kenny and Carley. Then there were my least favorite characters in Duck (who looks exactly like Sid from Toy Story) and Lilly's dad.
The replay value of the game really suffers though from lack of multiple story endings. However you play and whatever choices you make, you end up with the Mass Effect 3 effect. Inevitability does not invite another play through and of course the achievements are all story completion based so you won't have to play back through to pick any up. With just slight variations in the characters you decide to keep alive you still end up with the same ending. I think there will definitely be a sequel to this game and maybe it won't take the same route as the first. This game features a review of the decisions you make compared to what all other players of the game made. I fell into the majority of most decisions that other players made. As tough as this game gets, perhaps incorporation of a larger cast of characters would be helpful as your group is rather small.
Final Recommendation 9/10
The Walking Dead game is definitely a new kind of gaming experience. Blending the simple game play features with the raw emotion of The Walking Dead series you get a very intense game full of surprises and heart wrenching moments. This game gets you hooked just as easily as it hooked fans of the AMC series. Of course I'm a fan of both. Is there hope in a world where the walking dead mean zombies or those left to survive in a world of zombies? Check this game out if you are big into the series or comic book. But be prepared for an emotional ride.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 01/14/13
Game Release: The Walking Dead: A Telltale Games Series (US, 12/11/12)
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