Video Games: The Walking Dead Review (or ‘More Of An Interactive Story Than A Game’)

Seeing as I started watching The Walking Dead TV show, I thought I’d give the game a shot.

What’s It About?

From Telltale games – the makers of titles like Back to the Future and Sam & Max – it’s an episodic game based on the Walking Dead franchise, but crucially, separate from the characters of the TV show and comic.

You control Lee Everett, a man being driven to prison on murder charges when the Zombie breakout occurs.

Over the course of five episodes, Lee must guide a group of survivors – including a young girl who has lost her parents that he’s looking after – to some form of safety.

Thoughts – More of An Interactive Story Than A Game

The thing about the Walking Dead is that it’s more of an interactive story than a game. While you control Lee and have plenty of options in the conversations you have with the people around you, it ultimately doesn’t make too much difference to the story.

No matter what you do, and no matter who you take along for the ride based upon your choices, the end result is essentially the same.

On a similar note, the game itself is not particularly challenging. It’s not the sort of game that requires skill; instead it’s more that you’re guiding Lee through a determined narrative.

But then that’s not a bad thing; it’s just that it’s different.

Proper story-telling is not something that games do well, and as you progress through the game you get into the story in the same way as you would a TV show or a film. You get attached to some of the characters and feel a certain level of disappointment when one of them dies; certainly more than you’d get if Mario fell off a cliff and you had to go back to the start of the level.

I’ve read some softies say they cried at certain points in the game – especially towards the end of the final episode – but I wouldn’t go that far.

Each to their own though.

Controls and Feel

As a game, it’s easy enough to play. You walk around with the left stick and you perform tasks and options with the A, B, X and Y buttons.

Simple.

It looks good too, with a nice form of cel-shaded animation used to give it a stand-out appearance.the-walking-dead-screenshot-2

And similarly, the voice artistry is also of a high standard.

The only issue with the gameplay I would say is that from time to time it’s difficult to get Lee to move in the direction you want him to go in.

Plot Issues & Spoilers

While the plot of this game is engrossing and easy to follow, I would say that the issue I raised earlier is pretty crucial to my enjoyment of the whole thing.

If the choices I make as Lee don’t really make any difference, what’s the point?

Here’s some examples for you…

  • In the first episode you have to choose between two characters to save. Which one you choose to save should make a difference to the overall storyline, but it doesn’t. No matter who you save, they still end up with the fate at the same point in the storyline.
  • In another episode you have to choose between leaving someone behind or taking them with you in a truck. If you leave them behind, that’s it, but if you take them with you, they just leave you when you reach your destination anyway, so it didn’t make the slightest bit of difference to the plot.

Compare that with some of the games with flexible storylines like Fahrenheit and Heavy Rain – both of which have come under criticism for not being flexible enough – and they don’t really compare.

The only differences your choices actually make are in terms of how the other characters feel about you personally and what sort of mood they are in with you.

Also, you are given a comparison chart at the end of each episode that tells you how many other players made the same choices you did.

That’s not really enough for me, and though I enjoyed it, I felt as though I was going through the motions as things developed.

As for spoilers? Well I played this game just after I started watching the TV series, and I was a bit dismayed to find that a throwaway line in Episode 2 is the basis for the season ending cliffhanger to the second season of the TV series.

That’s not so much a problem with the game, but if you want to enjoy the TV series more, play this after you’ve at least watches the first two seasons of it.

One spoiler issue that is a problem with the game though is the image shown as the ‘cover’ for the final episode, which basically gives away the ending. I thought that was a serious let-down and ruined the story as whole. It’d be like the trailer for a film giving away the big twist at the end.

Should You Buy The Walking Dead?

Well I did enjoy it, but it has absolutely no replay value.

Overall, it’s going to cost you around £20 for all five episodes, which isn’t too bad, but don’t bother with it if you are expecting a game in the traditional sense.

However, if you’re a fan of the Walking Dead or just want a decent story in a game, it is worth your while.

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4 Responses to Video Games: The Walking Dead Review (or ‘More Of An Interactive Story Than A Game’)

  1. […] 12 Underrated/Under-Appreciated Games You Need To Play – Part One 12 Underrated/Under-Appreciated Games You Need To Play – Part Two Denki Word Quest Dirt 3 Geometry Wars Hidden In Plain Sight Ms ‘Splosion Man N+ Quarrel Super Tank Run The Walking Dead […]

  2. […] can read my in-depth thoughts on it here but to sum it up, I would say that it was well told and highly involving, but more of an […]

  3. themaypole says:

    I’ve been reading your Doctor Who reviews for the past week, doctors nine-eleven the one eight, currently halfway through Tom Baker’s, great job btw, you’re a very engaging reviewer and I’ve laughed a lot. I did have to take issue with your no replayability verdict for TWDG however, as a big fan of it I’ve played it through nearly ten times. Silent playthroughs are funnily awkward.

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