| || |
The Walking Dead Season 1 (A Telltale Games adventure, reviewed)
Probably everyone has heard how good The Walking Dead is at some point, given the plentiful accolades it has garnered over the past year, including, most importantly, The Game of Year 2012 distinction. But surely not everyone knows exactly why, if they havenít played it, which is what makes Telltale Gamesí ongoing episodic game the greatest breakout hit in recent times.
If anyone can make an adventure game with this much pull, one has to pay attention. Based on Robert Kirkmanís blistering apocalyptic comic book series, the game has the same moral difficulties and human problems governing almost every major decision you make in the game, that you take to hopefully survive. Much like Garth Ennisí Comic series Preacher did in creating moral sacrilege, The Walking Dead utilizes the push and pull of human circumstances and choices within a dangerous and malignant world.
Telltale games know exactly what they were aiming for by adopting a point and click interface, with a more relaxed approach for the involved action sequences. Every single button clearly indicated on the screen reflects what you will say and do, taking the focus off the interface and knee-deep into the story instead, immersing you in probably the best story experience of the year. After just one episode, anyone who just happened to stumble in will most likely find it tough to stop till the ending credits of the last episode roll. A good 5-hour investment into the game will accomplish that.
But what an intense, exhilarating few hours they will be, placed into the shoes of Lee Everett, a convicted killer before the proverbial apocalyptic incident. Once you meet Clementine, a little girl whose parents went missing (but not hopeless, as one quickly finds out), you get sucked fully into the task of making sure sheís safe. Coupled with a sweet innocent outlook, Clementine, as is obviously purposed by the developers, will tug at your heartstrings to the point of intense emotion and sometimes-irrational concern, right to the climatic ending of the last episode.
No small feat, and a testament to their namesake, Telltale knows how to get the best writers on the job to create twists and tragic turns in the story designed to make the gamer bawl to no easy end. The pacing is rarely arduous, nor is the action unnecessary, and the puzzles placed into the mix are up there with the most inventive. So, if anyone has any doubt about the completeness of quality in The Walking Dead, they will be quickly proven wrong in the most jaw-dropping way. The story in which almost everyone in the cast has to stand at a cruel crossroad between life and death while surrounded by the most horrible beings will be there to hook the skeptics as well, and hook them in viciously good.
Get the game and play it if you have not. I used to think this would be a great adventure game, but screw that; this is just gaming at its heart-tugging best.