Very few games have such a gripping story, and even fewer make you feel like you are in control of what is going on. Set in the same universe as its source material, the graphic novels by Robert Kirkman, Telltale’s Walking Dead is a phenomenal piece of work, a true masterpiece in storytelling.
Since its initial release in 2012 as a digital title, the game has had a number of re-releases, including being released on mobile platforms, and more recently, was re-released again, this time in a definitive format, for both Xbox One and Playstation 4.
The Walking Dead is divided into five episodes, following the story of protagonist Lee Everett and a young girl, Clementine, and their struggle to survive in the Zombie apocalypse. The first episode, appropriately titled “A New Day”, opens with Lee on his way to a Georgia prison for murder. One car accident later, Lee meets and subsequently saves Clementine. After their initial meeting, Lee and Clem begin their journey together, setting out to find her parents and most of all, survive in the new world.
As Lee and Clem try to keep themselves alive, they come across other survivors trying to do the same thing. These include original characters, such as Kenny and his family and even some faces from the comic series, such as Glenn Rhee. The characters unique to the story are all different, each one being unique, with their own personalities and dealing with their own issues, many of which are relatable. Many of these characters I grew personally attached to and during some of the most desperate moments of the game, I felt as if I was there with them, making the choices and trying to stay alive, rather than just watching it unfold. As a game that is built around narrative and interaction, these characters present an amount of depth that is very rarely seen in games today.
In addition to the main storyline, there is also an additional episode, entitled “400 Days”, that focuses on another group of survivors and their own individual stories. These take place at different times during the zombie apocalypse, leading up to day 400, when each of these survivors are presented with a choice. Your decisions throughout their individual stories will shape how they react when presented with the choice and carry consequences into the future.
Every decision you make in the game has an impact on the narrative. In addition to the effect on the story, your choices also shape how different characters view Lee and what they do in later episodes of the game. Of course, not every decision is the right one; in many cases, there is no clear cut decision and you have to choose between the lesser of two evils. This theme of making the best of a bad situation is one that persists throughout all the episodes of the game. Much of what you do as Lee will have consequences that reach far into the future of the game, stretching even to the DLC episode.
There is not a lot wrong with this game, at all. The narrative, the acting and the sound design are all amazing, creating an intense atmosphere throughout the entire story. Even as a person who loathes QTEs (Quick Time Events), I never got bored while playing. Artistically speaking, it is a beautifully designed piece with its own unique feel. There are minor clipping issues and things that seem mildly out of place, though hilarious, like when Lee is looking at Carly trying to fix the radio. But even with these minor problems, it never detracts from the game.
For casual gamers, and even the hardcore, this game provides an amazing story that is so much more than a story, it is an experience. One that any gamer or any fan of The Walking Dead needs to have.
Review copy provided by Publisher