When producing the Play That Game list I have tried to ensure that this particular entry on the list is reserved for ranking of only the first season of Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead. So, for my blog, I have played through the first season of this episodic adventure game.
The Walking Dead for two reasons: my extreme jumpiness at survival horror games and my weird phobia of zombies. Having this be described as a graphic adventure-survival horror game made me think that this would be a game that would keep making me jump, but I don’t think that I jumped once – mainly because jump scares is not what this game is about.
This game is really more about presenting a character driven narrative with quick time events, some puzzles and interesting choice-based mechanics. The zombies and the imminent threat of attack is important to this game, because that’s the world, but it’s how this game deals with the psychology and inter-personal relationships that made me keep playing this. I also enjoyed the graphic novel style graphics, which have inspired some great feats of cosplay.
For The Walking Dead you take on the role of Lee as he tries to survive in the brave new world of zombie attacks and act as guardian to 8-year-old Clementine. Over the course of the game you team up with other survivors (including, at one point, Glenn from the comics/TV series) as you try to find a way to escape from this hell that you find yourself in.
What’s truly excellent is how so many of your decisions have an impact. Things from the first episode can influence the final actions of your character in the final episode. Characters remember your dialogue choices and it will change how certain scenarios play out down the line. Of course some things (like deaths) are unavoidable, but such is life.
The incredibly well done thing about this game is how much you end up caring for these characters. Lee, Clementine, Christa, Omid and Molly are all complex and well realised people who you want to see survive this ordeal. Kenny is also a good character, but there are times you want to shake him.
The Walking Dead really is a game worth recommending. Even if you have not read the comic or are not a fan of the TV show, it has a lot to offer a gamer who loves a good story.