The Walking Dead: A Game Like No Other – TheSixthAxis

The Walking Dead: A Game Like No Other

I was done with post-apocalyptic Zombie games forever. Zombies have entered interactive entertainment and infected us with a lust for killing these brain-damaged, blood-thirsty foes. We’ve fed them exactly what they wanted: not brains but sales. We’ve been the ones chomping the content up and, until recently, I really didn’t want to play yet another game including these creatures.

And then TellTale got involved. They’ve put out some good content in the past but absolutely nothing had prepared me for just how great their entry into The Walking Dead universe could be.

[videoyoutube]TellTale have managed to create an superb, artistic piece of work here. Following a group of characters (mostly) separate to the television and comic versions, they’ve formed a narrative so brilliant that it could rank up there with the greatest games of all time, and have shaken up zombies as a whole forever.

Yes, there will still be the mindless yet fun Call of Duty Zombies and Left for Dead-a-likes, but hopefully more fantastic tales of an infected, post-apocalyptic future such as this will appear.

Not that the driving force behind the game is the zombies, mind. The Walking Dead is, at its core, a game about connections between a group of people that have banded together to survive a horrible ordeal. The zombies – the Walkers – are just a backdrop, while ultimately the narrative and survival aspects is where the real focus of the game lie.

The story is built in a way that television, books, comics or movies could never achieve. Your choices – from rationing food between the surviving camp members to even making the tough choice of deciding who lives and who dies – change the outcome of the game completely.

You’ll regret the bad choices you’ve made, you’ll reason with yourself that the groups survival – your survival – is more important than being moral and you’ll face an inner turmoil as the clock slowly ticks away for your next choice.

It’s a very real, somber experience and it’s absolutely one that shouldn’t be missed.

Choices are ever present in The Walking Dead, even in dialogue. Lee – the character you control who you’ll come to know and love – often has to be careful with what he says, but you’ll have a few good choices for each situation and words can often save the day rather than actions.

It escalates brilliantly with each of the five two-hour or so long episodes. Tensions mount, the zombies forces grow as more people succumb to the infection and choices become unbearably hard to make. Stress is a very real feeling in this game and it’s anything but lighthearted. For the best experience the game should be played at pace, TellTale’s own almost monthly release schedule over the year cementing that fact.

[drop]I haven’t mentioned how the game plays, but that’s not absolutely necessary – it all works very well, in an almost point-and-click adventure style with a lot more action and a lot less clicking. Problems and puzzles will need to be solved, but it’s really the narrative that’s the true puzzle – deciding what’s best for the group is harder than any locked-door mystery could ever be.

This game connects you and the characters like no other. You are living the zombie apocalypse, not just glimpsing into a world through a screen. Emotions are raw and genuine, choices are brutal and yet necessary, the outcome is heart-wrenching and yet so incredible.

It’s arguable that The Walking Dead hasn’t only forwarded the zombie trope in interactive media, but the medium as a whole. Choices you make have a huge impact – it’s not a matter of gaining XP or being at a certain point on a morality scale but instead a matter of life and death.

Episode 5 released just a few days ago and its title is No Time Left. Unlike the title suggests, there is time; time for Zombies as a whole to evolve, time for more experiences like this, but it’s definitely time for games such as The Walking Dead to be recognised alongside other mediums, where this form of interactive entertainment belongs.

I urge you to play this game from the start and experience Lee and Clementine’s adventure, as it’s without a doubt one of the most rewarding pieces of fiction this year, packed with more emotion than you could imagine.

For all of this, it’s the best game I’ve played all year and, you never know, it just might be yours too.

29 Comments

  1. This has nothing to do with the show or comics?

    I’ll have to give it a go then. Didn’t like the show so I figured I wouldn’t really ‘get’ this game.

    • Should mention that it’s half price on Steam for the next 8 hours 45 minutes or so.

      http://store.steampowered.com/app/207610/

      • yeah I know, I thought to myself I won’t bother, may be half price another day, but after reading this article…. damn you tsa, you might actually be swaying MY opinion on this one lol.

        It just looks so damn good

  2. I havent got around to playing the game yet myself but we do have something community related on the way for the game soon :)

    • We do indeed. Should be “recorded” this weekend. :-)

  3. I’ve played the first 4 episodes, going to play the final one tonight. It’s really a great series. Enjoying it far more than the tv series. What happens in the game is so… “heavy”. It really captures the zombie apocalypse perfectly. And the social group interactions between the NPC’s is great. Really looking forward to seeing how this ends.

  4. Absolutely amazing game and great article, all through the last episode I was on the edge of my seat! One of the most simple yet rewarding games I’ve had the pleasure to play. :-)

  5. Having played 4 1/2 episodes (just got the final hour or so to act out) I must place it as a GOTY contender. Every episode has been a delight, but for me Episode 2 was the most emotionally-impacting diorama since the ending moments of Journey (my other GOTY contender).

    Oh, and for those who lost interest in the TV series, Season 3 has been everything Season 2 was not (i.e. action-packed and interesting).

    • I’m not enjoying season 3 so far – that odd community is a bit pony in my opinion, and the characters there are too cheesey :(

  6. One question: do you have to have watched the TV series/read the comic to enjoy this game?

    • Not in the slightest! ;)

    • Not one bit. All three are completely different. The comic inspired the TV series but the latter has gone off into different tangents. The game is in the same universe but only a couple of the TV characters make brief cameos.

  7. Now the final episode is out I am buying it, but don’t know whether to get it on the PS3 or the iPad. Does anyone have any experience of the iPad version? Having played the demo on the PS3 I think it would be better with a touch screen, and quite like the idea of being able to curl up in bed with it like a good book. If it runs or looks like poop though I’d rather get the PS3!

    • On my iPad 3rd generation the Walking Dead looks great, performance is good and the touch controls work quite well, still really enjoyable on the iPad.

  8. I played the demo and didn’t like it to be honest. Not my kind of thing

  9. I’ve never watched the show or read the comics but the game is fantastic. I completed the final episode on Wednesday and it is up there with my favourite games of the year with Fifa 13, Hitman: Absolution and Dishonored. Half price on Steam as well which is a bargain worth picking up for any gamer who enjoys a good story.

  10. i started the comics before the tv show came out its loved em, but still not managed to finish them due to funds. got the first episode of this game and loved it to the point that ive waited till now and they are all out so i dont have to put up with that anticipation of waiting!

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