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The Walking Dead: A Game Like No Other

Dead men walking.

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.

The Walking Dead's wicked debut trailer, which brilliantly shows off the game's unique art style.
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.

There is action, which plays out spectacularly; the gameplay is really quite solid in all of its forms.
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.

  1. colmshan1990
    Since: Apr 2009

    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.

    Comment posted on 23/11/2012 at 09:17.
    • colmshan1990
      Since: Apr 2009

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


      Comment posted on 23/11/2012 at 09:18.
      • avengerrr
        Since: Oct 2012

        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

        Comment posted on 23/11/2012 at 11:19.
  2. Adam Garrett
    Community Manager
    Since: Feb 2009

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

    Comment posted on 23/11/2012 at 09:22.
    • bunimomike
      Since: Jul 2009

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

      Comment posted on 23/11/2012 at 14:32.
  3. brillerment
    Since: Sep 2009

    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.

    Comment posted on 23/11/2012 at 09:36.
    • Dr_mohannad
      Since: Jul 2009

      How it ends…

      Comment posted on 25/11/2012 at 07:20.
  4. element666
    Since: Mar 2012

    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. :-)

    Comment posted on 23/11/2012 at 09:42.
  5. Mundham
    Since: Feb 2011

    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).

    Comment posted on 23/11/2012 at 10:03.
    • Youles
      Since: Feb 2011

      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 :(

      Comment posted on 23/11/2012 at 10:27.
  6. ProjectJAY
    Since: Aug 2009

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

    Comment posted on 23/11/2012 at 10:06.
    • Youles
      Since: Feb 2011

      Not in the slightest! ;)

      Comment posted on 23/11/2012 at 10:27.
    • Mundham
      Since: Feb 2011

      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.

      Comment posted on 23/11/2012 at 12:15.
  7. Nate
    Since: Apr 2010

    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!

    Comment posted on 23/11/2012 at 13:05.
    • Ossy
      Since: Jan 2009

      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.

      Comment posted on 23/11/2012 at 13:36.
  8. Bilbo_bobbins
    Since: Jun 2009

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

    Comment posted on 23/11/2012 at 13:16.
  9. Ossy
    Since: Jan 2009

    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.

    Comment posted on 23/11/2012 at 13:31.
  10. Scotty34
    Since: Apr 2011

    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!

    Comment posted on 23/11/2012 at 14:02.

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