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Waking Dead Blog: Introduction

This blog will be a kind of mini-walkthrough/review, I'll start this post by giving an introduction to the walking dead series, and aspects of the game, so in my other blog posts, I can get straight to the action.

I've always been a fan of Zombie games, however you tend to find that they're mainly first person shooters (the Left 4 Dead series for example). I'm a big fan of the TV series the Walking Dead and one day hope to delve into the comics.

Originally, when I saw the Walking Dead game from Telltale Games, who have done titles such as Sam & Max, although I was a little apprehensive due to how delayed the second episode was, with Telltale not really being very forthcoming with updates on the progress of the episode. However when Episode 2 finally launched, I decided to buy it, as I just couldn't resist, thankfully since then Telltale had sorted themselves out, and the future episode releases  went rather quickly without much delay (However, that may have compromised the "choice" aspect of the game).

The game is very much story driven, mainly through dialogue and actions, very similar to other Telltale games (The recent Monkey Island for example) and thus a lot of emphasis is put on the dialogue. It's more akin to watching an interactive TV series, however it's very, very good, it lets you become immersed into the game with character development that really makes you feel for the characters as you're thrown into horrific situations with them.

Having played my way through twice, I've decided to do a short blog on my opinions and to give a mini review/walkthrough on an episode basis. I'll be discussing how the choices you've made in prior episodes have, or haven't made an impact, how I feel the plot is progressing and generally just how I feel about the game on an episode by episode basis.

Now, before I start, don't get me wrong, I absolutely love the game, I've put 36 hours into it, but the game does rub me up the wrong way sometimes. There are some situations that I ultimately felt that my options didn't make much of an impact or as much as I had hoped. Or the selected dialogue didn't come out anywhere near as it would lead you to believe (Take Mass Effects dialogue, you pick an option, but the actual dialogue coming out only resembles your meaning. However in The Walking Dead I found the choices to be misleading). For example, there'd be a situation I'm trying to come across as a nice guy, and based on the options, seemed to be the right one, however when Lee has spoken, the words coming out don't resemble what I wanted to say at all.

There are other situations in the dialogue where I'll be asked a question, which has a factual answer, however I don't know the factual answer due to a lack of information (Which results in me lying) there's also a few frustrating incidents where the option to tell the truth simply doesn't exist, which can lead other characters to get annoyed at me in later sequences. While these issues do affect the core game play mechanic, it isn't game breaking and it certainly doesn't detract from the overall enjoyment you'll get from the game. Had Telltale made sure such incidents never occurred, we'd likely still be waiting on Episode 3.

For those of you who haven't played the game or haven't seen any game play at all, you might be wondering how the game plays out when you're defending yourself in a situation against zombies for example. In The Walking Dead it's very much a quick time event game. A lot of tapping Q and then a quick E. I've recently played Heavy Rain and I was quite surprised at how well the quick time events worked in that game, however, with the selectable difficulty setting, I found something's to be rather hard and the game punished me for that, which I thought was absolutely brilliant. Walking Dead’s quick time events aren't anywhere near as hard unfortunately. There might be the odd situation where you've missed a click and you'll end up dead, but ultimately it isn't very hard.

Now I'll just give a quick overview about the characters etc. In this game you play as Lee Everett and the first time you'll lay eyes on "you" isn't exactly in the most flattering of situations, however, in hindsight it does set a general vibe for the game and has the player engaged from the start. In the game you'll meet a variety of characters, with varying roles within the game, you may not always agree with the characters. However you'll be stuck with them all the same. In some ways, I'd say the choices you make are more to the benefit to yourself, as a lot of the choices are moral choices and how you as a person would choose to react in that situation (Do you think you'd be a good guy, or do you think you'll be a bad guy?) Similar to an RPG for example where you've got say a "light side" choice or a "dark side" choice, while the choice may not change the game, it does give a more personal touch to the story.

With this game being set in the "Walking Dead" universe, there's some crossover, however it's not nearly the same as the comic and the TV series, there’s a few original characters, and those which are from the comic don't have quite the same roles or experiences as they do in the comic, however I won't go into detail, as that'll be coming in the next blog posts.

Going back to a prior point I made about general vibe of the game. In the first 5 or so minutes of the game you'll be introduced to arguably the second main character; Clementine. It'll be your duty to protect Clementine and to ensure she's safe in this "new world". Lee's story throughout the 5 episodes can be seen as a story of atonement and redemption and it's through Clementine he's able to find peace with himself.

Speaking more on the technical side, the graphic style in this game looks more like a cardboard cut out for the background. The character models show a little more detail, but aren't near the quality of the games you tend to see, however given the style of game, with the colour palette, it all looks like it fits quite well, and I must say that is looks quite good too, this also allows it to scale well on a multitude of different hardware. My girlfriend for example is currently playing the Walking Dead at native resolution on my Asus Vivobook, the FPS may dip occasionally, but given the slow pace of the game, works perfectly well. There's also an IOS port of the game. I'm slightly disappointed that there isn't an Android port of the game, I'd love to play this game on my Xperia Play for example, or my Nexus 7.

I'll end this blog post with a quick teaser image.