As I have mentioned on the Facebook page for The Deadhouse
I have been planning on starting reviews of the critically acclaimed Telltale Games version of The Walking Dead. Since I will be starting with Season Two of the game, I wanted to do a little background for those of you have never had the opportunity to see or hear about Season One of the game.
First off, my reviews will be based on the Xbox 360 version of the game, just to get that out of the way. Way back in April of 2012, Telltale Games shocked the world by releasing the first episode of the game. They had done some prior “point and click” style games in the past, none of which had broken the mold or received huge praise. But immediately a buzz began around this game. Much of that can obviously be attributed to being based on one of the most popular comic books and television series in recent memory, but something was different. Unlike the first person shooter style game released in 2012, called Walking Dead: Survival Instinct which was a bland and boring game, this appeared to be more than a game. They were telling a story that people were becoming emotionally invested in, something very rarely seen in the video game industry.
Given that the episodes were released sometimes a month or two apart, it allowed the gamers to really relish the story and think about the choices they make. And therein lies the rub, the choices. With the episodic format, every choice you make changes the way future episodes were to be played, and the consequences could be dire. If you chose to help one of the people in your group over another, some of the people in your group would hold resentment to you, and these choices could come back to haunt you at a later point. Many games have tried playing on the idea of your choices having consequences and changing the gameplay, such as the phenomenal Fallout, Fable and Mass Effect series of games, but never before had these choices seemed so important.
Let me divulge a bit of the story for you. You play as an adult named Lee Everett who comes across an eight year old girl named Clementine who has been abandoned due to the zombie apocalypse. Lee has a dark past but nevertheless becomes a father figure to Clementine, doing whatever it takes to keep her safe during their travels. You join up with a group along the way, where some people make it and some do not, with others coming in to replace the fallen as the game progresses. You truly do become emotionally attached to some of the characters, but none more than Lee and Clementine. The main plot of the game is the group attempting to make their way to Savannah in hopes of finding Clementine’s parents, but are met with many obstacles along the way. I don’t want to go into the story too much as this is truly one that needs to be played. Regardless, at the end of the game Lee unfortunately does get bitten, and the choice of what to do falls into the hands of young Clementine. This leads us off into Season Two, which was released late in 2013 with episodes still forthcoming, where Clementine has taken the role of the main protagonist and playable character.
Due to the choices made, the game ends each episode by allowing you to see a list of the integral choices that you as the player have made, along with how other gamers worldwide made their choices. This allows you some perspective on how other gamers are progressing through the world.
Given that each episode only costs $5, with the option of a discounted season pass depending on your platform, it is an affordable choice for any horror gaming fan, and while I can’t speak for other platforms, I can say that the Xbox 360 version is always being discounted just to allow people to experience the game. In fact, with Season Two I was able to purchase the first episode for only $1, and the season pass for the remaining episodes at half price. While it is normally $20 for the full season when all is said and done, getting the full package for under $10 is something that is mindblowing.
Stay tuned as I will be reviewing each episode in order of Season Two. I have not decided on a dedicated timeframe as of yet, as Episode 4 (of a planned 5) was just released today, so I don’t necessarily want to hammer them all out right away leaving a huge gap before the fifth episode becomes available, but I can assure you that the first episode will be up either later this week or early next week.
Until then, Long Live The Horror!