I have never played anything by Telltale Games. Having to pay per episode really…really…really turns me off. Buying episodic games is like buying an EA game before the inevitable DLC (a.k.a. full game) bundle comes out next year for the same price. I have refused to dip my toe into those impure waters.
Then, in the month of November, PS+ decided that Season 2 of The Walking Dead would be free. Season 1 was also placed on discount…I see you Sony…I see what you did there, you cheeky turds.
Thankfully my back pocket is stitched together with a will of iron. Instead of succumbing to the temptation…I began Season 2, allowing choices from the first season to be generated.
It’s a zombie world. Let’s be honest, the media is vomiting zombies at the moment. Better yet, it is spewing zombies from every known orifice and possibly some unknown as well. Now, I love me some zombies, don’t get me wrong…but there’s only so much love this lover can give. I have become very protective of my zombie love and give it only to those zombies who prove they are able to satisfy.
But thankfully, The Walking Dead has more than just zombies. It has characters that grow and develop. It has relationships that change over the course of the game (how much you can influence this is debatable, but I’ll get to that in Gameplay). Most importantly, it has a main character that I want to play as. Without Clem, this game fails. She is young enough to give the group drama a different dynamic from typical dreary post-apocalyptic stories, and old enough that choices have a moral weight she can comprehend.
Zombies and all that good stuff are just the backdrop to tell a coming of age story. That is what sets The Walking Dead apart. The story is the focus, not the zombies. Zombies are just an excuse to put a young girl in intense situations at an intriguing age. The story is so good and characters so well created that my wife fell apart crying at the end. This caused a chain reaction that resulted in my eyes watering…slightly, of course.
Many feels were had that evening.
This is basically a point and click game for consoles that also allows you to walk within a restricted area at a few locations. The majority of your time will be spent deciding what to say during conversations. And this is the real horror of this video game…conversation choices are timed. This resulted in my blood pressure increasing by 10 mmHg, shortening my life span by 1.75 years. I understand the need for this, especially during big decisions that would only give you a few seconds in real life. It makes you panic in the moment as you rapidly weigh your options.
It stressed my balls off…until…
Do I feed the dog or stuff my face in front of it like the greedy piglet I truly am? Who gives a crap? The same thing will happen. I discovered this because I fully intended to feed the dog, but time runs out quickly on that choice. I watched in horror as what I assumed was a result of my total-full-dick-move unfolded before my eyes. My wife looked at me with shock and disgust written on her eyeballs. I loaded my previous save, scavenged the camp, smacked around the zombie again and finally got back to this scene, ready to have a puppy companion for the remainder of the game…however, I saw essentially the same scene over again…Clem avoids becoming puppy chow. This completely destroyed any feelings of choice I had.
Save the baby? Run for cover? If the baby is supposed to die it’ll die…run for cover. Because there isn’t much else in the way of gameplay, I must admit that I was disappointed in the effects my choices had. I assumed that since this game’s only real draw is story and choice, every choice you made would lead somewhere different. Instead, it is simply a character development tool. You can use choices to develop characters in ways you want, but ultimately you will see a very similar…very good story, until you reach the end.
Had this game given more paths to blunder down, the replay value would have been phenomenal. As it stands, the choices, their impact, and the effect you have in the game is similar–if not less–than many other RPGs that offer oodles more in their respective gameplay. The first playthrough is great, but then you might as well just watch the other endings on YouTube. Otherwise you’ll have to sit through essentially the same story again, without other gameplay to keep you occupied, before seeing the other endings. I am not patient enough for that nonsense.
For free, there is no question…download and enjoy it. Get some zombie love. The story is worth your time. If you are reading this after November, which you probably will since November is almost over, the game is $25. There is no way I could recommend spending that amount of money on this game. That gets you halfway to a full game and is more than you need for many PSN games. Because it is released in episodes, the 5 bucks might not seem like much, but it adds up. It adds to $10 more than the typical PSN game price of $15.
If you can’t get it for free or dirt cheap, do yourself a favor and find a “let’s play” on YouTube. Although the choices might not be exactly what you would want, the scenes will ultimately play out the same. Then watch all the different endings and you are done for free. You aren’t missing much in the way of gameplay and you can use the money to get another game with more variety to offer. Even at $15 I would have a hard time recommending it over the likes of Child of Light. Should it ever drop below $10 for a season, I could understand buying it, however, I did not buy season 1 while it was $8, even after I enjoyed season 2. I saw no point, as I could just watch YouTube to see what had happened to reach season 2.