Friday, August 2, 2013

The Walking Dead: Season 1

The Walking Dead: Season 1 is a graphic adventure based on Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead comic book series. Developed by Telltale Games, the game was originally released online part by part (known as episodes) in 2012, but I got the full game released as The Walking Dead: Season 1.

A graphic adventure game, The Walking Dead: Season 1 is the story of Lee Everett, a convicted murderer who was on his way to prison when the zombie apocalypse hits the world. The game takes places around the time as the comic and you do come across certain characters from the comic.

However it is wrong to even think of it as a rip-off of the comic. The Walking Dead: Season 1 has its own story and it is a very well-written one. This is arguably the best written game I had ever played and if you play finish the game and don’t feel anything for characters like Clementine (a young girl in the game), then I dare say there’s something seriously wrong with you.

Unlike many graphic adventure games, The Walking Dead: Season 1 put the emphasis on story and character development instead of puzzle solving and the end result is amazing. I was especially impressed with the way the story interwove with the gameplay. As Lee, you get to decide what to do and how to interact with your follow survivors. This might sound like standard stuff, but it is the integration of story and gameplay that make this game stands out. The story is affected both by the dialogue choices and the actions you choose. During some quick time events for example, certain characters will be killed by your actions and you need to choose who to save. Non-actions will result in an even worse fate for the characters. (What can I say, I was curious)  

Something I also like was the way Telltale track the choices made by the player. At the end of each episode, the game will show you the choices you made in the episode and the percentage of players worldwide who did the same thing you did. It doesn’t affect the game at all but it was fun knowledge.

Of course the game wasn’t perfect. The game has some small shooting and fighting sections in it, and I found these to be less than engrossing. Also the story might not be for everyone. The story is good but it is also a tragedy (this is The Walking Dead after all), and that might not be for everyone.

However these are but minor points for me. The Walking Dead: Season 1 has been critically acclaimed, winning gaming awards left, right and center. After playing the game, I have to agree with them. It might be the best game ever made, but it could have the best story ever written for a game. For that, The Walking Dead: Season 1 is certainly worth a play.

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