Customer Review

3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sprints as a story and limps as a game, December 3, 2012
This review is from: The Walking Dead [Online Game Code] (Software Download)
This review is coming from experience in playing all 5 episodes from start to finish in about three days. Though I had previously played episodes 1 and 2, I needed to replay them due to save game issues - more on that later. First things first, the story in this game is bar none the best of any video game I have played and that is saying something. The twists and turns in the plotline and the depth / development of the in - game characters are top notch. Music and sound is used effectively and voice acting is dead on with the characters and never feels hackneyed. The graphic cell shading method incorporated throughout the game works well, is consistent and gives an overall creepy atmosphere for the story to unfold.

Having the opportunity to alter the story is the main premise with the game reminding you every episode that its tailored just to you. However, the player's decisions matter little in the end - leaving you with essentially an online carton you were watching, a really good carton but this really is not a game in any true sense. The mechanics of the game are simply atrocious with almost no combat (what little there is falls short), and you have no route choices - just a 100% straight tromp through the scripted locations. Most of the time you cannot even move in anything other than forward and backwards and often times simply in one direction.

What is worse though is that whenever you have a major decision like who lives and dies or some huge decision on how to survive - the game developers make it not matter in an episode or rarely in two. Choose to save X or Y? Well, the other will die in the next episode anyway so that the developers don't need to alter the story that much - laziness in a grand scale which erodes any sense you are actually altering anything other than trivial dialouge.

The game also throws events at you such as one of your group not trying to save you at key points and then never lets you have the option of calling them out - so you end up trying to show your displeasure when you can and that character does not understand why you are angry - shallow realtionships abound throughout the game as you are only given a maximum of four dialouge choices which usually come down to two - agree or disagree. You can also try telling characters your "secret" many times only to have them mention "you should have told me" or "whoa never knew that". This was really problematic between Lee and Clem as it continues to the end of the game - making for some jarring dialouge.

Another issue is with saves, you can only save at random moments in the game - usually occuring right before something bad happens which kind of ruins the surprise when you see that save wheel going - you know things are about to get really bad. I had to replay both episodes one and two because my decisions did not carry through. I then had numerous issues where I needed to exit the game and reload because it was showing the available episiodes as "Coming Soon". I also had a major issue where I actually needed to uninstall and reinstall and another time where I had to manually alter my save files to continue playing. When I Googled these issues - they were all over the place so Telltale games is ignoring the issues without addressing them - frustrating to those of us who encountered difficulties.

Your dialouge decision run out of time so if you get distracted the game will take either the first option or have Lee remain silent - which can ruin your sense that you decided along those lines. If you want to go back and alter some of your decisions at any point, you can rewind to set points, but only once you have finished an episode so that you will then need to replay the whole section over. This is aggravating because you cannot fast forward through dialouge at all. The developers surley would have forseen this issue and yet failed to address it.

In the end, you are left with an amazing story and although the ending is not original - you probably will be surprised. As a game though - this is mostly a fail with numerous contradictory story developments and decision impact cut to a nominal amount, you never really feel immersed. If you are a zombie apocalypse fan and a video game enthusiast its not to be missed for the story, just be prepared to play a Choose Your Own Adventure game where the Adventure isn't truly Yours.
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