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Customer Review

23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Choose your own adventure -- sort of., December 23, 2012
This review is from: The Walking Dead [Online Game Code] (Software Download)
Do you like bleak and terrible scenarios where s*** gets real on a regular basis? Do you enjoy moral quandaries where a common theme leads to inevitable mistakes that, while making you sympathetic to the characters, still piss you off when everything goes to hell? The Walking Dead is like Grey's Anatomy for boys: sans romance, add zombies, but still frustrating, depressing, random, gory, exciting, and with well written characters (for the most part.)

If you're expecting a shoot-em-up style game then this isn't for you. It's basically an animated Choose Your Own Adventure, and yes, just like a CYOA, you get railroaded into certain outcomes (which really sucks.) But more about that later.

First, the pros.

The writing is not bad, but it is very bleak. Don't get attached to the people you meet, they're most likely not going to make it--this is the zombie apocalypse, after all. I appreciated that characters are not simply written as good or bad people. Quite often, people you hate will redeem themselves and I was almost always sympathetic to their objectionable actions (didn't stop me from killing them, though.) There are plenty of moral quandaries and I advise you to reflect on them whenever you have a break between calamities because, in the heat of the moment, you will likely be forced to make life or death decisions based on their actions.

You can influence what people choose to an extent, but their choices are largely driven by their personalities. It is very important that you remember their individual quirks because they will come back to haunt you again and again. With some I found it irritating, because you feel like just when you've settled a matter it comes back up like last night's taco dinner, but you have to remember their priorities are not your own, except in a very general sense (survival.) In this way, people who are alone are the most agreeable. I think this is very realistic.

That doesn't mean people can't waver or won't overcome their (sometimes significant) personality flaws. Like I said, almost all choices by the characters are sympathetic, including your own, which makes it interesting.

Now the cons.

Despite having such a complex and intriguing cast and dialog options, some outcomes are set in stone. This completely blows! When you agonize over all your choices and the consequences are so dire, you really don't want to find out after the fact that it doesn't really matter. I restarted some chapters 3 or 4 times to try to save certain people or build different relationships only to change nothing. There is no re-playability in this game.

There are also some internal rules to this universe that never seem to change. I can't really explain without spoilers, but the game will urge you into certain actions as if they're universally acceptable to all people in all situations. This is stupid. Sometimes, the wrong thing is the right thing, depending on when or the people involved. The other characters seem blind to this fact and act like you've p*ssed in their cereal whenever you violate this absolute. They can be very childlike and irritating in this way. And some characters have some kind of omniscient hindsight into whenever you're lying, even when you're just being ambiguous. Seeing as you start out as a player with a criminal past, I'm not sure what they expect. Should I show off my prison tats before or after we shake and promise not to shoot one another outright?

Some minor issues are the bugs. I saw one of the characters turn invisible for an entire cutscene. Other than that, the gameplay is atrocious, but I think it's intentional. The mouse acceleration is completely bizarre and when you're not fumbling around trying to click on something, you're frantically mashing the Q button. I think this is supposed to engender a feeling of panic within the player, it's clumsy on purpose because you're not a superhero, you're just some dude. Sometimes the camera angles are idiotic as well.

Finally, the combat doesn't always make sense. Sometimes you'll get an aiming receptacle, other times not (also on purpose, but stupidly introduced, I think.) You'll also be goaded into performing useless actions when the game decides to trick you. You'll mash Q only to realize that you can never mash Q enough and so you've got to just let go. Or you'll be lured into punching a zombie when the only way to escape is to NOT punch the zombie. I did not find this aspect fun, but thankfully they don't pull this you often.

Overall, I'd recommend it, on sale, for those who like a story as long as they know that there's only one story to be told here.
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