Top critical review
Nothing groundbreaking as a game in its genre.
on December 6, 2013
I'm not completely unfamiliar with this particular genre of video games, having played my fair share of quirky Japanese dating sims and other story-based, choice-making adventures. The Walking Dead is one of my least favourite games in the genre, but this isn't because the game is poorly-designed. If you're a fan of emotional drama and fixed endings, The Walking Dead is for you. You'll find that your decisions lead to different paths, sure, but they ultimately converge in the end. It's great that it means there isn't anything like making a 'wrong' choice here, since you'll end up in the same place in the end.
I despised the level of emotional drama in this game. I've always felt The Walking Dead, as a television series, fixated more on the relationships of survivors rather than the sci-fi aspect of zombies, and the game is true to this as well. There's a lot of bickering and tough choices to make, but it seemed like tension was around every corner in the game - good for bewitched game players, not so believable for the average skeptic. The conflicts felt forced and orchestrated, and often I felt that the tension didn't even have to exist in the first place. I do believe the developers wanted players to make tough decisions, but this wasn't the case for me in my playthrough, as I felt that the whole situation had degenerated into needless, faked emotional drama rather than a story about the difficulties of surviving in an undead, chaotic world.
The strengths of the game lie in the dialogue, which lend better dimension to the characters. None of the NPCs came across as stock characters to me, and this was refreshing. Many will find themselves rooting for Clementine as a strong, growing survivor. The mechanics of the game are simple too, and don't require much improvement.
Overall, The Walking Dead just isn't for me, but will probably be a favourite of those who delight in melodrama.