Walking Dead: Long Road Ahead: Keep coming back

September 13, 2012

My knowledge of The Walking Dead is limited to Telltale’s episodic game series. I know that it also exists as a comic book series and television series, but I have no idea whether the three share anything more than the basic premise that the dead are walking among the living and neither side really wants to hang out with the other. Telltale has done such a fantastic job on the games, however, that I desperately want to read the comic and catch up on the television show. I can only hope that the other media manage to create such strong ties to characters.

Another thing I don’t know about The Walking Dead is whether or not my review of it will really apply to you, because the choices that I made in Episodes 1 and 2 may be wildly different than yours. We could have very few members in common between our two groups, and even though Telltale is regularly evening the scoreboard with big events, I like that my choices from previous installments affect what I’m able to do now. I also like the recap at the beginning of each episode, because my mind is many things, but a steel trap is not one of them. I’ve only got so much room in there, and I remember one or two major choices from the previous episode whereas the recap remembers and reminds me about all of them. I wish with everything I have that more games took this concept and ran with it, and it doesn’t only apply to episodic games; Ubisoft implemented a great version of this in Driver: San Francisco, and Final Fantasy XII constantly reminded me of my next quest objective as well.

Even if I could review the story for you I wouldn’t, because without its story The Walking Dead is nothing special, and I would recommend that nobody play it. With the story, though, I recommend it to everybody regardless of whether they’re fans of the show, fans of adventure games, or just fans of good storytelling. Telltale has taught me that getting attached to characters is dangerous, but I can’t stop doing it. When major plot points come up I still wonder how things would be different if I’d saved Shawn instead of Duck. I’m not even sure that I could have, but the decision weighs on me two episodes later. They were both in danger, and without thinking about it I saved the kid. The series is littered with choices like this, and it makes every player’s journey unique.

I am genuinely sorry that all I can really say is “this game is amazing, and you should play it” without going into details about the story. What I can tell you is that I care more about what happens to little Clementine than any person who realizes she doesn’t really exist should. The story tugs and tugs and tugs at you, and regardless of what else I’m playing, I return to The Walking Dead as soon as Steam finishes downloading the newest installment.

Pros: Gripping story, well-written characters, episodes released regularly
Cons: Individual episodes are fairly short and leave me wanting more right away

Score: 5/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.