I've been playing TellTale Games' games for a few years and have consistently enjoyed the gameplay and charm locked away in each release. I'll be honest, the novelty for their games is the developers and not necessarily the IPs they are based upon. I've played the Strongbad game, Poker Night and Poker Night 2, Jurassic Park, Back to the Future and now of course The Walking Dead. As neither a viewer of the show nor a reader of the comic, I must say I absolutely loved this game.
The gameplay is nothing short of superb. The game simplifies the point-and-click mechanics for slower portions of the game and applies a variety of other different mechanics such as appropriately timed quick-time-events (yeah, I know most people hate them but they actually work pretty well here... Capcom should take notes), aim-and-fire moments and brief "first person shooter" style incidents. All of these fit into the situations and how the characters deal with them, keeping the action tense and the player on their toes.
The graphics are decent. They won't "WOW" anyone looking for the next Battlefield installment, but the art style is an interestingly cartoony and comic-book-esque style that brings the game closer to its comic book roots. The characters are significantly expressive and the blood and gore blend surprisingly well. The score and voice acting will also not hamper the experience at all.
The writing is brilliant, even by Telltale standards, and the characters make amazing and dynamic changes constantly. Your decisions affect each and every one of them so you want to make them carefully. However the game has other plans and very dire decisions are forced upon you in mere seconds. Every single choice you make, or dialogue you speak, can potentially alter the course of the entire story. It's nothing short of incredible.
Disappointing is not a word that comes up often when describing this game, but certain disappointing aspects need to be addressed. The game is glitchy. VERY glitchy, particularly in the middle episodes. I've experienced strange lag spikes before and after choices, during cutscenes and shifts to gameplay. I was perplexed due to having read quite a few high scores for this game that had not really mentioned these glitches. There was also several issues with the audio in the game. Some character dialogue would loop sporadically or cut out altogether.
Furthermore the story is hampered by an ending that essentially forces you to buy the 400 Days DLC in order to see to what your choices ultimately wound up amounting. It's ambiguous in nature, with choices seemingly made at the very end that would otherwise not make any impact on the characters or the situation for the end of the game.
Other than that, the game is solid and an absolute joy for anyone who likes zombies, The Walking Dead or even just games with compelling stories. Pick it up if you have not already.
Edit: Just to give some context to the headline for the review, the ending, while unsatisfying, is extremely gripping and emotional. Don't go into this game if you cry easily.
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Before the announcement that a heavily narrative focussed Walking Dead video game was announced in 2012, Telltale games was a development studio that not particularly well known. Despite putting out other similar properties with Back to the Future: The Game and Jurassic Park: The Game, the products were largely met with a very mixed and ultimately tepid response from the public. The rampant acclaim and runaway success reached with The Walking Dead launched the developer into one of the most anticipated and favourable studios out there with one revolutionary product.