The Walking Dead
When you make a video game that's based on a TV show that's based on a comic book that's been around for a decade or more, you have a lot of awesome possibilities for a really cool story. Especially with a series like The Walking Dead, where there are so many awesome characters with cool, fun and devastating storylines to be told. There's so much potential, it's almost impossible to do a bad job.
That's probably why Telltale Games absolutely rocked their own little story for The Walking Dead. One ends up playing as a character who wasn't in the books or show, although they'll see some familiar faces as they journey through the zombie apocalypse to keep the young girl they're protecting safe. Zombies are a pretty big part of nerd culture, and they're here to stay. As long as they don't actually end up taking over and killing us all, I'd say they're pretty cool.
Here are five reasons you should go ahead and enjoy your own zombie apocalypse in the walking dead season one.
#5 - The Art Style
The walking dead season one is a really cool game, visually. it kind of looks like a moving comic. The outlines are thick, and the characters are hyper-realistic. Everything moves flowingly, like a typical video game would, but they don't aim to give it "the best graphics in a video game ever oh my god you'll totally think you're right there getting zombie all over you". The game looks animated, and it's very cool.
The characters are generally plain-looking people, just like in the show. This isn't a game about big-boobed bimbos and overly-handsome heroes. You're just a guy, trying to get by, just like anyone and everyone else would be in the apocalypse. Except Clementine, who's apparently from the fire nation, with her odd yellow-looking eyes…
The Walking Dead features characters that are fairly on-par with the comic, in the looks department, and several who are originals from the game may remind you quite strongly of a couple old friends we've met in other tellings of the Walking Dead tales.
#4 - The Choices
This isn't the type of game where you run in, guns blazing, mowing down walkers until they're all dead and you unlock an achievement for 500 headshots in 5 minutes. There isn't actually a whole lot of shooting for you to do in the Walking Dead at all.
The walking dead features mostly around the human aspect of the zombie apocalypse, like the comics and TV show before it. I mean, if you still thought the title was referring to the walkers, and not the characters, you have some serious reading between the lines to do.
This is a choose-your-own-adventure, in a very light sense of the term. Perhaps choose-your-own-destiny or pick-who-lives-and-who-dies-this-week would be more fitting. You're going to be walking around, talking to the other characters, making friends, allies and enemies, and some people will hate you no matter what, but sometimes, if you choose your words wisely and can read your options fast enough, you can forge a few friendships through the choices you make. Will you become friends with the old guy, or the young one? Will you save the smart young lady from the zombies, or the nice young man? Will you be able to make the choices it takes to get through the hordes of zombies and constant sorrows and start anew? Or will you forever be plagued with "game over" screens?
#3 - The Cameos
There are a lot of characters in the Walking Dead universe. Even those who are only around for a couple minutes get their own little back stories, and the already-dead sometimes get them as well. This left Telltale Games with many opportunities to slip already-existing characters into their game world.
Early in the game you meet Glenn, a beloved character from the TV show and comics who's been around since the very beginning. Depending on which reality you prefer, he may or may not still be alive in your mind, but Lee and his friends never get to know Glenn's fate. After being his charming self for a couple minutes, our beloved Glenn is off to find his friends in another town. It sure was nice seeing a friendly face, though (especially if he's one of your favourite characters on the show, like he is for me).
Other characters you might remember will meet you along, such as the Greenes (with Hershel looking much more like himself from the comics than from the TV show). Part of the fun of these games is wondering what you'll find familiar, and how much of a fan of the series you truly are.
We're probably all hoping to see Michonne. Let's be honest.
#2 - The Quick-Time Events
You either love or hate quick-time events. There's nothing in between.
Unless you're like me, and only like them if they're well-utilized.
The only way to really make zombies scarier than they already are is if there's a constant fear that they may attack you at any time. Which is why quick-time events are very well-used in this game.
The only way to make people more awful is if you only have a couple seconds to respond to their antagonizing dialogues. That's also how this game uses quick-time events wisely.
Everyone's always picking on Lee. I mean, he's a big, scary dude, looking after a kid that he admits isn't his, and he has a very dark, criminal past. So, the pressure's on in this, the type of game where you pick your answers wisely, and the game moves and changes to compensate for your answers. But sometimes you only have a couple seconds to make a decision in the real world -- save the kid, or the old man? Use a hammer to kill the walker, or a sword? These decisions will change your life, but you don't have a lot of time to make them.
The quick-time events bring a frightening realism to the Walking Dead, and add a fun and interesting new kind of horror to what may otherwise be an overdone, cliché-ridden genre of video game.
The #1 Walking Dead feature - The Feels
The Walking Dead series has a lot of them. Whether it's Carol telling Lizzy to look at the flowers in the TV series, or a certain character getting his head beaten in until his eyeball pops out, there are a lot of scenes that are tough to swallow.
It might still shock some people to know that a video game can bring you to tears. If anyone needs an example, the Walking Dead Season One is a prime one. Between having to choose between two different men's children who are both being attacked by zombies, looking after a girl who has lost everything to the walkers, and wondering, at the end of the game, if you could have made better decisions for yourself ultimately, there's a lot to take in.
I've seen grown male gamers break down and cry, or at least get a little bit weepy, at points throughout this game, and that’s a good thing. Much as we might like to deny it, it's good to cry. Especially if it's over characters in a fictional universe, and after everything is said and done, you can just turn off the game and go back to a world free of walkers and split-second life-and-death decisions.