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Edited by Kohe321

Great review Alex!

Edited by SeroTyler

Clementine is wearing the hoodie in that screenshot, Alex confirmed for terrible person.

Posted by honkyjesus

Have I mentioned this is the best average game to come out in 2012?

Posted by honkyjesus

One of the best average games this year.

Posted by ripelivejam

@Orange_Pork said:

Keep that hair short.

:(

just finished yesterday :( :( :(

Posted by ModernMoriarty

The villain already feels ridiculously contrived IMO. I'm not saying he isn't effective in that scene, but I found his presence and identity to be more than a stretch. The 'Man with a Grudge' is a very old stereotype, even when it is someone with genuine history with the hero - for it to be someone who we'd never even seen before, it felt like even more of an anticlimax. The story had suggested he was someone who knew Lee, but the explanation for this and his motivation for hunting you was a case of 'Is that all?!' Particularly seeing as how its the same regardless of what choice you made in the earlier chapter. I'm sorry, but 'made complete narrative sense' seems like an extremely generous way to describe his appearance and identity at the eleventh hour. Again, the scene itself is great - his identity and motivation are not IMO.

For me, Kenny gets a good ending (but only if Ben survived Chapter 4). I was disappointed that Ben screwed up yet again, because it seemed like a rather mean thing to do, especially after they gave him a good scene calling Kenny out. Omid and Christa... are better than they have been, but its too little, too late for me. The change in the team makeup in Chapter 3 just didn't work. They had a great team, where all the characters worked well, and the story was greatly enhanced by the camaradie of most, and the clash of others. When that changed, I felt it was very much for the worse. I'm not saying they should have played it safe either (far from it), but when you have to rotate in new characters, there is always the danger that the new characters won't live up to the older ones. And for me, Omid, Chuck, Christa, Ben for the most part etc weren't developed or used as well as earlier characters had been.

As to deaths, I have no problem until Chapter 3. The death of Carly/Doug just doesn't work for me at all, and that's not because I wanted them to survive. I did in fact want them to survive, but I knew they wouldn't, so I was expecting them to die in Chapter 2 actually. The fact they survived so long was actually pleasantly surprising, but then for them to go out in what stands for me as the worst written, least realistic scene in any of the Chapters was a grave blow to my enjoyment and immersion. I had the scene pegged immediatly as the one where they would die, and the actual death didn't surprise me at all. The actual execution (no pun intended) and writing however, just didn't support what happened. In my playthrough, I had supported Lilly throughout, confided in her, won her trust and she was doing okay. For her to suddenly start accusing Carly with no evidence, and then just shoot her out of nowhere just didn't work in the way my playthough was going. The game assumed a level of isolation, persecution and paranoia in Lilly that she shouldn't have had, given how my playing of Lee was focused both before and after the final third of Chapter 2 (as that is precisely what I had devoted my energy to preventing). I had also been courteous and polite to Larry too incidentally, as I felt he was an essentially decent guy in a difficult situation, and what is he supposed to think about Lee, given that he knows Lee is a murderer?

It was one of those moments where you saw the edges, where it was obvious that it was something that had to happen no matter what. I can understand that if people had been siding against Lilly, and she'd been isolated, then she could snap. But I had gone all out to making sure she was okay, and keeping her spirits up, including her in my thoughts on things, told her my past etc etc. So the idea she would feel so paranoid and alone on this, with nobody on her side that she trusted or would listen to, was something that just didn't fit the way things had gone in my playthrough. If it even Kenny she was arguing with, I could see it working, but her picking Doug/Carly just felt too contrived, because they needed to get rid of Doug/Carly. It was just obvious what they were doing there, and a kind of 'I saw the lighting director crouching behind the actor' type of moment.

And I know they had to get rid of Carly and make a decision on Lily and Kenny, like I said. Any time you offer the option to kill a character, then they are living on borrowed time if you save them. Optional characters in all games always see their screen time and meaningful actions cut right down, because the game can only go so far in accomodating that choice before it has to wipe the slate clean. The events of Chapter 2 made it clear that Lily and Kenny couldn't continue to both be in the group, and given that Kenny had his family with him, owned the RV etc, it was statistically more likely they would come down on keeping him in the group I suspected (correctly as it turned out).

I knew it was coming, so its not a reaction against that. Its just that the actual writing of those scenes, given the choices i had made, felt very awkward and shoehorned. I give Telltale full credit for trying something this complex (as I said, I still consider this to be a great game and very strong GOTY contender), but for me the immersion and illusion of my choices mattering died in Chapter 3. If I had to lose Carly and Lilly, then so be it, but the way it panned out for me didn't work in the way that earlier scenes had.

And again, it was just that general feeling that the game peaked in Chapter 2 for me. After Chapter 2, I was absolutely convinced that this was GOTY, and I couldn't wait for Chapter 3. But episode 3 cooled my jets almost completely (the scene with Duck was excellent, but the rest was poor IMO and as I said before, I didn't care much for the new characters). I actually enjoyed Chapter 4 more than most others seemed to, as it was by far the best chapter for the Walkers - they felt like much more of a credible threat in that chapter, and the ending was excellent. But Chapter 5 was only okayish IMO, a decent but belated last minute attempt to make the party work properly together, and a very contrived IMO final villain.

Nobody should be in any doubt that this is one of the finest games of the year, and one hell of an achievement. And as a lifelong fan of adventure games, from the Sierra days, Simon the Sorceror, Monkey Island etc etc, it gives me great joy to see the genre coming back to prominence finally. I just felt that after 2 near perfect episodes, Walking Dead slipped slightly to because 'only' an extremely good game.

And if it does win GOTY, then I can absolutely live with that.

Posted by stryker1121

@ModernMoriarty said:

I'm a friend to this game, and I think there is a strong case for it being GOTY (although I personally think that XCOM will and should win). I only have a few real with this game, one of them being that I agree with some of the earlier posters that some of the events, (and particularly the deaths) feel badly executed and rushed. I'm not against characters dying, not even if they are ones I like, but it has to feel right and some of them didn't - the Episode 3 purge of several characters (in one way or another) was very up and down in terms of believability and quality.

The other thing is that I don't feel like the overall story really went anywhere when all was said and done. The journey with Lee and Clementine went well enough, but the other events were a bit more hit and miss. Kenny only has a truly satisfying arc if you take the action for him in Ep3 and 4, and keep Ben alive until the final episode. Otherwise, his arc just sort of fizzles out. Other characters don't even get that much, and even Lee has several plot threads that just kind of get lost in the shuffle. I was expecting the final episode to bring in the factor that he had murdered a man, perhaps have something happen with that (a relative of the murdered man or something), but instead the whole issue of Lee's troubled past was just left alone after the early episodes.

I guess that when the dust settled, given the rather unceremonious purge in Ep3, the bizarre 'dropped out of nowhere' final villain in Ep5, and the rather besides the point events of Ep4, that the main narrative kind of lost its way. The fact that it ends strongly with Lee and Clementine papers over much of those cracks, but it felt a bit more scattershot than I'd hoped.

Bringing in a relative of Lee's victim would have felt contrived. Depending on your choices of dialogue, there's plenty of discussion from Lee about the guy he killed, why he did it, and how he felt about it. Seeing that Lee's "you," you kind of have to set the tone yourself, as Alex said in his review.

The Stranger was hardly "dropped out of nowhere." Clem had been talking to him over the walkie for quite a while before we meet him; his appearance made complete narrative sense IMO and the scene w/ him was one of the most disturbing in the game. To me at least, everyone had a pretty satisfying arc, even Ben if you let him live.(He stands up to Kenny)

What deaths rang hollow to you? I go by the TV trope of, "If you don't see a body, they're not dead," so I'm thinking Molly and Kenny are still alive.

Posted by honkyjesus

I played the first one when it was free with Playstation Plus.

Thought it was pretty bland. I understand the appeal of it, I just didn't think it used that appeal well.

Posted by ModernMoriarty

I'm a friend to this game, and I think there is a strong case for it being GOTY (although I personally think that XCOM will and should win). I only have a few real with this game, one of them being that I agree with some of the earlier posters that some of the events, (and particularly the deaths) feel badly executed and rushed. I'm not against characters dying, not even if they are ones I like, but it has to feel right and some of them didn't - the Episode 3 purge of several characters (in one way or another) was very up and down in terms of believability and quality.

The other thing is that I don't feel like the overall story really went anywhere when all was said and done. The journey with Lee and Clementine went well enough, but the other events were a bit more hit and miss. Kenny only has a truly satisfying arc if you take the action for him in Ep3 and 4, and keep Ben alive until the final episode. Otherwise, his arc just sort of fizzles out. Other characters don't even get that much, and even Lee has several plot threads that just kind of get lost in the shuffle. I was expecting the final episode to bring in the factor that he had murdered a man, perhaps have something happen with that (a relative of the murdered man or something), but instead the whole issue of Lee's troubled past was just left alone after the early episodes.

I guess that when the dust settled, given the rather unceremonious purge in Ep3, the bizarre 'dropped out of nowhere' final villain in Ep5, and the rather besides the point events of Ep4, that the main narrative kind of lost its way. The fact that it ends strongly with Lee and Clementine papers over much of those cracks, but it felt a bit more scattershot than I'd hoped.

Posted by Stubee

Cried like bitch at the end. And that was AFTER my steam save got fucked and the ending was spoiled for me.

Only distracting thing in the whole game is that the name 'Clem' sounds like a sexually transmitted disease.

Posted by Mrsignerman44

GOTY

Posted by eulogize_my_baked_goods

"In a sense, The Walking Dead is almost like an examination of fatalism. You can choose whatever path you like, but in the end, the larger world around you is going to do what it's going to do. All you can truly hope to affect is how you get to that end, and how you spend your time with others who may or may not be fated to survive."

This is a very good summation of the mechanical / emotional compromise that is The Walking Dead, and why I think it may well be my game of the year. It is true that the game is ultimately a very controlled slight of hand, but it takes its simple toolset and builds a gameplay experience like no other. Age old concepts like timed events, Daley Thompson style button hammering, and point-and-clickery become the mechanisms through which you engage with the games brilliant characters and as a result come alive. Whereas Quantic Dream's games have ended up being full of miss-judged melodrama Telltale's game goes right for the jugular, and instead of spending its time mimicking mundane 'real world' actions your button clicks really do feel like you are directly impacting on the outcome of events and interactions. Withought going into spoiler territory, the encounter with your brother in Ep1, the burial scene in Ep4, and the final 'confrontation' in Ep5 are prime examples of how visceral these simple mechanics have become in the hands of the developers.

This is not even to talk about the story itself which is pitch black in tone, surprisingly mature in nature, and often full of genuine pathos. As Alex stated, you will find yourself running over events and decisions again and again. Much like a great film the game and characters live on even after you have finished playing.

Having completed The Walking Dead I felt physically and emotionally exhausted. The truth is that I can't think of a recent game that has had that kind of an impact on me, and that says pretty much all I need to. Telltale have created a bona-fide masterpiece and for that should be praised.

Posted by SpecialKiz13

The point-and-click aspect of this game was exceptionally dull. I love other Telltale games, especially the Sam and Max games which revolve around the mantra of "Use x On y to achieve z", but extended periods of these moments were painful to do at the time, and really put me off doing a 2nd playthrough, which is almost criminal in a game which appears to be as open-ended as this. I hope the sequel removes large elements of this, but I suspect it won't. I guess there is a case to be made that the high points of this game really stand out because of the monotonous slow moments, but still, it is an issue that isn't really addressed in this review.

Apart from that, this game is excellent. The writing is superb and is one of those rare cases where you really care about all the characters in this game, even if you don't like them. The relationship between Lee and Clementine is perhaps the most well-rounded and founded relationship in video game history. In the end, not only did I care about Clementine, but the need to protect her in a world gone to Hell teased out elements of my own character I never knew existed. Some of the decisions that I made during this game made me reflect on the type of person I was. Too many other games with "moral choices" either force you down the route of a goody-too shoes or a psychopath route, but in this game I started making choices based on what I would do in that situation, which changed everything. This aspect is enhanced due to the fact that there are rarely ever "correct" answers.

It addresses the point of do the ends justify the means, or what is the point of humanity surviving if it loses it's humanity, a theme which runs deep in the comics and TV show. Regardless to you aversion to this genre of game, it deserves to be experienced to be understood.

Posted by MooseHead

If it wasn't for the stutter or hiccup before something major happens, it would be a strong contender for GOTY. Great buy and looking to pick up another copy of it to replay on iOS.

Posted by hollitz

"It's like Skyrim with zombies."--Machinma

Edited by harettazetta

I couldn't agree more with this review. In spite of some minor technical hiccups, this is the only game I found myself chomping at the bit for every time a new episode was released. I was on Vacation when Episode 5 was released, and it was just about the only thing on my mind until I got home.

In a year filled with so many disappointing and lackluster titles, it was fantastic and refreshing to have a game that got better as you played it, right through to the end credits.

For those who are whinging about the illusion of choice, they're only an illusion in that they don't have story-altering consequences - but they can and do impact the way you'll feel about the game. Early choices decide who lives and who dies, who abandons you and who stays, who is going to be an abrasive jerk the entire game and who's going to have your back til the bitter end. So although yes, the game will always reach its penultimate ending narrative the same as it would for anyone else, no one who arrives there will feel that they had quite the same experience. Case in point, I hated Kenny's guts, while much of the internet is overflowing with Bro love for him. Anything that can make people have such wildly varying beliefs about fictional characters was effective in its choice devices.

Game of the Year.

Posted by gamefreak9

I haven't finished it yet... however I can disagree with the review. I don't think this is prime, although I do enjoy the characters and the interaction, i quickly realized that most of my options were pointless so I randomly pressed buttons when the prompts came up in less intense situations. The main fault of the game to me is when you are walking around picking shit up, that stuff is boring as hell and breaks the pace... even worse than that mass effect 1 planet mining shit.

Posted by CuoreAzzurro

Ugh, Walking Dead, all I want to do is play this game, but I'm unsure which platform to buy it for. The ideal platform (PC) isn't an option for me, and asking around I'm not getting an answer on whether or not the issues in the console demos are ever-present. (360 darkness and PS3 pixelation?).

If anyone out there can give me some some advice, that would be awesome. Otherwise I'll just pick one and go for it; following Alex's comment that no matter the platform, the issues are worth dealing with.

Posted by Epsilon82

@Jiggaboojeeves: I couldn't disagree more. The game may not dish out any consequences for making the "wrong" choices for handing out the food, but that misses the entire point. In fact, ironically, it would have been way more contrived and game-y if they had done anything like that. The entire power of that sequence rested in the fact that you, as the player, had to do something as gut-wrenching as deciding who to give scarce supplies to and who to let go hungry. No movie or book could ever approach that visceral feeling of dread you have because YOU have the agency, not the character on the screen or the words on the page. Whether there are direct ramifications to the choice is immaterial; at the time you're doing it, YOU yourself are responsible for Kenny going hungry or Clementine getting that little bit of beef jerky that she likes so much.

The fact that Telltale showed such restraint in instances like this is to their credit, not their detriment. They fully culled the narrative power of this medium in ways that nobody else ever has, perhaps except BioWare in Mass Effect. But for me, personally, the fact that these were clearly ordinary humans on modern-day planet Earth dealing with a horrific situation made all of the decisions carry weight, even when they didn't end up mattering much in the end.

Posted by sublime90

very good review and i agree with everything. there are a few moments in ep 3 where i was completely shocked as to whats going on and that rarely happens to me with video games.

im also playing on the PC and if you want to know about people who've ran into problems be it save wipes or in my case the game freezes everytime i "click to start" just visit the telltale support forum. so far ive only played to ep 3 because due to my experience i cant even get to the option to download 4 and 5. the game is so good though im still going to try and get around these issues so i can see the ending.

Edited by Vampyre777

catharsis

Catharsis or katharsis (Greek: κάθαρσις) is a Greek word that is related in meaning to the verb καθαίρειν, kathairein, and to the adjective καθαρός, katharos. The Greek Lexicon, "LSJ," provides a range of meanings for this cluster of related words covering a number of nuances that reflect the concepts of purgation, purification and clarification and various subheadings within these categories.

source wikipedia.

Posted by Knights

Nothing much to be said about this game but "GOTY" A great ride that ended perfectly... Just fix your buggy game saves and in game bugs and everything will be great for the next episode...

Posted by joeshabadoo

Wonderfully written review, Alex. Maybe my all-time fav of yours. Complete agreeement

Posted by MildMolasses

@Scotto: I agree. The people who are arguing that this isn't a game are flat-out wrong. That being said, this still isn't game of the year.

Weird performance issues aside (weird stutters during camera changes, or when an a sudden action is supposed to take place, which is subsequently ruined by the hiccup), the parts of TWD that are a game, aren't good. The exploration is minimal, the puzzles are dead simple, and the action scenes generally don't control well. I applaud episode 5 for having the best shooting because they simplified it in a way that makes sense to the game style, but also serves the story well.

Granted my experience with adventure games isn't great, but I would expect more than 2 very basic puzzles that require no outside the box thinking from one of them. And the fact that I have seen Telltale do that makes it all the more frustrating. I hope that they can step up the puzzle and exploration aspect to make a more even package. As it stands, this is easily the best written and most engaging game I've played in a long time, but it is held back by its actual gameplay not being very fun and for being tense for the wrong reasons

Posted by DG991

I don't care if Jeff and Ryan said minecraft isn't a game. I don't care if they say the Walking dead isn't a game. They are just plain wrong, but I still like them. This is about the walking dead though. It is my game of the year. I have never been so engaged by a story in a game. The amount I cared about clem was incredible. And I was actually having fun getting lost in the game, even with its horribly depressing story. I did not miss the mindless and pointless shooting like in some other franchises. It just gave me the goods with a few puzzles and intense moments. Awesome. My GOTY.

Posted by EnduranceFun

While I'd agree that looking back on the game, it's easy to see the limitations of the game and engine, my first time through it was a realised, total immersion. I was mashing on that A button like my life depended it and looking around the screen desperately at the very end as though, yeah, if I had stopped and broken the immersion, I would have realised it made little difference... but in the moment, it was a beautiful thing. Sure, there isn't much 'game' to The Walking Dead, but it's only as bad as every other game, just in a different, more obvious way. I mean, playing Zelda as a kid, didn't the overworld seem like it went on forever and was limitless in scale? Walking Dead, for me at least, a similar level of illusion and made me feel like I was a part of the game world. It's rare that a game does that and its widespread praise makes me think it was the same for the majority of other players.

Edited by HeroMuseum

I would love to see the game's final chapter, unfortunately the broken save system may not allow it. I have had one episode 4 save kick me all the way back to episode 1 and another restart me at the beginning of episode 4. I think the only way I'm going to be able to play through completely is to do it all in one sitting since quitting out of a game and coming back to play later is a total crap shoot. It's really too bad for such a well written game, this didn't start happening to me until episode 4, not sure if they just rushed it out without enough testing, but it's exasperating to lose all your choices (the key mechanic of the whole game) multiple times. Do better with next season's episodes TellTale.

Posted by xbob42

@Nettacki said:

@xbob42: Explain how it does a disservice to gaming as a whole, in your opinion. Keep in mind, I too love this game a lot, but even I realize that the "game" part is a little limited.

Certainly the game part is a little limited. So? How it hurts "gaming" as a whole is this constant need and desire and demand for every game to play in some new and innovative or action-packed way. The Walking Dead is a fantastic game without any of that.

And I'd argue that having better gameplay really wouldn't affect the title in a hugely positive light anyway. Hell, if the gameplay was awesome and they used it a bunch it could hurt the overall narrative because the strength of the story comes from its lack of filler and lack of disenfranchising you from the "reality," your characters are in.

I dunno, as I get older, I get less and less impressed by different gameplay types in games. I feel like I've... I dunno, done it all before? Some games play better, some games play worse, but I feel I'm long since past the phase where every game needs to play great, because that has actually become less interesting to me than great narratives. And the narratives are great due to interaction, which makes them vastly superior storytelling mediums than books or movies or TV for me. Things like To the Moon and 999 are super light on gameplay, but they're both some of my favorite titles perhaps of all time. They barely qualify as "games" as people like to say, but at the same time, I found them so amazing because I was a part of the story, and my interactions did matter in some way. At least on a psychological level.

I still love the hell out of some Super Mario Galaxy 2 or Assassin's Creed or Chivalry, but I find the games that stick with me the most and leave me the most impressed are games that try to entertain me as a whole, not just ones with a good gimmick or two. Bastion was a great example of a game that played great and told a great narrative. But even then I wouldn't generically label it as an "example of the best scenario," because again, I think sometimes a game not having much gameplay or limited gameplay in some respects can actually make it better.

But this, thinking about it, may be due to a larger issue at hand.

Perhaps you've heard of the flash game Frog Fractions that you can of course play for free.

I won't spoil it for those who haven't played it aside from saying that it is far more than it appears to be on the surface. That may actually be the reason I am so rarely impressed by a game's gameplay these days. Even the quirkiest and strangest games we have to offer tend to revolve around a core gimmick or two. Games for me as a child were magical and mysterious things, as I'm sure they appeared to many people who grew up playing games.

They were strange and wondrous worlds filled with, as far as I knew, any number of secrets and hidden levels. Who knew what might be hidden behind all that scenery? I knew nothing of programming, I didn't think in terms of game mechanics. I sat on the couch and held a controller that granted me access to entirely different concepts of reality. It was, in a way, mind-blowing.

Now, I don't mean to sound too much like Patrick here, but I can only do so much.

These games were not magical. They rarely contained very many secrets, and most were super simple gimmicks repeated over any number of stages. You'd find something (then) incredible like the negative world in Mario, or perhaps a level crediting the game's creator in an era where such a thing was unheard of. These only enhanced the idea that anything was possible when in fact the opposite was quite true.

A game like Frog Fractions takes the notion of the jaded, cynical gamer who can play any given title for a few minutes and pretty much guess how it's going to play out and turns it completely on its head. If you go in knowing nothing or next-to-nothing and you're also a little creative in how you play, you quickly find that the magic you remember from childhood is back in full force. You don't know what'll be thrown at you next and you sit there with a big dumb grin on your face the whole time.

Or perhaps you shrug and say that it's just another "flash game trying to X or Y" and yadda yadda. Point is, what happened for me was quite eye-opening, because I hadn't even considered these feelings related to gaming prior to playing it just yesterday, but after assessing why I felt as I did, I came up with what I typed just now and for me it hits home completely. "Gameplay is king," is a term that means nothing to me now because gameplay hasn't impressed me in a few years now. Not because the games are different, or because things have been dumbed down... I'm just older now (I talk like I'm a hundred, I'm only 25.) and I'm simply harder to impress when you base your game around a singular thing -- unless it has strong narrative hooks that involve me interacting with this world. The narrative hooks take a medium that to me was incomplete and made it complete.

Sure, Mario doesn't need a story, but Mario's also not all I need anymore. I've expanded as a person and find a much wider range (i.e. I like this on top of that, I haven't shunned one like so many do. I love Mario now as much as ever.) of things to be enjoyable. A really great interactive narrative for me is so engaging and so interesting. I really wouldn't have it any other way.

But I appear to have rambled on and on for a few dozen paragraphs. You'll forgive my lack of brevity, I hope.

Posted by RVonE

@ahaisthisourchance said:

Definitely my favorite game of the year. Xcom a close second. I just hope the guys don't pull a Skyrim this time.(remember last year's GotY deliberations)

SKyrim is a fantastic game and wholly deserved GOTY last year.

Posted by icytower38

I couldn't agree more Alex, that's all I have to say on the topic.

Edited by holybins

@Marzy said:

I started the first episode the other day, but when I click to go onto Episode 2, it comes up a message saying "Generate story decisions for skipped episodes?" Even though I played through Episode 1 and it still has my stats.

It's kind of put me off playing, which is a huge shame, because I loved the first episode.

Are you on the PC? This is a known bug, and the workaround involves copying a file from your Windows profile documents to your Steam folder. See this thread on the Telltale forums for details on the fix. I had to do it last night and it worked fine.

Posted by holybins

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the game, but this seems like a pretty hyperbolic review. "Masterpiece"? "...will weigh heavy on you long after you've completed it."? Come on now...

Posted by Marzy

I started the first episode the other day, but when I click to go onto Episode 2, it comes up a message saying "Generate story decisions for skipped episodes?" Even though I played through Episode 1 and it still has my stats.

It's kind of put me off playing, which is a huge shame, because I loved the first episode.

Posted by Eyz

I cannot wait to pick up the whole package :P

Posted by Scotto

I'm amused that this apparently isn't a game, because it lacks impactful choices.

1) Quick time events are a game mechanic, ergo, an experience comprised of QTEs is a game.

2) The game does have some actual impactful choices, even if they aren't as numerous as the game makes it seem.

3) How about the myriad of adventure games that present no "choice" at all? You just move around the environment until you rub the pre-determined correct two geegaws together to solve a puzzle, and then the game's narrative moves forward. How is this a less legitimate design choice?

People need to get off their high horses. Maybe they should just put a single rail shooter section in the next season, to shut these goofy criticisms down. Of course, it wouldn't actually add a thing to the experience.

- Scott

Posted by haggis

@Roboculus92 said:

@Brendan said:

"The Walking Dead is no mere interactive story. It is an immaculately paced, painfully affecting story featuring some of the most lovingly crafted characters ever to appear in a video game"

...Ok Alex, but that still makes it an interactive story. It's the most well realized story of this year, but that doesn't necessarily make it the best game.

Yes the gameplay parts aren't what's significant about this game but that shouldn't matter. Gameplay is important but that doesn't mean games can't excel in other aspects as well. Many adventure games don't have you do much besides doing some puzzles here and there or talking to people so I don't see what the problem is here.

I'm a bit confused over what some people mean by gameplay. Clearly some on here don't believe there is any gameplay, because they don't think it's a game. But I wonder where the line is for them, because I'm obviously missing something. When we talk about gameplay, we're talking about how the player interacts with the game. Some games have a lot of interaction (action games, where we're always pressing buttons) and others have less (like strategy games, such as chess, where there is thought involved).

When we talk about gameplay, we're talking about how much involvement is required by the person playing. It seems from what I've been reading that there is substantial gameplay in TWD. That is, those playing it are heavily engrossed in what is going on, thinking about how their interactions will be interpreted by the game, etc. It's not chess--it doesn't have that depth. But it has more emotional depth than chess. Certainly more than Call of Duty or any other action game. No one even bothers to think if you should care about the people you're shooting in those games.

If gameplay is about engaging the player in what is going on, then it's difficult for me to understand how some people think this isn't a game. It's not a twitch game. It doesn't require physical skill. But most real-life games don't either. Some games require physical skill, some require intellectual insight, and others are simply about emotional engagement. Clearly TWD is in the latter category. Not all gamers need or want that sort of thing, and that's fine. But I think those claiming this isn't a game have an unreasonably narrow definition of what constitutes a game.

Posted by pandorasbox
@leejunfan83 no, it's a game that has qte's. big difference.
Posted by haggis

@Kevin_Cogneto said:

@haggis said:

People get hung up on there not being multiple endings, just as they got hung up on ME3's three (or four, I guess) endings. Never mind the variations that happen within the game itself as you're making choices. They weren't as obvious here, but after having played TWD's early episodes through a few times, I was actually amazed to see how differently somethings play out. I'd much rather have that than a few mildly different endings.

It's not the ending that matters, so much: when we're making choices, we care. Someone earlier said that handing out food in Episode 2 has no impact on gameplay, that the game doesn't care, only the player. The player is actually what matters. If the game succeeded in making you care enough to put thought into your choices, it succeeded--even if those in-game choices don't go anywhere. Just as the idea that Clementine might be watching made people choose different actions. That's what this game is about, and in that it's hard to argue it didn't succeed. Choice isn't just about narrative options and multiple endings, but about making the player feel responsibility for his or her actions within the game.

In that sense, TWD succeeds where ME3 fell short--ME3 forgot about halfway through that the decisions were supposed to be about immersion, not necessarily narrative. Once it became about narrative, the decision tree got way out of whack. People can talk about choice in these games being illusory, but it's a game. It's all an illusion. That's what storytelling is.

For me the main difference between ME3 and Walking Dead is that in Mass Effect, you are the most influential man in the galaxy, and so it's only natural for a player to expect your decisions to have an influence on the outcome of the story. In the Walking Dead, you're just an ordinary man at the mercy of a violent and capricious world. Of course your decisions aren't going to have much effect, thematically that's the whole point!

Mass Effect bit off more than it could chew. Granted, the developers didn't know that at the time and painted themselves into a corner. TWD bit off far less, and managed the decisions well. Those criticizing the range of choices here seem to not quite understand how difficult this sort of thing is to pull off. In some sense, this is the real cutting edge in gaming--not the graphics (that's just a matter of new tech), but finding ways of making stories adapt to the person behind the controls. TWD is the first game that I've seen that manages to do that without somehow breaking the narrative or losing the thread in the end. That's why the game is getting such praise. It really does do something that no other game has done.

Posted by haggis

@Alorithin said:

@haggis said:

It's not the ending that matters, so much: when we're making choices, we care. Someone earlier said that handing out food in Episode 2 has no impact on gameplay, that the game doesn't care, only the player. The player is actually what matters. If the game succeeded in making you care enough to put thought into your choices, it succeeded--even if those in-game choices don't go anywhere. Just as the idea that Clementine might be watching made people choose different actions. That's what this game is about, and in that it's hard to argue it didn't succeed. Choice isn't just about narrative options and multiple endings, but about making the player feel responsibility for his or her actions within the game.

So it's Day Z for people that don't like playing video games.

I understand the intent of your message. I just don't understand this new precedent to give a visual novel GOTY.

So it's somehow unprecedented to consider a video game for game of the year? For most of us, it's clearly a game. Those arguing otherwise haven't convinced most of us. We played it. It's a game. We make choices, the game adapts. Maybe the adaptations are too subtle for some people's tastes, but if this isn't a game, then most adventure games aren't either. It's not a distinction that makes much sense to most of us.

Posted by VikG

Excellent review Alex, I couldn't agree with it more.

Posted by Tru3_Blu3

@lobsterman said:

I tried this game a few months back. I wanted to love it. I mean as much as i played it there is definitely tension, and it has good writing in the part i played. It's the visual style and the animations though. I just can't take the game seriously, and it's apparent from these writings that i should. I wanted to love this game, but those big cartoon eyes, exaggarated movements and animations, and to be honest most of the zombie and character designs make me think that they should be in a game with a more saturated color pallet and they should start to sing and dance and tell jokes at some point. I know i shouldn't think this, i know this is supposed to be as serious and grim as it can be, but it's just not. I've seen screenshot after screenshot after my initial impression, and the same feeling got me from those screens. With a different artstyle this could be my GOTY too, but as it is, i can't even play this or look at videos/screens without smiling. And that's not good.

Is this image supposed to be meaningful? Or terrifying? I seriously can't feel anything for a character that looks like one of the Sims, but it sounds like the point is exactly that i am supposed to feel something for these people.

I kinda have the same opinion on most Japanese animation, but The Walking Dead is rather different in which it doesn't use cheap sepia-tone to convey a bleak theme. It is within the content of the game where the overwhelming dread weighs down the player. In reality, we don't see a limited amount of wavelengths hitting the surface of our planet in which we are limited to only gray and brown; our planet's nature is pretty beautiful and colorful, whereas human nature is not.

Posted by TennSeven

@Kevin_Cogneto said:

@haggis said:

People get hung up on there not being multiple endings, just as they got hung up on ME3's three (or four, I guess) endings. Never mind the variations that happen within the game itself as you're making choices. They weren't as obvious here, but after having played TWD's early episodes through a few times, I was actually amazed to see how differently somethings play out. I'd much rather have that than a few mildly different endings.

It's not the ending that matters, so much: when we're making choices, we care. Someone earlier said that handing out food in Episode 2 has no impact on gameplay, that the game doesn't care, only the player. The player is actually what matters. If the game succeeded in making you care enough to put thought into your choices, it succeeded--even if those in-game choices don't go anywhere. Just as the idea that Clementine might be watching made people choose different actions. That's what this game is about, and in that it's hard to argue it didn't succeed. Choice isn't just about narrative options and multiple endings, but about making the player feel responsibility for his or her actions within the game.

In that sense, TWD succeeds where ME3 fell short--ME3 forgot about halfway through that the decisions were supposed to be about immersion, not necessarily narrative. Once it became about narrative, the decision tree got way out of whack. People can talk about choice in these games being illusory, but it's a game. It's all an illusion. That's what storytelling is.

For me the main difference between ME3 and Walking Dead is that in Mass Effect, you are the most influential man in the galaxy, and so it's only natural for a player to expect your decisions to have an influence on the outcome of the story. In the Walking Dead, you're just an ordinary man at the mercy of a violent and capricious world. Of course your decisions aren't going to have much effect, thematically that's the whole point!

I totally agree with this. Even in interviews the designers were pointing out that in real life, most of your decisions just don't really change much, because life does what it does, with or without you. This is most certainly a game and it carries with it one of the most engrossing stories I have ever seen in a video game. Your decisions might not cause the game to drop you into one of four different endings but when you are making them you care. You care about the way you act in front of other characters, you feel like that little girl is in your charge and you want to do a good job protecting her, and you care when someone you have become attached to, someone who maybe even saved your life on a previous occasion, gets killed right in front of you while you are powerless to stop it.

Not many books, not many movies and even fewer video games can accomplish this kind of thing and I for one was amazed at how much depth and entertainment value was packed into TWD; regardless of the fact that it didn't have me running around a shopping mall while chopping up zombies with a chainsaw. The fact that the entire season set me back I think less than $20 during the black Friday sale is just icing on the cake. Definitely the best game I have played all year.

Edited by lobsterman

I tried this game a few months back. I wanted to love it. I mean as much as i played it there is definitely tension, and it has good writing in the part i played. It's the visual style and the animations though. I just can't take the game seriously, and it's apparent from these writings that i should. I wanted to love this game, but those big cartoon eyes, exaggarated movements and animations, and to be honest most of the zombie and character designs make me think that they should be in a game with a more saturated color pallet and they should start to sing and dance and tell jokes at some point. I know i shouldn't think this, i know this is supposed to be as serious and grim as it can be, but it's just not. I've seen screenshot after screenshot after my initial impression, and the same feeling got me from those screens. With a different artstyle this could be my GOTY too, but as it is, i can't even play this or look at videos/screens without smiling. And that's not good.

Is this image supposed to be meaningful? Or terrifying? I seriously can't feel anything for a character that looks like one of the Sims, but it sounds like the point is exactly that i am supposed to feel something for these people.

Posted by Oni

Game of the year.

Edited by Roboculus92

@Brendan said:

"The Walking Dead is no mere interactive story. It is an immaculately paced, painfully affecting story featuring some of the most lovingly crafted characters ever to appear in a video game"

...Ok Alex, but that still makes it an interactive story. It's the most well realized story of this year, but that doesn't necessarily make it the best game.

Yes the gameplay parts aren't what's significant about this game but that shouldn't matter. Gameplay is important but that doesn't mean games can't excel in other aspects as well. Many adventure games don't have you do much besides doing some puzzles here and there or talking to people so I don't see what the problem is here.

Posted by Brendan

"The Walking Dead is no mere interactive story. It is an immaculately paced, painfully affecting story featuring some of the most lovingly crafted characters ever to appear in a video game"

...Ok Alex, but that still makes it an interactive story. It's the most well realized story of this year, but that doesn't necessarily make it the best game.

Posted by Viking_Funeral

Yeah, it's that good.

Posted by DoublePlusRad

My GOTY so far, but I've not played episode 5 yet. I need to finish up this week, I can hardly wait.

Edited by Nekroskop

Definitely my favorite game of the year. Xcom a close second. I just hope the guys don't pull a Skyrim this time.(remember last year's GotY deliberations)

Posted by BBQBram

@giant_frying_pan said:

Now make Jeff play it so he can't deny it GOTY like Red Dead.

That was his loss man. Crazy considering how much he liked GTA IV.