Who would you be if you could start anew in a zombie apocalypse?
Update, Episode 2 review:
The second episode enhances the sense of abandonment, loneliness and despair of the small group of survivors bounded together from the first episode. What makes the game so great is how these comrades react to newcomers they meet. From the first gruesome meeting in the woods, to the first view of the bandits of the post-apocalypse the personalities are kept up. I understand, and feel for Kenny with his kid. I do also understand the others in the group, and their reasons to be there. I don’t want to get on anyone’s bad side, but the game is so well written that it is impossible to stay completely neutral. Being from Sweden this might be extra hard for me, as I want to please everyone.
I had an on-going game on my iPad that I could just continue with all the choices intact from the first episode. On my iPhone 5 I had to start a new game, and that was a cool experience as the choices from the first episode got all randomized. This gives the game some extra life for sure, and it is fun trying to figure out how Lee had behaved in the first episode.
The choices are as harrowing in the second episode, as in the first. Non-choices are also hard, as they have worse consequences. Not acting is also a choice. There are a couple of longer slow stretches that are fun the first time, but I doubt I will want to replay the second episode anytime soon.
It is hard not to sit here waiting for the third episode, and I really hope to see it soon. I also hope the game will get an iPhone 5 update taking advantage of the slightly larger screen. If you are into the game there is no reason not to continue.
Episode 2 rating
What makes the comic book, and television series so great is the fact that it combines everyday life with the threat of death lurking all around the characters. Most depictions of zombie invasions focus on survival, and how to kill the closest walkers. Not much thought about the long-term survival, or how issues like trust, love and deep-rooted conflicts affect relationships. In Walking Dead: The Game every action, and everything said by Lee affect how his surroundings react to him. Lee can be a complete arse if you want him to be, or he can be a humble man with a lot of hard learnt lessons about life in the baggage, or he can be a mystery not opening up to anyone. It is up to you how you want him to be perceived, but it also affect how much help and support Lee can get.
Most dialogues feature three to four alternative answers. There is also the option to sit out the answer time, and give a mute reply. This is not popular at all, and before I noticed the timer I managed to get some really angry people around me. The dialogues can be seen, as quick time events instead of part of a story you just sit about watching.
There are also proper quick time events where Lee has to make some really hard decisions in a short window of time. Save a child, a strong ally in the group, or a strong soldier against the zombies? No matter what you choose in these quick time events it will have deep impact on the other survivors.
Adventure games are usually rather slow paced, and the focus is on solving weird puzzles. This is certainly not the case with Walking Dead: The Game. Here the focus is on personal relationships, and quick reactions. This makes the experience really intense, and I am hovering with my hand over the iPad at all times ready to make a choice. There are slower paced areas where Lee walks about between interaction points. Most interactions lead to some sort of dialogues, or quick time events. I find this really refreshing; as the walking about bit in adventure games is the thing I like the least.
The presentation is done in a comic book style with exaggerated lines giving the characters personality, and a lot of room for facial expressions. The lip-syncing is by no means perfect, which is a shame as it could have enhanced the experience further. The actors performing the voices are doing a great job of showing the hard reality of the scenes without overplaying it. It never feels cheesy, and I can feel for the different characters. The emotional impact of the game is deeper than the television show to me. There are some instances of grim graphical nature, and even though it might be drawn graphics this is not recommended to those faint of heart. It is rated 12+, but I would say that is a rather low rating.
Walking Dead: The Game follows in the Telltale tradition of episodical release. This is only the first episode in a series of five. There is a slight discount on the entire series if you pre-order the rest of the episodes in one pack for $14.99. To me it is a bit much even with this discount, as the entire game will run you $20. To those who have already started the series on other platforms it might be interesting to jump over to the iPad when the releases catch up to where you are at. To me it is much more intense on the iPad than sitting on the sofa with a controller playing this on the PS3 for example.
There are some slight technical issues with the game besides the lip syncing not being perfect. I have had to turn off all WiFi, and cellular on my New iPad otherwise it gets stuck on the start screen with a connecting message. Worth noting is also that this game only runs on iPad2/iPhone4, and up. I think it is a nice gesture of Telltale to make it a universal game, but personally I wouldn’t want to play it on a small screen. It is perfect for the iPad, both when it comes to the visuals but also the controls work better on a larger screen estate.
Walking Dead: The Game is a great adventure game with focus on interpersonal relationships, and intense quicktime events. The first episode sinks it´s hooks in deep, and the wait for the next episode is already tormenting me. This comes highly recommended to both fans, and newcomers to the world of the Walking Dead.
Walking Dead: The Game $4.99 Episode 1/5. Universal for iPad2+/iPhone4+
Seller: Telltale Games