God damn it, am I in any mental state to be balling my eyes out in the holiday season? My past experience with Telltale’s Walking Dead games have often ended with me adamantly stating I have something in my eye rather than weeping like a baby. The first game in the Walking Dead series still sticks in my mind as being an emotional rollercoaster throughout. I felt like the second game didn’t quite live up to the expectations set by the first, but was still a smash hit nonetheless. The Mini series Michonne was still a good game, but it was certainly nowhere near as expanded on as the original series. After hearing there would be a third installment to the series though, I was overjoyed to see what our favorite little girl, Clementine had been up to.
Admittedly I was a bit disappointed at first that the playable character isn’t Clementine. You play as a young man named Javier. You follow his story from a few years past up until present day, giving you a good history of his situation and family surrounding him. Not wanting to spoil any of the plot, events unfold and you are thrown into the typical Walking Dead scenarios, you eventually run into Clementine. She is now a teenager, and still living with the effects of how the previous season ended. The story from the first episode left me completely in shock, it was the biggest “oh jesus, what the hell just happened!?” moment I’ve had in recent memory and I was so glad that Telltale released the second episode on launch as I am not sure I could quite live with myself not knowing what was happening! The exact same thing happened in the second episode though. The story has completely drawn me in, and I need to know what happens next, it’s gripped me and Telltale know they have an astounding story on their hands with this season of Walking Dead.
The graphics engine hasn’t seen any improvements. It’s still in the classic Telltale vision in kind of cel shaded style, but this look still lends itself to the setting of the game, with it being a zombie apocalypse, you can’t exactly expect to see fields of lush grass and bright colours, can you really? The animations are all crisp and realistic. There is certainly an improvement on this side of things, as the past two games did have an essence of janky animation. Everything here looks smooth and well polished. Voice acting and sound effects are all on point. The developers have done a really good job of aging Clementine both visually and through her voice. She may be a young woman now, but you still see her as the young girl we met in the back garden with Lee all those years ago. The exhausted look on her face is clear to see in some scenes and it portrays her character perfectly.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Telltale game without those quick time events making an appearance, however they are done slightly different this time around. You still get the ones where you need to mash buttons continuously to push an object or to stop a zombie chewing your face off, we can’t be too greedy can we!? But the melee fighting moves are done using a much more fluid system that I actually enjoyed taking part in. I did get caught off guard by the odd surprise QTE here and there, but that was me being blasé with it and being sucked into the story rather than being ready for action!
The main bulk of any Telltale game comes from the dialog between characters though. It’s hard to say just how much of a difference your options make on the overall story of the season, but my actions have certainly made an impression on the plot thus far. The gradual introduction of new characters throughout the season makes you reevaluate your relationships between the group, and you will soon enough be able to wheedle out your favorites from the ones you wouldn’t mind being eaten alive by that group of zombies.
The first two episodes has taken me just over two hours to complete, so roughly an hour a piece, which considering the length of the last two in the series, it’s actually quite short, but hopefully we can expect to see some longer length features in the coming episodes. There isn’t a time frame on the releases, but as with normal Telltale releases, they are normally a month or two apart from each other.
As it stands right now, this season of The Walking Dead is well worth the full price tag, you obviously aren’t going to be able to play the full game until all of the episodes have been released, but it is a safe bet that you are going to get your money's worth from this game as the story alone is going to pull this to be one of Telltale’s best games yet.