The Walking Dead - Season 1
So much to say, the first of which is that THIS REVIEW CONTAINS NO SPOILERS
! If I mention anything specific, it is only a fabricated example. That being said, let's start with the technical stuff, which is based off of the keyboard/mouse PC gameplay.
I should also mention that I've never seen the TV series, nor read the comic series that this game is based upon. I have read that this game follows a different set of characters, so you don't have to worry about spoilers via crossovers.OPTIONS
Separate settings for Music, Voice and Sound.
Subtitles (NOT the default
), Detect Selectables, Story Notification, Show Controller Buttons (in case you have a controller -- I didn't), Mouse Sensitivity.
Graphics Quality, Shadow Quality, Aftereffects, Texture Quality, Anti-aliasing, Brightness, Full Screen, and Resolution.
There are two modes of play - the normal mode (which gives you a little extra feedback, but does NOT add hints) and a more advanced mode.
For my first play through, I played normal mode and left everything at default, except that I DID turn on the subtitles, and I upped my mouse sensitivity to 15.MOVEMENT:
W-A-S-D or Arrow keys.W - Move forward (up arrow)
S - Back up (down arrow)
A - Step left (left arrow)
D - Step right (right arrow)FIGHTING:
Q and E keysQ - Struggle
E - HitSAVING/PAUSING/LOADING
There is no option to save -- it's automatic. Watch for a swirl of lines in the top right corner. This is the game saving your progress. If you exit the game or go back to the main menu, you will lose anything you've done since the last auto-save.
To pause the game, just hit the Escape key. You'll go right back to where you left off (even in the middle of a conversation) when you continue.
When you are on the main menu and hit play, you'll see that there are three profiles
You have two choices at this point. Choose one and continue, or COPY the profile you've got to one of the save slots if you want to take your profiles in two different directions without having to replay the whole game.
Once you choose a profile to play, you can continue where you left off (last auto-save) or you can REWIND to a previous auto-save. If you do rewind, you'll lose any progress you've made on that profile up to THAT POINT (nothing before that point will be affected.) This is another reason someone might want to copy their profile to another save slot.THE ZOMBIES
These are not the running, jumping, climbing, can-almost-think-type of zombie that you see in the movies as of late. What we have in The Walking Dead
are the more classic-style of the undead. They shamble, barely have the coordination to stand upright. They're slow because their bodies are rotting away. They will never stop coming.
There seem to be three things they react to: Sight, sound, and a ravenous hunger for living flesh.
To fight off the undead, rapidly hit the Q key when you see the prompt on the screen, and be ready to hit the E key to attack as soon as the prompt pops up. Sometimes you'll have to use the mouse to aim an attack, and that's not as easy as you may think! During fighting scenes the cursor can be hard to move around. Make no mistake, this is definitely
intentional, and a brilliant decision by the development crew. It really adds to the reality and intensity of the situation, further immersing you in the story.
You can expect to die in this game, but it's pretty easy to figure out what you're supposed to be doing so that you can avoid it happening in that scene again. There was only one instance where I didn't know what I was supposed to be doing, and I kept dying over and over and over again...
This is not a spoiler, just instructions so that you know what to do when it happens to you! When you see orange arrows like this appear on the sides of the screen:< >
you need to click on the screen and drag your mouse to the left or right.THE GAME:YOUR CHOICES WILL AFFECT THE WAY THE PLOT OF THE GAME.
You're told this each time you start a new chapter of the game, and it's absolutely true. Not only do your choices carry over from one chapter to another, but also to new seasons. We play as a man named Lee, and WE choose what his personality is like. Is he angry and defiant? Calm and caring? Some combination of the two? That's entirely up to YOU, and it will affect how the other characters interact with you. This is only one example of how the game molds to your choices, but I don't want to give anything away, so 'nuff said!
There is not a lot of fighting, as one might expect from a title about zombigeddon. Yes, of course we struggle, we shoot, we flee, and sometimes we die... but the primary thrust of the game is the story. This is like no adventure game I've ever seen, seeming more like we're part of a movie, rather than playing a game.
In tense situations, as in real life, we don't have an unlimited amount of time to decide what to say or do. We have to make some snap decisions, and it heightens the immersiveness, wrapping around our psyche, taunting, calling, making us unable to stop thinking about what's happened, and what WILL happen because of our choices.
The way interactions and inventory are handled are much different than I'm used to. You can see small icons that show your inventory on the left-hand side of the screen, but you don't do the usual "click on inventory item, then click on the scene" routine. Instead, when you mouse-over a hotspot on the scene, you will see options that you can choose from (assuming that there's more than one action available.) If it's possible to try an inventory item on that spot, you'll see it in the options. Just use your mouse wheel or arrow keys on your keyboard to highlight your desired choice; same as you do when you're having a conversation or choosing an action to take.
This is not the kind of game where you can speed up the dialogue or skip cutscenes. The Walking Dead
is all about experiencing the story, and what a story it is! Intense, gripping, distressing, touching. Through all of the turmoil and strife, there are still moments that made me smile; even laugh out loud! The only other game I've seen that evoked so much emotion was Cognition
, though of course for entirely different reasons.SIGHTS & SOUNDS:
You can see from the screenshots that the characters are done graphic art-style. Not surprising since this is based off a comic book series. And yet... deep within the gameplay, there are startling moments when the characters look real
. I would swear that they had live actors doing the modelling. The mannerisms are so well done, the nuances of expression so poignant. A slight softening of the eyes, the ghost of a smile... Beautifully done!
There is some gore, but it's tolerable... and to be expected! This IS a game featuring the dead, after all! I have one friend who is not into zombies at all, and another who really can't stand gore, and both were so completely sucked in by the story that they couldn't stop playing!
The music is so perfectly melded with the situations you encounter that they're well-nigh unnoticeable. There is nothing to jar you out of the the environment, nothing to distract you from the situation you're in.
The voice acting is absolutely superb. Of course there are some exceptions, but very few. I especially love Lee. I love everything about him. The way he walks, the way he moves, his facial expressions, the personality I chose for him. and above all else, his voice. It is so perfect in every way, I can't even begin to explain it... *looks back at text and grimaces
* Well, OK, I did begi
n to explain it, but you get the point!
Eet ees very very goot!
In case you're sensitive to such things, be aware that there is some STRONG language in this.
I'm not big into swearing, myself, but let's face it... If you had a very-obviously dead person get up and try to EAT YOU, you'd probably have some colorful words to say, yourself! THE VERDICT:
If you haven't figured out how I feel about the game by now, you must have skipped over the rest of the review! There's been a lot of hype about the game, and it's all -- in my opinion -- very well-deserved.
If you're looking for complex gameplay, this isn't for you. Likewise if you're looking for a lot of combat or a shoot 'em up. The Walking Dead
isn't a game; it's an experience
like no other, and one I highly recommend to anyone who loves a good story
I've played it through once by myself, and am currently playing through a second time with my sis, letting her make all of the decisions. Excuse me?
Why yes, I did
mention that our decisions carry over to future games (like the DLC 400 Days and Season 2.) Wait, did I forget to mention that we have three save slots? *scrolls back to look* Oh, nope! It's there! Whew~!
I am dying to play Season 2 -- No, not literally! Leave my brains intact, please! -- but for now, will have to settle for roping my husband into playing the game with me on the third save slot. Must. Have. More. Undead!