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Walking Dead: The Game Review

By , on July 30, 2012


Walking Dead: The Game
Download on the AppStore
4 out of 5

PROS

  • Removal of traditional puzzles means 'cyclical' conversations are no longer required; what you say matters and isn't just a punchline.
  • Tension and shock-moments feel carefully balanced; no traditional 'shoot first, ask questions later' - it's a fight to survive.
  • Comic-book inspired visuals allow for far more gruesome portrayals of violence without being too disturbing.

CONS

  • Sluggish/sticky controls; given the lack of separate movement and camera controls, their combination and automatic switching can be disorienting.
  • Audio compression problems; clear audio followed by heavily compressed/muted - kicks you out of the moment.

VERDICT

Episode one of Walking Dead: The Game lays a great foundation for a story that follows a new group of survivors - how you choose to play Lee will determine how the story spins out in future episodes, but you'll have to live long enough to make it that far first.


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For those who have been waiting for Telltale Games' iOS version of The Walking Dead, the wait was not entirely in vain. I could lie and say that nothing has been lost in the translation from console/PC to handheld device, but it would be a lie, though its ultimate impact on the story and experience is minimal, making it a must-try adventure game.

Although based on the comic franchise, the story follows Lee - a convicted killer who is given a second chance after surviving a 'walker' attack - and a completely separate group of survivors. That isn't to say fans won't find a familiar face or two, but this isn't their story and Lee, or rather you the player, will be forced to make life and death decisions that will affect your game over subsequent episodes.

The game is graphic in its portrayal of violence and the situations you'll find yourself in will have you wishing for more time to respond, however that's the beauty of Walking Dead - you're fighting for survival and the fight or flight response is exploited heavily to add to the drama. Whether it's the limited time you have to respond to a question (or not respond) to either building trust or creating suspicion, or trying desperately to tap a nearby weapon to lodge it firmly in a walker's skull, you'll be happy you have multiple save slots to explore your options.

Where the iOS version obviously diverts from the PC and console version is in the way it's controlled. Unlike most traditional adventure games, the player normally has independent control over the direction their character moves and where the camera is looking. This is removed (to a degree) in the iOS version as players swipe to move around, with only certain scenes allowing for camera movement. It's unfortunate that the controls feel sluggish, as they detract from the otherwise frantic pace of the combat.

The game is gorgeous too, with iPhone 4 and higher iDevices being required to pull off the comic-inspired cell-shaded graphics. As to be expected, the voice acting is also top notch, though audio compression artifacts regularly destroyed otherwise engaging moments.

Telltale Games have done a great job of throwing away the usual obtuse puzzle elements of the adventure genre in favor of telling a compelling story. Given the tense and on-the-edge atmosphere of the Walking Dead world, it has paid-off in the first of five eventual episodes and we can't wait to see how things spin out from here.

Screenshots

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Comments

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wiking 3 years, 5 months ago

i agree ...great strategy game...

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rekz 4 years, 1 month ago

I'm stunned that this app got such a low review.  I understand that if you never played Settlers of Catan it might be a challenge to learn.  That said, however, this game carries the complete excellence in gameplay of the board game onto the iphone.  That's a lot of excellence for one of the all-time best boardgames ... ever!
This game features a number of AI opponents, a degree of challenge in all games, is quite attractive, smooth to play, and fun.
I have a few criticisms, but nothing that would make this less than a 5 star game.  Criticisms include -- no PvP (seems like would've been an important feature), no expansion sets (so far), my favorite 'house rule' (that 2 and 12 trigger eachother) is not a feature, there is no undo for mistaken taps, and that the 'trade' button is right above the 'end my turn' button which may cause accidental turn endings.
OK, now that I've said all that, I can also say this is probably my most played iphone game.  I've played (& loved Settlers of Catan) for more than 10 yrs, played it all around the world, and I'm quite a good player & I'm only around 70% victories on this game.
It's simply an EXCELLENT strategic game.
rekzkarz.com

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andrew 4 years, 1 month ago

Firstly this was one of the early reviews Damian did for the site; all of us were still cutting our teeth on the reviews at the time. Secondly, 4/5 is still an excellent score and Damien's final choice on that score is a sound one for the very reasons you have listed. It's clear he wasn't familiar with the board game (I too am a fan of the series), but issues like a lack of asynchronous multiplayer support, the fact that games take a LONG time to complete and even basic interface issues mar an otherwise great title. Don't let your fandom taint your critical thoughts - if you're saying things like 'it's clearly missing this', 'I keep screwing up things 'cause of this', then they're things to take note of - sometimes a game can rise above its flaws, but sometimes it's just short of perfection :)