Welcome to B4UPlay! Your ideal destination for all things sequels and prequels. To help get your priorities straight, we thought it would be awesome to bring you insight reviews of original titles as we get ourselves warmed up for everything coming up and to get you ready for your next pre-order! We played through the first three seasons of TellTale Games The Walking Dead series to emotionally prepare us for the Final Season which releases on August 15, 2018 here in Australia.
Overall Series Score: 8/10 | EPISODIC POINT-AND-CLICK ADVENTURE | VIOLENCE & STRONG LANGUAGE
“The Walking Dead seasons are great point-and-click adventure games and the storytelling is phenomenal. There aren’t too many games out there that evoke as much of a rollercoaster of emotions as some scenes in this series.”
The Walking Dead is an episodic, graphic point-and-click adventure game series developed and published by Telltale Games, associated with Skybound Entertainment, and based on Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead comic book series. The three main seasons released to date span the past six years, with the first season released in April 2012 for PC, Playstation and Xbox.
Each season consists of five episodes released over several months. As each successive episode was released, there is a ‘previously on the Walking Dead’ segment to recap recent events and remind you of the choices you made, good or bad. These games take place in the same fictional world as the comics, though most of the characters are new and original to these games. There are a couple of characters from the original comic book series that do make in-game appearances in later seasons.
The games are played from a third-person perspective with a variety of different camera angles depending on the scene at the time. The player can look at and interact with items and characters and can make use of inventory items to interact with other items in that scene. For example, you can look at or talk to a character, and offer them an item from your inventory or ask them about it. There are also quick time events such as dodging attacks or shooting walkers.
The Walking Dead games focus more on story and character development than action -packed gameplay like other survival adventure games such as Left 4 Dead. It can be a little off-putting at first, but the story really grips you and doesn’t let go until the end of each episode and season. Like the comics and TV show, every decision you make has consequences, often made harder by being pressured by a timer. You can also choose to stay silent or not take an action in some of the scenes, depending on how you feel about them.
The game adapts to your decisions and so whichever path you end up taking in season 1 will affect the story of the next season. At the end of each episode and the end of each season, a summary is displayed of the main decisions you made and the percentages of players that chose each option. There is some replay value in going back and making alternate decisions which will affect the characters you finish the season with.
The first season’s story, released between April and November 2012, centres around the main character Lee Everett, voiced by Dave Fennoy. Lee is a university professor and now a convicted criminal who, after being in a car crash and escaping from walkers, stumbles upon an 8-year old young girl named Clementine, voiced by Melissa Hutchison. Clem, as she becomes known, was forced to flee to her family home to her cubby house after her babysitter was bitten by walkers (zombies). Lee offers to take Clem and protect her, hoping they’ll be able to find her parents who had gone away to Savannah, Georgia.
At the end of the series, after having to control your emotions after several heavy-hitting events happen to the characters you meet along the way, you must make an absolutely horrible decision. I won’t give away and spoilers, but I honestly had to take a break for a little while afterwards. It almost bought me to tears considering the options, it was that hard to play through. It was such good story-telling for a video game and it left a memory etched into me that still gets me in the feels to this day.
Season 2 of The Walking Dead game was released over the period of December 2013 to August 2014. If you had played through the first season, you can import your save game and continue with the choices you made in that plus the 400 Days DLC, and those choices affect parts of the story for this second season.
Clementine is now the main playable character and starts with Omid and Christa whom she met at the end of season 1. Straight away the intensity of the story kicks it up to 10 where more brutal situations occur. Poor Clementine doesn’t seem to catch a break for such a young girl. The game flashes forward 16 months where Clem and her new group are surviving together and traveling to Wellington, Ohio, in the hope that the cold there will keep them safe. One shocking event after the other hits Clem hard and the game makes you feel like you just can’t trust anyone anymore. Everyone is suspicious of each other, yet they need each other to survive.
Clem eventually meets up with one of the characters from season 1 whom she thought had been killed at Savannah. The reunion was short winded however as not is all as it seems and Clem is put through further dangerous situations. Towards the end of the season, through some of the harshest weather she has seen thus far, Clem questions whether she can protect the group’s newest member and keep everyone she cares about alive. She is again forced to make another gut-wrenching decision as she desperately seeks the safety of Wellington. Far out, the ending I chose was tough enough to watch, however I looked up some of the other endings and there were some really intense moments, followed by feelings of loss and feeling alone having to survive in this world.
The Walking Dead: Michonne is a three-episode series and was released between February and April 2016. It was originally supposed to be DLC for season 2, however was released as a stand-alone game as a test of the new Telltale Tool, the game’s engine. It tells the story of when Michonne briefly leaves Rick Grimes and the main characters from the Walking Dead comics. Michonne is voiced by actress Samira Wiley and despite being three episodes, it still manages to keep toying with your psyche and testing your resolve making decisions under pressure.
Having now been through two emotionally powered seasons of this series, I had prepared myself for the inevitable difficult decisions to make but they still left you feeling like you could have saved certain characters, had you made different decisions. There was one particular scene where the group had just been through a traumatic experience and they were consoling each other, working out a plan to survive further. You had hardly had enough time to recover from that when boom, yet another punch in the feels. Despite all those traumatic events, thankfully this time the game ended on a lighter happier note.
The Walking Dead: A New Frontier is the third season of the series and was released between December 2016 and May 2017 with a welcome updated graphics engine. It still felt the same to play but the characters and environments looked much more detailed. If you hadn’t played any of the series up until this point, Telltale Games provided a separate tool for players to create a new save file for Clem, with a possible 42 different variations to build your game. I was able to import my saves from the previous two seasons and continue where Clementine left off.
A New Frontier commences with the game centred around a character named Javier Garcia, voiced by Jeff Chine, in a time when the zombie apocalypse had just started. His father has just passed away in the family home and subsequently turned into a zombie, biting Javier’s mother. They didn’t know the impact this would have, so she is rushed to hospital by Javier’s brother David whilst Javier, David’s second wife Kate and her step-children Gabe and Mariana are in the car behind.
The game flashes forward to the present time where the four are scavenging for supplies in a junkyard. Javier is fronted by a group of thugs whilst Kate, Gabe and Maria hide. Javier is captured and taken away but then saved by Clem who is now a hardened veteran of these times, trusting no one, including Javier. Clem agrees to take Javier back to his group in exchange for their van. A little further into the game and you are hit with multiple brutal occurrences and even at the end of episode 1 I felt the familiar gut-punch of painful loss that was felt in the previous seasons. I was in for another rough ride.
There are several flashbacks used throughout this season that tell more of the stories that led characters to where they are now and how they came to be in certain circumstances. This helped you remember those character relationships, and perhaps for those that hadn’t played the previous games, might give them some additional context. Some of the flashbacks were light-hearted and much needed after some intense scenes, whilst others had a bad habit of reminding me of the trauma the characters had been through.
At the end of some episodes in this series, I had to take breaks from the game. This isn’t a negative aspect at all, the opposite in fact as they were such good moments in the story. However, since becoming a father to a baby girl, I can’t handle certain scenes in movies or games involving children. To have played through Clementine’s story over the last 3 games, it’s crazy to think how she has handled everything that has happened to her and those she gets close to, and can still muster the energy to continue surviving. But that is The Walking Dead universe in a nutshell.
Overall, I gave the entire series an 8/10. The Walking Dead games are great point-and-click adventure games and the storytelling is phenomenal. There aren’t too many games out there that evoke as much of a rollercoaster of emotions as some scenes in this series. Much like what happens in the TV series and comics, you grow fond of certain characters, only for something tragic to happen. I love how the story has progressed over the three series and am really looking forward to the final season, albeit with a tinge of sadness that Clementine’s story is coming to an end.
The final chapter of Clementine’s journey begins August 15 in Australia on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4, and will arrive on Nintendo Switch later this year. Clementine, now a fierce and capable survivor, has reached the final chapter in her journey. After years on the road facing threats both living and dead, a secluded school might finally be her chance for a home. But protecting it will mean sacrifice. Clem must build a life and become a leader while still watching over AJ, an orphaned boy and the closest thing to family she has left. In this gripping and emotional final season, you will define your relationships, fight the undead, and determine how Clementine’s story ends.
For those that haven’t played any games in the series, you can utilise a browser-based Story Builder that recaps Clementine’s journey and allows you to make choices along the way, minus the impact of the emotional rollercoaster! These choices can then be imported as a save into the final season. See the first trailer and screenshots now on the Telltale Games website.