I want to warn everyone before you read my review. This will contain spoilers. I need to mention parts of the story to prove my points. If you haven't played watched someone else play please leave now because I am going to write my review in a way that I assume you know the story.
Another thing to clear up. This review will have some negativity in it. Before you attack me let me assure you that I believe The Walking Dead is a really good game. However I think the game was overrated and it did not deserve the praise it got. Again, this does not mean I am trashing the game. I'm just having an objective view on it. I also believe that although people will disagree with me, that my argument and points are valid.
So please don't cause a flame war because if one does happen it's your fault. I'm going to write this is the nicest way possible. I'm not here to hate. This is just a concern that I have to get off my chest.
Let's start with the positives. Of coarse the story. I admit, one of the best stories in games. It's obviously the main selling point. The reason people claim it as the best game of the year. An emotional gripping plot, interesting dialog, characters you connect with, and yo can even make choices to change your experience. Although I never actually cried when I played the game it did have an emotion impact on me and I felt if this wasn't just a video game I would actually cry.
Let's talk about the choices. There are many times that you have to make critical decisions in TWD. The cool thing is these are not always presented through "Click here to do this". Most of the time your decisions are done though dialog options. Not all of these are critical. Some dialog adds back story if you want to have an option conservation with the character. Some times what you will say will build relationships and/or will be remembered later on. Other times it's a critical plot changing event. In other words, be careful what you say.
However I do have some problems with the choices. Mainly that you don't have that much control and that your choices don't have that big of an impact. Let's be honest here. No matter what you do or say almost every plot point is unavoidable. You still go to the same places, do the same scenarios and tasks, the same people die and worst of all everyone gets the same ending.
The most your choices change are the dialog. Yes what you say and do makes people like or hate you but does it have any real significant change on the plot? Not really. There's only a few times where it had a change. Like when you chose Doug or Carly. Obviously it will be different. You have a completely different person during these scenes. One is a weak guy but he's super smart and in some ways annoying. The other is a strong independent girl who is cute and nice but also knows your secret. But even then I felt those scenes when I played a second time were just a mirror of my original experience but only playing out slightly differently.
How about when people chose to either join you on your final mission or abandon you at the end of episode 4? First off It wasn't executed well. It makes no sense for Omid and Christa to share a friends to the end attitude after we met two days ago. It would have been nice to have more characters that have been with us for a longer amount of time to have a greater effect. Like Lilly or Carly (If we had the fucking option to take them with us!)
It also doesn't make sense to have them only come with you if you reveal the bite. I thought the point of this was to have all your decisions add up and they would make the decisions. You can freaking push Omid of a bridge and talk shit to them but they will still be your friends and trust you? Same thing with Kenny. No matter how you treat him you can still make him come with you buy choosing the right dialog options. Ben? He doesn't even have an opinion. He just does what you tell him to.
This doesn't have a "Your choices have consequences" feel to it. Especially considering Ben still did nothing useful! I thought the point of bringing him along was that he was eventually going to pull himself together and save the day. Waste of time. Heck he even got Kenny and himself killed.
So now what happens next in episode 5? Well the exact same scenarios with different dialog. Heck some of the people say the same thing as others would but in different words. No different outcome. But then after that scene you go back to the mansion and meet up with everyone and it's the same again. More so then before. Kenny doesn't even mention that you told if to go fuck himself (If that's what you chose). Suddenly you two pals again and he isn't even mad at you. And then all the same people die which yet again unavoidable. I'm not trying to say every death should be avoidable. I know why these deaths are important. Obviously the people die because that's the part of the story that is emotional. But when everyone dies and you can't do anything about it for anyone it makes you think what's the point of choices if they have no significant impact.
Let's talk graphics and tech. Not that big of a deal but needs to be mentioned. Obviously the games visuals are outdated. But to counter this it has a unique comic book feel to it so it is still nice to look at. There is also a significant amount of detail for the facial animations and of coarse THE GORE! That half severed leg still creeps me out.
The big fault is the technology however. The areas are small and limited, you have little control over both your characters movements and camera angles, and there are many bugs, glitches, and frame rate issues. Two words to describe the game in this regard: "Low budget". I know it's from Telltale but keep in mind that the game is mostly cinematics with no huge action scenes or control intensive gameplay. Honestly, that's kind of pathetic.
Now on to the main problem with TWD which caused me to make this review. You could probably see this coming but yes, it's the gameplay. Let's sum it up. Walking around, clicking on objects, quick time events, talking to people, and puzzles. Sorry but none of that stands out as great, compelling, or fun gameplay. Talking to people goes more with the story, walking around to get from point A to B is boring, point and click or quick time events are just a way to advance cinematics, and the puzzles are repetitive and super easy.
That's my problem with TWD. Huge on story and little to no gameplay. I know the point of the game is for story and not gameplay but personally I really don't care. That's not an excuse. Games need both great gameplay and story. I mean look at 2011. Uncharted, Skyrim, and Skyward Sword. Amazing games that all had great gameplay, visuals, (Despite Skyward Sword not being in HD) and stories. Some of them were actual emotion like TWD and they were up for GOTY. So why does TWD only have to focus on one aspect to be the best game of the year this year?
Now you may say TWD doesn't need this things. That's not true. Every game needs gameplay. That's what makes the games the most. It's an annoying trend that I have been seeing. People want video games to become more serious so they are now focusing on stories more and trying to make games art. That's fine. I like that. But some people are focusing only on story and forgetting what makes games what they are. The gameplay. I get the game has a amazing emotional story and that it's unique and fresh in some regards. But that's not enough for video games. TWD feels more like an interactive movie then a game.
I don't mean to say you aren't entitled to your own opinion. I respect your opinion. Who am I to tell you what to play or what to like? If you like TWD then go ahead and play it. If you want to play a game with no gameplay but a huge effort on story for a fresh change then this is your game. But that's just a personal preference and has no bearing on the games actual quality. Most people get the words subjective and objective confused. Subjective is a statement based on personal opinions and feelings. "I like The Walking Dead because it's unique and it has an amazing story and I don't need anything else with it". That's your subjective biased opinion. Objective is a statement based on the weighing of facts. "The Walking Dead is the best game ever" or "It's a 9/10". Problem is as I have proved TWD is not THAT good. So that wasn't an objective statement. It was a biased opinion said as a fact. And when you actually judge the game properly you can see that it isn't true.
Sorry but some times you have to put away you personal feelings and opinions to judge the content of the game. For example, I enjoyed Sonic (2006). Shocker right? But would I ever say that it's a good game? Of coarse not! It's terrible! I didn't like batman AC or AA. But I admit those are exceptional games.
Now don't tell me I haven't played it. I have. And also don't tell me I'm a CoD fanboy that only likes shooters and hates originality. That's not the case. I want fun gameplay to go with this story. Weather it's a shooter, stealth, platformer, action adventure, or survival horror. In fact survival horror would be perfect for this game. I was disappointed after episode 1. I was amazed when I got to the drug store and I could pick up energy bars and pass them around. Made me think of how open the choices could be. You can search for supplies and give them to people so they can keep their strength up and build relationships. You can keep some to yourself because you need to eat too. what if some people or even yourself get weaker or feel side effect by not eating or even starve to death? What if you need to manage your bullets and take and many as you can when you get the chance to look for supplies?
I soon realized that wasn't the case. Once again the game is told in a linear and canon way. At this point I don't think it adds any relationship point with anyone other than Kenny. It's just something to do witch has no significant impact. Same thing with episode 3. No matter how many supplies you gather or weather you kill the girl or not none of what you get comes into play later on. It's annoying.
Now you may tell me that this is the point of an adventure/point and click game. That also isn't an excuse. I generally don't compare other genres but this is an exception. Why? Because the adventure genre is outdated. It's missing one of the core features of games. The gameplay. Gameplay is a general part of games. The point of genres is to have different style of gameplay. Someone needs to revolutionize the adventure genre so that it can be fun just like other genres.
Hell even shooters have evolved more than adventure games. they only just start to be the same 5 years ago. I get that adventure games are a traditional part of games and some of the earliest but that's just it. They're old. The genre needs to get with the times. would a game with just text and no pictures be considered a game in today's age? Of coarse not. But games like this did exist a long time ago when video games were just developing. And for their time it was revolutionary. Same with adventure games. It was good in the 90s but then action games took over the marketplace and they never responded to this change in gaming culture.
That's pretty much it. Now why did I make this thread? Some may think I made this review to criticize people who love this game. That's not the case. The reason I wrote this is because I want Telltale to make a better game for season 2. You may think the game doesn't need gameplay but imagine this. Imagine if season 2 and the same emotional story but it also had great fun gameplay. Imagine if you had more variety of choices to make. Imagine if the levels were designed bigger like other games. Imagine if you had more control of your character instead of feeling like you are on rails in a way. Imagine if it had survival horror elements and you can search for and manage supplies which will not only change the gameplay but also the maybe the story and could actually cause real consequences that could ruin you. How awesome would the game be then? This shows that TWD is not perfect and there is much room for improvement.
I want season 2's story to be more open and non linear opposed to scripted, linear, and branched.
I want fun gameplay that stays true to the style of the genre (Requires some massive brainstorming for you designers).
I want more work into level desing. I'm not asking for open world here. Just something bigger and more explorator.
I want survival horror elements that make a fun challenge.
I want more choices. Basically most of the time if someone dies it should be your fault.
These are the main problems with TWD that prevent it from being a masterpiece in reality regardless of what people say. Please show this to Telltale and if someone from Telltale is reading this please try your best to make these changes. I'm sorry if I am offending you but this game just isn't as good as everyone is saying. It's still a very good game however and I hope you think hard about how to make adventure games fun to revolutionize the genre.
Please don't hate me for this. I already got enough crap for simply saying TWD isn't perfect which as I just proved in my honest review. If you still don't agree with me can you at the very least understand where I am coming from and acknowledge that I make a fair, reasonable, and logical argument. It pisses me off because I am always ganged up by fanboys who hate on he just because I'm not kissing the game's ass and ignore that I made good points. They never listen to reason. Can we please keep this friendly at least?
Anyways that's my review. If you want a score I believe a 7.5 is fair. I hope people don't take this the wrong way. It's a good game but overrated.
Hope you weren't offended about the negativity and we can have a civil debate. ;)