The Walking Dead Season 1 PlayStation 3 Review

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Telltale Games has crafted an amazing and engrossing experience with Season 1 of The Walking Dead.  They managed to really hit their stride as far as modern day adventure games are considered.  Telltale also crafted one of the more emotional and touching stories ever told in a video game.  I’m completely comfortable saying that with confidence.  The adaptable story line holds you accountable for the decisions you make in some capacity.  In other words we all end up in the same place at the end, but the experience of how we get there will differ greatly based on the decisions made at critical points.  I will do my utmost to provide you with key tantalizing details without ruining any plot points for you.

Telltale’s Season 1 of The Walking Dead included five “monthly” episodes that averaged anywhere from 2-3 hours in length.  The one and only gripe I have with the entire experience was the promise of monthly episodes that wasn’t kept.  As I personally made the Season 1 purchase as a bundle I was constantly playing the waiting game for the next installment.

Episode 1 A New Day starts your walking dead experience out properly.  In the opening moments of episode 1 our protagonist Lee Everett is on his way to prison (sad face). When suddenly the world around him and the overly talkative correctional officer you’re forced to converse with goes all reanimated corpselike.  Shortly later you meet the heroine of Season 1 Clementine.  Lee promises to watch after Clementine and get her back to her parents at all costs.  Fans of The Walking Dead comic book series and the AMC adaptation alike will be happy with your early visit to the farm house of Hershel Greene.  He’s not the only other regular of both the ongoing comic and television series to fall into the fray in Episode 1.  Glenn also makes an appearance running his usual life threatening supply runs.  Some very tough decisions have to be made right out of the gate that will hold precedence throughout your five episode experience.  Episode 1 does a fantastic job of introducing you to the characters, controls, and mood of the ongoing Season.

Episode 2 Starved For Help picks up shortly after the events of the first.  This episode delves deep into the survival aspect of a post apocalyptic society.  There’s a strong theme of deception rearing it’s ugly head during Episode 2 that is the driving force of the events that eventually unfold.  Lee is pushed to further break the rules that governed his previous way of life to survive.  The themes that are introduced into the overall story are much darker this time around.  Episode 2 does well to acclimate you to the survival of the fittest mentality that is The Walking Dead.  A decision during this episode will weight very heavily on events towards the end of your experience of Season 1 so keep that in mind.

Episode 3 Long Road Ahead starts up just weeks after the events of the previous episode.  Things are worse for our rag tag group of survivors after the recent events have taken effect.  Their sanctuary is threatened and they are forced to hit the road to escape a grisly fate.  The traitor of the group is accused and what eventually occurs is just another example of the hardships that face Lee and his group of survivors.  Just after this turn of events another even more heart breaking realization is made.  Eventually your path is blocked and you find another suitable mode of transportation.  After getting your new transport up and running the group makes a bee line elsewhere.  Another group altercation causes our progress to stop and Lee is forced to make the most emotional decision of the entire series (this moment I’m referring to elicited the most emotion I’ve ever felt while playing any video game in my life).  At the end of episode 3 Lee has to make some decisions about how to protect Clementine in the future and make her less vulnerable.  Three new characters are added to the group during this episode and will join you going forward in your quest to protect Clementine and find her parents.

Episode 4 Around Every Corner lands you in a new location.  Clementine’s parents may be in the area and the overall sense of urgency is definitely heightened out of the gate.  Since early on in the story one member of your group has been convinced your groups salvation lies at sea.  The new location in Episode 4 offers the opportunity for Lee and the group to become sea faring survivors and the search is on for a boat so the group can make their escape.  However, someone out in the shadows definitely isn’t a fan of the group and does their utmost to make life hard for them.  Further hardships ensue and eventually we have another addition to our group and also stumble upon another group of survivors.  A third group is referred to and later encountered that’s described as a bit right wing and homicidal.  The events of Episode 4 are abundant and would require a lot of real estate to cover.  The finale is set by the disappearance of Clementine at the end of the episode and a posse is made based on the in game decisions you’ve made up to this point.  Lee’s quest to protect Clementine at all costs is coming to an end and the grim future of Lee and his group is more evident than ever.

Episode 5 No Time Left is the perfect cap to a hugely emotional, masterfully written experience.  Lee will slice, smash, and claw his way back to Clementine at all costs.  Your journey ends in a humble yet spectacular fashion as you complete your goal of protecting Clementine with all of your being. Lee takes steps prepare her to survive on her own in the new world around her.  The torch is passed in what I believe the most meaningful way possible.  Episode 5 closes the book on what I believe was 2012’s game of the year.

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Telltale hit the nail on the head when it comes to The Walking Dead.  The characters and story present throughout are some of the best realized ideas in gaming history.  I also didn’t experience any of the technical hiccups that many others referred to as their only complaint of the title.  With that in mind it’s hard to really take anything away from The Walking Dead besides a bit of fragmentation in the story during Episode 4.

So head out and grab The Walking Dead via digital download on Xbox 360Playstation 3, and PC.  It’s also now available via retail disc on the above systems.

+ Some of the best writing in video games.

+ Characters that you care about.

+ The mood and themes of the source material are fully respected.

– Episode 4 had some pacing issues but still set up the finale suitably.

– Delayed episode releases.

 

Dylan Zellmer

I split time between games journalism and making video games. My love of it’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones), fitness and my family define me otherwise.