Monday, October 28, 2013

Telltale to make announcement about The Walking Dead Season 2... maybe?

Oh my darlin'... oh my darlin'...

A cryptic image appeared on Telltale's Google+ Page several hours ago mentioning the Walking Dead Season Two and showing a picture of Clementine's cap, a pivotal character from the first season of The Walking Dead. The Walking Dead is probably the best thing to come out of Telltale in recent times, scoring an 8 out of 10 in our review and The Wolf Among Us, which also employs the comic-book visual novel format, was just as good.

So apparently the Telltale Games webpage for The Walking Dead is the place to look come 29 October 2013 - just in time for Halloween it seems! Anyway, if you're a fan of the series, a fan of zombies or a fan of mature adventure games, it should definitely be worth a gander.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

6 Reasons to Support the Dropsy Kickstarter Project

An example of Dropsy's non-verbal conversation style

It appears that Jay Tholen has put up his Dropsy Kickstarter a second time (a third time if you count the first project which was asking for $225 to acquire a software package). The game is apparently a surreal exploration-based adventure game about a clown that wants to be everyone's friend and has the ability to talk to animals. Sounds weird right? Yeah, I thought so too when the last Kickstarter was on and I didn't bother to fund it. Sadly, the project was unsuccessful even though there were a lot of good reasons to back it. This time, I took a closer look and discovered the following 6 reasons why adventure gaming fans around the world should support this project:

1. Supporting the point 'n' click adventure game revival
Dropsy is in good company when it comes to the huge point 'n' click adventure game revival on Kickstarter, and I'm not just talking about all the Sierra alumni!

2. Interesting text-free experience where you use symbols to converse with characters
This is uncommon in the point 'n' click adventure genre. Sometimes less is more and using visual cues to drive conversation means a different interpretation of the story – a bit like how people draw their own conclusions on how a character looks like when reading a book. It promotes creativity.

3. You progress through the game by learning and exploring the world
This is also uncommon in the point 'n' click adventure genre and if done right could be a refreshing breath of fresh air.

4. Some of the music to be inspired by 70s prog rock
Magma is mentioned although I honestly never heard of this band until now! I do love bands like Pink Floyd, Yes and Genesis though.

5. Gathers inspiration from Grim Fandango and Myst/Riven in terms of games.
Perhaps Dropsy is inspired by Grim Fandango for its novel setting and the Myst/Riven games for its sense of exploration and non-verbal storytelling. Regardless, they're definitely classic games and great ones to get inspiration from!

6. Only three stretch goals
Meaning less time spent on bloating the game's size (or worse, on non-game related tasks) and more spent on developing the game

Have you backed Dropsy? What do you think about the project?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

DiRT 3 Review

Wait... what happened to the WRC?

  • Developer: Codemasters
  • Publisher: Codemasters
  • Release Date: 24 May 2011
  • Time Played: 2.5 hours (INCOMPLETE)

While I haven't exactly been a devoted fan of rally games released by Codemasters, I do have really fond memories of Colin McRae Rally 2.0 and that game came out in 2000 – almost 13 years ago! The game had a realistic and fun single-player World Rally Championship mode and it was a blast to play on multiplayer. So when I noticed that DiRT 3 was on sale on Steam (which is apparently part of the Colin McRae Rally series), and after hearing positive comments on the game from friends, I thought it was time to reintroduce myself to the series. And yes, it's been almost a decade since I played a rally game on PC!

Gameplay (4/5)
Unlike Colin McRae Rally 2.0, the World Rally Championship seems to be absent from this iteration of the series. Single player consists of either once-off races on particular tracks or competing in a series of races and challenges. While there are the traditional rally stages there are also dirt buggy stages, drifting contests and Gymkhana. There is also a multiplayer mode too but I never had the opportunity to try it.

While I did enjoy the rally stages I believe the game is somewhat diluted when compared to the Colin McRae Rally 2.0 experience. I would've much preferred if they just focused on the World Rally Championship entirely. I mean, if I wanted to do the Gymkhana stuff, I would've got a different game, like Burnout Paradise or a Need for Speed title.

Gymkhana features prominently in DiRT 3

Sound (5/5)
Thankfully, the voice acting by your navigator sounds authentic enough and the sound effects are spot on. No complaints from this area.

Graphics (5/5)
The graphics are the best I've seen in a racing game – there is definitely a very high attention to detail. This becomes especially apparent when racing inside the cockpit of some cars – you can even see the wind rippling across your jacket as you turn corners!

Replay (0/5)
While I did not completely finish the DiRT 3 single-player mode I think I experienced enough of the game within the two and a half hours I played. At a guess, you probably could finish the single player campaign in less than 10 hours.

The real reason the replay score is 0 though is because the ability to play this game in the future is uncertain, thanks to the fact it uses Games For Windows Live (GFWL) which is going to be shutdown

Codemasters have apparently been investigating the issue but have no further word about severing the game from GFWL. According to a Codemasters Community Manager:

Just an update on this guys, we had all seen the Bioshock 2 thing today and was really impressed with what they had done. I'm not going to have anything concreate for you on what we are doing for a while GFWL is really hard wired into DiRT 3 and taking it out is a big job. We are on it though and I'll keep you updated.

Polish (3/5)
The game is generally well polished except for the fact it is integrated with GFWL. One of the most ridiculous examples of how strongly coupled the game is would be the fact you can't save any progress unless you're logged in to GFWL! I found this out the hard way and thanks to it not saving progress, I received the double whammy where I had to re-watch and re-listen to all the tutorial videos and audio clips again. Best of all, you can't skip them! Not very choice!

Score – 7/10

DiRT 3 is not as great as previous Codemasters rally games which actually focused on the World Rally Championship more than other modes and there is still a question mark as to the game's future after Games for Windows Live is shutdown for good. However, the game is still entertaining with awesome visuals and audio to boot.

If you want to get the game, you can get it on Steam.

If you like this game, you might like...


Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Wolf Among Us - Episode 1: Faith Review

In the dark future of 1996... MONGOOSE!

  • Developer: Telltale Games
  • Publisher: Telltale Games
  • Release Date: 11 October 2013
  • Time Played: 3 hours

After being blown away by Telltale's adaptation of the comic book series, The Walking Dead (which is probably more well known in its TV series format) I was excited to hear that Telltale were going to make a similar game except with some new IP. The new IP in question was another comic book series, this time by Bill Willingham called Fables. In the comics, fairy tale characters or "Fables" are refugees of sorts that come to the real world and live amongst us in secret. Telltale's adaptation of the Fables comics is based on the adventures of the Big Bad Wolf and is aptly named The Wolf Among Us.

Plot (5/5)
The Wolf Among Us is set during the 1980s in New York City. Fairy tale characters now live amongst normal humans (called "mundanes") in their own immigrant neighbourhood known as "Fabletown". Some fairy tale characters, who can afford it, use "glamour" in order to disguise their true appearance from mundanes. Those that cannot afford to disguise themselves are sent to "The Farm" in rural New York. You play Bigsby Wolf aka The Big Bad Wolf, whose job is sheriff of Fabletown. Consequently it's your job to keep the peace and in this first episode, you soon discover that there is a serial killer on the loose. It soon becomes your job to solve the mystery and bring the perpetrator to justice.

While this game doesn't have the plethora of ethical dilemmas served to you in The Walking Dead, it does have some interesting decisions you have to make with respect to your investigation which make it different but no less entertaining. The Wolf Among Us plays more like a neo-noir film where your character is a hard-boiled cop or detective following any leads you can find in a race against time. Where choices in The Walking Dead were usually pitting compassion versus survival, choices in this game are more to do with remembering facts, noticing clues and trying to see through the lies.

While it's too early to tell if the story leads to more or less the same conclusion, I'm pretty certain it will. There is a branching narrative in this game so conversations will be slightly different based on your relationships with other characters or certain clues you notice. At the end of an episode, you're also able to review whether you sit with the majority or not when it comes to pivotal choices in the game (e.g. lying to a character or not).

The game has brief moments of comic relief like this one.

Gameplay (3/5)
Just like The Walking Dead, gameplay may be seen as minimal by some since it basically consists of very simple puzzles ala the adventure game genre incorporated with visual novel elements (e.g. conversations having an impact on character relationships) thrown in with a bit of Quick Time Events (QTEs) for action sequences. For those valuing gameplay over plot, you have been warned!

Sound (4/5)
Voice acting is great but that's to be expected from veteran voice actors – the only issue I had was that the audio was sometimes too loud or too soft.

Music (4/5)
The game has some moody 80s-style synth which fits the game perfectly (this is a neo-noir game set in the 80s after all). Nothing too memorable but top quality stuff all the same.

Graphics (4/5)
The graphics are on par with The Walking Dead and since this game is also based on a comic book, it has incorporated a similar style. The only issues I had was the occasional framerate jumps and the occasional animation glitch.

Replay (3/5)
Just as it was in The Walking Dead, replaying The Wolf Among Us will reveal a slightly different narrative depending on the choices you make. My first run I tried to take a more stoic and professional approach, well as much as you can playing as the Big Bad Wolf! However, for a second playthrough, I'd like to see what happens playing a more aggressive role.

Also like The Walking Dead, there is still not a very large variety of achievements. Most achievements can be gained simply completing the game. However, at least this time they have one achievement where it requires you to get all Book of Fables entries which probably means exploring the game a bit more which in turn invites replays.

Polish (4/5)
Unfortunately, as it's a Telltale game, it uses the most recent Telltale Tool so the interface is a very console-friendly one, not a simple point 'n' click adventure. The game also has the annoying Type 1 save system where progress is autosaved but you never know when the next save point is.

Score – 8/10

The Wolf Among Us, besides the different reference material and tone, is very similar to The Walking Dead, and that's a good thing. Once again, Telltale eschews complex puzzles to focus on a mature branching narrative with awesome comic-style visuals and it works.

If you want to get the game, you can get it on Steam or Telltale Games .

If you like this game, you might like...


Friday, October 11, 2013

Choicest VGM - VGM #100 - Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers - Gabriel Knight Theme (2013)

Composed by: Robert Holmes

For the 100th VGM to be added to the Choicest VGM playlist I thought I would do something special. Recently, it was announced that there a HD remake of the classic Sierra adventure game, Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers was in the works. Apparently the game is set for release in mid-2014 and while it doesn't look like we'll get the voice acting talents from the likes of Tim Curry, Mark Hamill and Michael Dorn again, we will have the awesome music by Robert Holmes (Jane Jensen's husband) to listen to if the following track is any indication.

Very little has been done with the original theme, which is good since the original was fantastic, except it does sound more crisp and higher quality in this version. Hope you enjoy it!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Buy a Good Old Game get the Witcher free!

Oh GOG, you complete me!

Good Old Games (GOG) have an awesome offer at the moment where if you purchase one of their DRM-free games (and the cheaper ones usually go for only $5) you can get a DRM-free copy of the Witcher free! It's definitely a good offer although I already happen to have a copy of the Witcher so it's not like it's going to benefit me at all! However, it's another announcement that has actually got me excited...

GOG now sells all three Legend of Kyrandia games made by one of my favourite development studios of yesteryear, Westwood Studios. That's right, the same guys that made the Command & Conquer series also made point 'n' click adventures! If you purchase the entire pack you get 33% off which is just under $12.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Choicest VGM - VGM #99 - The Secret of Monkey Island - Stan's Previously Used Ships

Original Soundtrack composed by: Michael Land, Barney Jones, Andy Newell and Patric Mundy

This music plays when you visit Stan's used ships lot - which is where you haggle to get the ship aptly known as the "Sea Monkey". One thing I loved about this scene is how it pretty much teaches you the art of haggling - which comes very useful if you ever want to visit South-East Asia. One of the things you might inadvertently do is tell Stan you're leaving but this is actually required in order to pressure Stan to make the sale. The tactic is also quite helpful in real life too, provided you're willing to risk the salesperson seeing through your bluff!

Also another thing that's hilarious about Stan is that you may notice the check pattern on Stan's jacket stays stationary, even whilst he's moving or flailing his arms. Apparently this would become a recurring visual gag, to the point where people not familiar with the joke thought it was a bug in Tales of Monkey Island

Monday, October 7, 2013

Choicest VGM - VGM #98 - The Secret of Monkey Island - Guybrush and Elaine

Original Soundtrack composed by: Michael Land, Barney Jones, Andy Newell and Patric Mundy

This music plays during the love scenes (as if that wasn't obvious enough) between Guybrush and Elaine in the Secret of Monkey Island. The funniest use of the theme though was at the end of the game where Guybrush has a not-so-romantic conversation option and breaks the fourth wall:

  • Guybrush: At least I’ve learnt something from all of this.
  • Elaine: What’s that?
  • Guybrush: Never pay more than 20 bucks for a computer game.
  • Elaine: A what?
  • Guybrush: I don't know. I have no idea why I said that.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Grand Theft Auto IV Review

We built this city. We built this city on guns and coooooOOOKE.

  • Developer: Rockstar North
  • Publisher: Rockstar Games
  • Release Date: 3 December 2008
  • Time played: 4.4 hours (INCOMPLETE)

I never really got into Grand Theft Auto. I kind of appreciated the first one and the earlier games were a blast on multiplayer and Vice City had an awesome 80s soundtrack to boot. However the ability to inflict chaotic pain and suffering onto an unsuspecting populace never really enticed me – although apparently I'm in the minority since the Grand Theft Auto series is one of the most popular you can get. Grand Theft Auto IV (GTA IV) is a bit dated now (especially considering GTA V has just bee released) but I thought I would still give it a go since the game has an outstanding Metacritic rating of 90 and also because there is news that Games for Windows Live is shutting down in the near future.

Plot (3/5)
In GTA IV, you play the role of Niko Bellic, a recent immigrant to Liberty City (which is basically New York) from an unspecified ex-Soviet republic. Niko's purpose for going to the United States is to track down a soldier who betrayed his unit fifteen years before and to also make a new life for himself.

GTA IV's plot is predictable. Not long after you arrive you already get involved with the wrong type of people and the more you try to get ahead, the more blood you'll have on your hands. After playing Sleeping Dogs, GTA IV's plot seems average in comparison and while I obviously haven't played enough to experience what lies in store, I'm not tempted enough by the first few hours to care.

The game is genuinely funny at parts though, when it isn't throwing the obligatory misogynistic jokes that seem to go hand-in-hand with this type of game.

You're Niko; the man that can solve any problem

Gameplay (2/5)
This is your typical GTA game so basically it's a sandbox third-person shooter where you're able to walk, drive or ride around Liberty City at your leisure doing almost anything you want, provided anything you want means stealing cars, shooting people, playing pool, taking your girlfriend on dates or surfing the Internet. In fact, credit where credit is due, the game does have a lot of mini-games and side quests, some are pretty detailed too. The pool mini-game, for example, isn't too far from an actual pool simulator game, if you can master the fiddly controls on PC (more on that later).

Ultimately though, after loving the visceral martial arts combat in Sleeping Dogs, its absence in GTA IV makes it seem inferior. So once again playing Sleeping Dogs has spoiled my experience with GTA IV. Not to mention the entire game is just go from point A to point B, kill people, return to point A, with some cutscenes thrown in. While games like Mafia II were pretty much like this, somehow that game really managed to get you involved and care about the story's characters. I didn't feel the same sense of attachment with the characters in this game and consequently successfully completing the tedious tasks given to me only meant one hollow victory after another.

Sound (4/5)
The voice acting in the game is generally good although there are some characters that sound wooden (take Michelle for example). One of the better examples of voice acting is Coolie Ranx's performance as a Jamaican named Little Jacob. I especially found the voice for this character entertaining as the accent is so strong it's almost indecipherable!

Music (4/5)
I haven't really heard of most of the artists on the soundtrack but the main theme is pretty good – so good that it actually features as a track by the London Philharmonic Orchestra on their album The Greatest Video Game Music:

The game has a lot of licensed music from famous artists but unfortunately it's not usually their hits but usually tracks you've never heard of before.

Graphics (3/5)
GTA IV was released in 2008 which is about 5 years ago now; an eternity by gaming standards and especially when it comes to 3D games. Unfortunately this shows in GTA IV and consequently its graphics score suffers as a result. I even manage to get frame-rate drops every so often for some peculiar reason.

Replay (0/5)
I couldn't do it. I just couldn't get myself through the barrage of aimless misogynous quests. Okay sure, that's just like almost every game to do with the mafia or organised crime right? Well it felt a lot different in games that were clones of GTA as they seemed to have consequences tied to your criminal activity. It generally wasn't as easy to get away with crime. In GTA IV this doesn't appear to be the case except for the occasional cop chasing you for stealing a car.

Polish (3/5)
Controls aren't terribly intuitive obviously thanks to the game being a console port. Also there's the small matter of the game being tied to Games for Windows Live which is apparently being retired next year although there's been no word about what's going on with GTA IV as of yet. Other games such as Bioshock 2 for example, have been converted to SteamWorks, but no news about GTA IV. Will Rockstar step up to the plate or will they once again slap PC gamers in the face?

Score – 6/10

Grand Theft Auto is Grand Theft Auto. It's a game where you get to steal any car you want, murder any person you want and get away with it scot-free (well almost, unless you're caught in the act – but the cops are pretty incompetent). It's every misogynist's fantasy and it does it very well. However, the game is pretty dated now so you're probably better off with newer and far superior fare such as Mafia II or Sleeping Dogs, if you're into this sort of thing.

If you want to get the game, you can get it on Steam .

If you like this game, you might like...


Saturday, October 5, 2013

Battlefield 4 Beta - First Impressions

Oh not doing much... just cruising around Shanghai... in a T-99 tank...

So, originally I wasn't planning on playing the Battlefield 4 Beta, even though I pre-ordered the game (which meant I even had access to the now passed exclusive beta) - but thanks to some "encouragement" from friends (thanks Luke B) I decided to give it a shot - at least the open beta which apparently ends 15 October. Why am I not usually keen on betas? Sure you get to brag that you were there from the start but betas are usually filled with bugs and depending on how poorly coded a game is, that can be quite a few bugs leading to a really frustrating experience.

You're only able to play one map in the beta which is the Siege of Shanghai - it's the one that featured prominently at E3 (the Siege of Shanghai trailer is below):

On the map you get to play as either the USA or China while attempting to take control of an area where one of the flags is situated on a really tall skyscraper. Thanks to one of the newly touted features, "Levolution", you're able to take down the building and the point comes crashing down with it. Not only that but the subsequent dust cloud and debris actually changes visibility on the map somewhat. Definitely one of the awesome ways that the game helps immerse the player into the world. You're also able to call elevators and activate bollards, another nice touch which is seemingly small but means the maps are more interactive as a result. You're now also able to peek around corners although whether this offers a tactical advantage or it's simply just aesthetics is anybody's guess. I'm leaning towards the latter at the moment.

Sadly there is no Commander Mode featured in the beta so I haven't had a chance to see how that works in action. There were also no jets on the map so it remains to be seen if they dominate the battlefield as much as they did in BF3 (I hate jets - they should just get rid of them IMHO - or bring back limited ammo - anyway, that's a rant for another day). I also had some minor frame-rate drops during the most inconvenient moments e.g. going up the elevator to be greeted by three enemies - I was given no opportunity to retaliate. I remember I had a similar issue in Battlefield: Bad Company 2 in its early days which was really frustrating - however I believe they eventually patched it so I'm hoping that will happen here too. I also get this error whenever I try to alt+tab from the game:

ZOMG something about 2D textures? Radeon HD 7800 series not good enough?

Again, hopefully something that will be fixed since what's the point of running Battlelog in a browser window when you can't alt+tab to view it? Apparently this is quite an old build of the game though (the most recent "stable" build) so the "experimental" build or "development" build hopefully has ironed out a lot of bugs already.

I also have some minor pet peeves. In the beta, it seems everyone starts off with the same weapons - i.e. they're not faction-specific meaning there are US riflemen running around with AKs (AK-47s FOR EVERYONE!), which isn't terribly realistic - I'm hoping this is just a result of the beta and not what will actually happen when the game is finally released. A second pet peeve of mine is the fact that they've decided to adopt the Battlefield 3 style of voice acting where soldiers speak their native tongue (good) half of the time and English with a really bad accent (bad) the other half of the time. I preferred the BF2 style where each side would just speak entirely in their native language. Made it more authentic and you didn't need to listen to native English speakers pretend they were Chinese or Russian. I mean the Chinese side almost sound as bad as these guys:

So to summarise:

The Good:

  • It's similar to Battlefield 3
  • Graphics seem pretty awesome - even better than BF3 when it comes to the animations
  • No apparent issues with lag so game's netcode is probably pretty good

The Bad:

  • It's similar to Battlefield 3
  • Some occasional graphical glitches and clipping
  • Bad frame-rate drops every so often that can adversely affect gameplay.
  • Game crashes when alt+tabbing out.
  • Both sides have the same starting equipment
  • Once again, bad voice acting when the non-US side speaks English

Remains to be seen:

  • How badly jets dominate the battlefield
  • Commander Mode

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Choicest Games now to include reviews of incomplete games

Why am I even playing this game?

I've recently changed the About page for the blog to now indicate that Choicest Games will be lifting its embargo on reviews of incomplete games. Originally, I intended to only review games that I had completed or for those that are impossible to complete (e.g. sandbox games) ones I had invested a decent amount of time in. This is what the About page originally said:

We finish the games that we review. Or at least give a damn good try at it. What I hate about many reviews by commercial publications is that they tend to rush their reviews to ensure they meet their deadlines, often not finishing the game and yet giving the game a good score based on the first couple of hours of gameplay. Nothing ruins a game like a sloppy ending and we see this happen all the time with games. It really can spoil the whole experience and games should be rightly marked down for doing so. True, this means our reviews may come out a bit later than normal, but rest assured, when you read a Choicest Games review, you know we've played the game from almost every angle!

There are a few reasons I've taken this stance namely the following:

1. I don't get paid to do this

As mentioned, this is an independent, non-commercial PC game reviews blog. This isn't my job. Consequently I don't get paid to play really bad games. Originally I would try my best to finish the bad games regardless so I could give a fair, unbiased review. However, when you've got so much else going on and better games you could be playing, you start wondering to yourself, why bother?

2. Not all reviews can be positive

Every game I review can't be all good or fantastic games. If I know I've tried my best to give a game every chance to succeed and it still fails to capture my attention, there's probably going to be a lot of other people out there with the same opinion.

3. Excluding reviews of games I haven't completed might bias the average review score

Games I haven't completed are probably usually games I've lost interest in for some reason, usually because of something I didn't like or there was a better game that took my attention away. Consequently these potentially low-scoring games are being excluded from my total collection of reviews which in turn might be the reason my average review score is hovering around 7/10 instead of perhaps a more balanced 5/10.

To keep the reviewing process as transparent as possible to the readers I've decided to add an extra field to future reviews where it states how much time I've spent playing a game and whether I have finished the game or not. Hope you appreciate the changes, let me know what you think!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Walking Dead Season 1 Review

And suddenly.... ZOMBIES!

  • Developer: Telltale Games
  • Publisher: Telltale Games
  • Release Date: 24 April 2012

How on Earth did I end up with the Walking Dead? Well I managed to grab it during the Telltale Humble Bundle! But wait, you say, I thought you said you didn't like zombie games? And you would be right – under normal circumstances. However I did end up playing Deadlight since I've never heard of a zombie platformer before. I've never heard of a zombie adventure game before either which is what The Walking Dead game pretty much is. Couple that with generally positive comments via word-of-mouth and the fact it's made by Telltale Games (a company run by ex-Lucasarts developers) and you're bound to pique my interest.

Plot (5/5)
In first season of The Walking Dead, you play the role of Lee Everett, a professor of history from Atlanta who is also a convicted criminal on his way to prison. On his way there, the police car that is transporting him hits a "walker" (the term for zombies in The Walking Dead) and crashes. When Lee comes to, he finds that the officer has turned into a walker and after killing him stumbles across a house where a little girl is hiding called Clementine. The rest of the game involves Lee and Clementine on a trek across the U.S. state of Georgia, desperately trying to find sanctuary from the hordes of walkers.

Considering the zombie genre isn't usually renowned for their thought-provoking stories, the narrative in this is surprisingly good. And I'm not even a The Walking Dead fan! I did get the opportunity to watch a couple of episodes of it recently though and I must say both the game and the TV series are similar in that the zombies merely act as a plot device to explore how people react in the face of adversity when hope is in short supply. The ethical dilemmas faced in the series keeps you on the edge of your seat wanting to find out more.

While the story leads to more or less the same conclusion, there is a branching narrative in this game so conversations will be slightly different based on your relationships with other characters. There will even be parts of the game where you'll have different people accompanying you based on your past choices, so there is some variation even if it's an illusion of choice if you will.

Gameplay (3/5)
Some might deride the gameplay in The Walking Dead since it basically consists of very simple puzzles ala the adventure game genre incorporated with visual novel elements (e.g. conversations having an impact on character relationships) thrown in with a bit of Quick Time Events (QTEs) for action sequences. So the gameplay is pretty minimal but you play these games for the story anyway. And nothing will beat Dear Esther for sheer futility anyway.

So basically The Walking Dead is a Western take on the typically Japanese visual novel genre, except with zombies. And no hentai.

Gameplay and puzzles are much simpler compared to traditional point 'n' click adventures

Sound (4/5)
Voice acting is great but that's to be expected from veteran voice actors – the only issue I had was that the audio was sometimes too loud or too soft.

Music (4/5)
The game has a suitably atmospheric music soundtrack; while there are no memorable themes it is effective in setting the sombre, depressing mood to the game.

Graphics (4/5)
The graphics are probably the best I've seen in a Telltale game yet adopting a thick edges, comic-book style. The criticisms I have is that occasionally the framerate was a bit jumpy and background scenery tends to be of a low quality (quite noticeable right at the beginning of the game while driving down the highway).

Replay (3/5)
Originally, I was seriously considering replaying the game one more time to see how different choices affected the storyline although after seeing this chart decided against it. It would've been nice if there were a larger variety of achievements to encourage replays since the current crop are just basic completion of milestones (e.g. "Finished Episode 2 Act 2") and not tied with the characters or decisions made.

Polish (4/5)
Unfortunately, as it's a Telltale game, it uses the most recent Telltale Tool so the interface is a very console-friendly one, not a simple point ‘n' click adventure. The game also has the annoying Type 1 save system where progress is autosaved but you never know when the next save point is.

Score – 8/10

I'm not a big fan of zombie games but the story and the impact you can have on the story is that good it kept enticing me to come back for more. I can't wait to see what more is in store for the second season of The Walking Dead.

If you want to get the game, you can get it on Steam or Telltale's website.

If you like this game, you might like...