Review: Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead

This article will discuss Seasons 1 of The Walking Dead by Telltale Games. It will contain heavy spoilers and my thoughts on the series. First, for those that haven’t played the games, a spoiler free synopsis.

Telltale Games has made a name for themselves by producing popular IPs into point and click games.

The first game of theirs I played was Back to the Future in 2011, just before the last chapter was released. I had a blast playing it and it brought me back to my youth when I played games like King’s Quest, Monkey Island and Grim Fandango. It also continued the story of BttF after the trilogy of movies. Hearing that Telltale was going to be releasing a point and click game based on The Walking Dead was wonderful news to me! I had enjoyed the first season of the AMC show and read the first 100 or so issues of the comic. I didn’t end up playing Season 1 until the first 4 chapters had been released, but I was in no way, shape or form disappointed. It was a familiar setting: Georgia at the beginning of the plague that turned humanity into lifeless husks that craved the flesh of the living.

You follow the story of Lee Everett, a convicted killer. On his way to prison, he escapes custody and finds his way to the house of a young girl named Clementine. Lee realizes that Clem’s parents went on vacation to Savannah and were most likely dead, but she wants to find them. Lee agrees to travel with her in her search. That is the major plot of Season 1. Along the way, you meet many other survivors, get into harrowing scenarios and are forced to make decisions that determine who lives and who dies. The game is dynamic, and changed depends on how you interact with other characters and the choices you make. It is, in all honesty, one of the best stories I’ve ever seen in a game. Some of the moments are a little over the top, but overall, this story will pull at your heartstrings and make you question your own morality at times. You will grow with Lee and Clementine and their fellow travelers. I can’t recommend this game enough. It’s currently on sale via Steam.

At this point, the rest of this article is going to full of spoilers. If you’ve played Seasons 1, feel free to continue. I’ll try and keep it broken down by Episode, so even if you’ve played some of Season 1, but not all of it, you can read my thoughts.

Spoilers Ahead

The first thing I want you to do is to go to this link. Leave it open and listen the whole time you’re reading this. It’s one of the things about this series that makes me get emotional EVERY time I hear it. EVERY. TIME. If  you’ve played the game, you know this is Clementine’s Theme. It’s used many times throughout both games and I’ll never get tired of hearing it.

SEASON 1

Episode 1: A New Day

The game throws you into the fray pretty quickly. After you learn that Lee has been convicted of murder and is on his way to prison, he quickly encounters his first walker and is properly freaked out by it. He meets with Clementine and knows that he needs to watch over this girl. Maybe it’s some higher calling, maybe it’s to atone for what he’s done in his past…or, maybe…just maybe, it’s the decent thing to do. On Herschel’s farm (pandering to the fans of the show/comics?), you meet Kenny and his family. Oh, Kenny and his family. They really are the most important thing to him and it’s clear that he’ll do anything to keep them safe.

Muh Family

Kenny quickly became my favorite character besides Lee and Clem. This is also where your first major decision in the game comes up. A walker is attacking Herschel’s son Shawn and Kenny’s son, Duck. You have to choose which one you help. If you help Duck,Shawn dies. if you help Shawn, he lives and Duck is fine, but Kenny will remember that you didn’t help his family.

Episode 1 goes on you end up in Macon, GA. It’s Lee’s hometown and you wind up in his family’s drug store. You meet Glen (yes, THAT Glen) and he hangs with you for a while before heading to Atlanta. There are two more major decisions in this chapter. One is a pretty moralistic choice and the other determines the fate of a character. You come across a woman who has been bitten and she asks for Lee’s gun to kill herself. Carly flips out and is all “YOU CAN’T DO THAT”, but this woman is begging you. The last major decision as you’re heading out of town is to save the life of Doug or Carly.

S1E1

My reasoning:

1) No need to lie. He was kind enough to open his place for us.

2)Duck is a child, and I liked Kenny. Shawn was sort of a goofball who I wouldn’t miss.

3)Kenny is my boy, beginning to end.

4)If she chose to kill herself instead of agonizingly dying, who am I to say no? I’d want that choice if I were in that position.

5)Carly is a good shot, she’s smart and I liked her better. Doug was a nice guy, but that wasn’t marketable in the zombie apocalypse.

Episode 2: Starved For Help

Life in the motel is boring and shitty. Some high school kids show up and you meet Ben. He’s useless, but nice. You find out there is a gang out there and they’re violent. They also find the dairy farm and are invited there by the farms owners, the St. John family. It seems too good to be true, and it is. Lee discovers that the family keeps people alive and cuts their limbs off for meat and rushes to stop everyone in his group from eating human flesh. After some ridiculous fuckery, the group escapes the farm and heads back to their motel.

S1E2

1)Well, it could have saved him.

2)She was shitty and threatening me.

3)He was a dick, but mostly it was because I didn’t want to be in a walk in with a walker.

4)Let the sick fuck live with his dead family.

5)Yes. I have a group to look out for, and they were negligent to just leave it sitting there.

Episode 3: Long Road Ahead

Kenny stresses his desire to leave the motor inn as the RV is working. Lee investigates missing supplies and finds out there’s a turncoat. During the firefight, they all pile into the RV and leave as the motor inn is lost. There are some CRAZY heated arguments in the group and it culminates with Lily killing someone (depending on who is with you from Episode 1) and Lee having to decide her fate. The group continues on, but Duck is now sick as he was bitten in the escape from the motor inn. They come across a train and get it working and meet Charles, a homeless man who was living on the train. Duck is dying and needs to be taken care of. Katjaa takes him into the woods and a gunshot is heard. She actually killed herself, and Lee has to decide who will shoot Duck: himself or Kenny. After all of this death, they keep the train going to Savannah and Ben reveals that he was the one who was giving away supplies to the bandits. Lee almost throws him from the train in rage. The group meets up with Christa and Omid and continues on to Savannah. Just as the episode is about to end, a voice comes from Clem’s walkie talkie. It’s a man who says he’s glad that she’s on her way and that he has her parents. 

S1E3

1)I needed more time to get supplies.

2)Fuck. Her. She killed the only person I liked besides Kenny.

3)Fuck yeah, I fought him. I wasn’t just going to stand there and take it.

4)Kenny just lost his wife. He didn’t need to do this.

5)Christa was more skeptical, but I think a more well suited person to save of the two.

Episode 4: Around Every Corner

The group arrives in Savannah at long last. After a bunch of shit, they end up in a house that has a boat in a garage behind it. Kenny has always had a hard on for boats and has insisted that the best bet is to take a boat and just go out to sea.

God…I forgot how much of this episode was just a blur to me. There was a BUNCH of shit that happens, but the tl;dr of it is this: shit happens and in the end Clem is taken away and Lee is bitten by a walker.

S1E4

1)No one needed to see that or to let him stay in the house where we were holed up.

2)My life was at stake as well as everyone else.

3)I didn’t want her out of my sight.

4)Happily. He betrayed us and was the reason we had to flee the motor inn. He knew what he did and I had zero regret.

5)I’d be an asshole if I didn’t.

Episode 5: No Time Left

This was it. The final episode of this amazing story. With Clem gone and Lee bitten, there weren’t too many ways this could end. The first thing that needs to be addressed in Lee’s arm. You can choose to cut it off or leave it. I decided to cut it off in case I could be saved. Kenny and Ben are removed from the group in one of two scenarios. I was quite upset at this. Kenny was my favorite and I was genuinely sad and cried a little bit. Lee sends off Omid and Christa and takes it upon himself to find and save Clem.

He finally ends up at the Marsh House, the location where Clem’s parents always vacationed and where the man who had her was. Lee confronts the man and he is stunned by Clem from behind and fights Lee. You can choose to kill him or not. Clem and Lee discover that if they’re covered in walker guts, they can walk among them. They try to escape through a herd, and Clem sees her parents as walkers. Lee passes out and wakes up in a jewelry store that Clem dragged him into. Lee knows this is it for him, and he has Clem handcuff him to a radiator. He then asks her to shoot him so he doesn’t turn. I cried for a good solid 5 minutes during this entire exchange. Lee tells her that Christa and Omid are waiting for her and when she leaves here to find them. You get to choose your final words for Clem, but they’re all equally heartbreaking. I told her to stay strong and always be on the move. She shoots Lee in the head and escapes Savannah. The last scene we see is Clem walking in a field just outside the city and seeing two figures on a hill. They turn to her and she gets a scared look on her face. Cut to black.

S1E5

1)Figured it was going to be better in the long run.

2)He was being an ass… I love him, but he went too far.

3)Clem’s life was on the line and mine was almost over.

4)I left him to rot.

5)This was twofold: I didn’t want Lee to turn, and it taught Clem a valuable lesson.

And…that was it for Season 1. They released some DLC a while after to tide us over until Season 2. It was called 400 Days and dealt with 5 random people who all came into contact with this particular truck stop during their story. One of the characters goes on to be involved in Season 2.

S1 400 Days

1)He seemed like more of a dick.

2)I got out. Clearly he was freaked out and I felt responsible.

3)What a sick fuck…glad I left.

4)I couldn’t. It would have looked suspicious.

5)I…tough decisions had to be made. I didn’t want this to become a Carver situation. I realize that when this was released that no one knew who Carver was yet, but given that I just played this after completing Season 2, I do.

 

This has been a LONG post. I’m going to end here for now, and do Season 2 in another post. Thanks for reading. Feel free to comment and share your thoughts!

 

 

 

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