Julkaistu 19. huhtikuu.
Warning: If your seriously allergic to BS storylines maybe just stay away from this game or at least rush through the first three episodes. Otherwise The Walking Dead Season 1 comes highly recommended. I am allergic to BS, though.
Okay, I do not hate The Walking Dead Season 1 and its five episodes because that would imply that I planned to spend energy to go against the game in the future. However, the game did cause me considerable discomfort, i.e. the storyline is almost unbearably bad in the first three episodes and the user interface is a little lacking. It was hard enough to convince myself to go on after the first episode but I like things finished. To be fair, the last episode is excellent and compensated me a bit. I was presented with dozens of inconveniences or cringe-worthy occurrences. Since listing all of them would exceed Steam's review character limit I will keep it short and I will start on positive notes.
The Walking Dead Season 1 is one of Telltale's episodic adventures and shares a lot of their usual positive features. We see 3D character models with comic art textures that make every screenshot look almost like a comic book panel. The voice-acting is awesome and music is used sparingly and skilfully applied to support scenes. The story that is told adapts to major decisions made throughout episodes but is otherwise pretty linear. Characters mostly make sense individually but are not believable in groups.
+ Telltale game engine produces look close to comic book optics
+ Skilful use of good music
+ Awesome voice-acting
+ Savegames can be copied to another slot
+ Clementine and Molly
- Cringe-worthy storyline
- Somewhat lacking user interface
- "Let's not model that" positioning of character and camera
- No fast-forward for text or skip dialogue
- Navigation to earlier scene could easily be done more intuitively
- Only three slots for savegames
- Invisible walls
- Sometimes loading screens have a low resolution
- Mandatory episode previews/trailers even when all of them are installed
- Slight differences between voiced dialogue and subtitles.
I am aware that storylines need to build suspense but its the narrator's responsibility to do that in a believable fashion. I feel like the frequency of stupid decisions and the wide-spread absence of reflection evidences the narrators failure to rise to the task. Here are a few examples:
* Main char cannot get to a brick that looks like it is within arms reach. Plus there are items available to increase reach.
* People usually talk several seconds to start communicating the presence of danger, then again multiple seconds to actually react.
* At some point the lookout yells undead are coming but they are actually distracted up until the yelling.
* When needing to move a car one of the pushers has a bad lag while another fully able, close-by person is not pushing.
* Three people with one weapon. They find an icepick. They find a fire axe, reason enough to dispose of the icepick.
* Group of six, one of them injured, have two rifles and one axe. The injured one is carried by a person with a rifle.
* Throughout the series characters seldom carry small weapons for close combat or making sure the dead don't rise again.
* Cry outside, rifle inside. With some seconds between them, two people run outside without any weapon.
* When scouting for supplies, the main character isn't carrying a backpack or bag.
* (paraphrased) "Your child should really be over trauma A." - "Your child should be over trauma B." - [aggressively]"You're talking about my child here."
* "We are all carrying guns now." About half an inconsequential hour of in-game time later: Multiple characters cannot defend themselves against attackers.
The game's user interface tends to have over-specific and off-target hotspots for object interaction. You may see objects taking up considerable screen space but their interaction area is only as big as the hotspot icon even outside action scenes - this takes a turn for the better from episode 3 and on. Off-target example: At one point you have to chop through a board with the hotspot barely touching the board let alone close to where you would and actually do chop.
You cannot scan the screen for hotspots during dialogue.
There is an interesting design decision considering the cursor. The game makes an effort to keep the mouse cursor in position when the camera perspective changes. When that happens you can actually move the mouse but it feels awkward, like the mouse sensitivity is drastically reduced.
And sometimes keeping the cursor position simply doesn't work. It looks like the cursor is not pinned the background but to a plane closer to the camera resulting in a parallax effect.
A few of the collectible objects, e.g. batteries, have their graphics stand out against the background model, think plants in Resident Evil, yet even when you know what to do with those objects you have to wait until the story catches up before being able to interact.
It looks like sometimes the camera angle and object positioning is designed to avoid further modelling. There are scene where you see a character currently looking from inside a previously used/modelled room instead of what they are looking at. And there are scenes where the character model is put between the camera and whatever new object you just found.
You cannot forward or skip dialogue. Again, this is probably connected to the games decision-mechanics. If you don't read the dialogue, how can you make an informed decision, right? The thing is, this decision should always be up to the player, especially for games that want to add replay-value. With the way things are, I cannot get myself to play the alternative storylines.
Savegames handle in a strange variant of the way VHS tapes would. Each savegame has a progress position. When you select a savegame the game scrolls through episodes (no skip or halt) until your current one shows. From there you cannot jump to an episode directly but have to click to go through their sequence, then select. Then to select a scene you have to go through the sequence of scenes, this time movement keys are supported. Why not support the mouse-wheel or mouse-dragging for going through the sequence? In any case you have to click play to start the scene, no key for that. Why not have double-click to select episode, then scene? Furthermore, why not simply have dashboard with direct access to all episodes, then one for scenes.
After "rewinding" to a scene in this way later scenes cannot be selected anymore unless you play up to them. Nevertheless the beginnings of episodes are always available and, for some reason, after rewinding they retaining decisions made before rewinding even for decisions after the point rewound to. I'm guessing that design decision is somehow owed to the decision-based nature of the game.
I like that you can simply copy a savegame, thus providing a way to save your overall progress and access to individual scenes. Then again there are only three slots for savegames.
The Walking Dead Season 1 is recommended for people that have a higher tolerance for BS storyline than I have. If you were fine with the way the TV series seasons 1 and 2 were told then this game will probably be a highlight in your steam library.