The Walking Dead (from Telltale Games) - Catch All

Crhis wrote:

Is this going to come back and bite me in the ass in the end? I've seen there's a lot of 'Clementine noticed you did x' that isn't always specific to the narrative of that episode - am I going to get some overall 'Clementine Character Approval Rating' at the end of the 5th episode that'll be screwed up now because it forgot all the cool stuff I did in Episode 1 or can I go ahead without worrying too much?

Just run with it. Your choices will change the characters and how they interact, but you can't "break" anything, if that's what you're worried about.

Finished it.

It hasn't gotten dusty for me playing a video game since I was an impressionable teen and Aeris died.

I dunno if that was the best "game", but no story in any game I played this year has come close to that. That was amazing, and wonderful, and I fully appreciate getting to go through it.

Spoiler:

I can understand why people might make the "in the end, your decisions don't matter" criticism, and honestly, I feel like that's missing the point. This was more about characters, more of a movie than other games. You can't always save the world and walk off into the sunset, although that's what we've been trained to do in every game.

I only did one rewind in the entire game, when I let Ben fall in Ep. 4. I felt awful about it, went back, and helped him up. Even though he died, I felt 10,000% better about it.

Wonderful. Sad, beautiful, and wonderful. I think this did the Zombie Apocalypse trope better than any other media I've seen.

Spoiler:

No TV show or movie can quite capture the dread and inevitability, because it's not us making those choices. We're invested, but it's not as personal. This made the Zombie Apocalypse a real apocalypse, where everything's gone to sh*t, and all your decisions are either bad ones, or worse ones.

I'm just really happy I got to play that. It's really nice to see games be ambitious and realize that narratives can be emotionally gripping, affecting and interesting, and that the stereotypical defintion of "fun" isn't A.) the be-all end-all, or B.) Crouch-jumping around maps blowing up everything that moves.

EDIT:

Spoiler:

Also, as a sidenote, and i'm TOTALLY trying not to go all P&C here, but it's kinda funny that the video game managed to depict a much more multicultural group and Georgia than the show has, a criticism of the TV show I've seen around. Not making a moral judgement, just something I noticed.

This has been sitting on my pile ever since I bought it during one of last year's steam sales, and I finally got around to playing it. Fired it up on monday, and ended up playing through the first two episodes in one sitting. Took a break, played through the third episode, and finished up episodes 4 and 5 on tuesday.
Holy sh*t.
I think this might be my game of the year for 2012. It's one of the best video game stories I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing. And yeah, it got pretty damn dusty in my apartment at times.

muttonchop wrote:

I think this might be my game of the year for 2012. It's one of the best video game stories I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing. And yeah, it got pretty damn dusty in my apartment at times.

I couldn't agree more! It was an absolute pleasure being able to experience such an AMAZING story. The character interaction, the emotion, the ending, maaaaaannn. I played 4&5 back to back because I had to know what was going to happen. I would have to say this was probably the best overall game I played all year last year and I would go as far as saying this game has the best story I've ever played. Perhaps not the most original, but the acting and interaction within that story is what really hits home.

Story spoilers:

Spoiler:

I've never played a game that made me want to cry like a child, VERY touching and crushing at the same time

I decided to start this last night, and stayed up too late on a worknight to wrap up episode 1.

I've avoided spoilers for the most part, knowing I'd eventually pick this series up and play it once all five episodes were released. All I have to say is, they better not kill off Clementine. Best obvious use of an NPC to emotionally invest the player ever.

...I have a thread to visit now!

Oh, I wanted to add a comment about that, spoilering it even though it's very very minor:

Spoiler:

When I got to the drugstore and Clem needed to pee, I selected the "just go ahead and go" dialogue option, but because I was thinking it would be a constructive statement (like "it's ok Clem, just go ahead and go while you can"). Instead, Lee spits it out in an impatient angry manner, and I felt really damn bad for Clem. Instant emotional engagement, because my dad got angry like that a lot when I was a kid, and the hurt expression on her face... daaaaamn.

So far they've really done a bang-up job on the dialogue and characters.

Yeah, everything involving Clementine was brilliant. Pretty much all of my decisions in the game boiled down to "how can I protect her while teaching her to survive". Lee's needs didn't matter. The rest of the group only mattered so long as they increased Clem's odds of survival.

(episode 5 spoilers)

Spoiler:

And in the end it all paid off. I don't care how little my choices actually affected the game's outcome, because when I watched Clem save Lee from the Stranger and then save him again when he collapsed in the street, I felt so goddamn proud of her. The protected had become the protector. She was capable of surviving on her own. Mission f*cking accomplished.

That little girl kept me more invested in the story than anything else could. She brought out all sorts of protective instincts that I, a bachelor with no children, didn't even realize I had.

muttonchop wrote:

That little girl kept me more invested in the story than anything else could. She brought out all sorts of protective instincts that I, a bachelor with no children, didn't even realize I had.

Me too, except I don't like kids and think they're manipulative in video games. Kids are usually lazy characters, the writer basically saying, "I don't need to develop this walking plot point as a character because you're obligated to care about little kids, and also they're totally invulnerable but will get actual characters killed through their uselessness." In The Walking Dead, neither of those things is the case, and for that I salute them.

Speaking of how awesome and innovative The Walking Dead is, there's a new trailer for the most obvious and cynical adaptation of the series ever, which will undoubtedly cost two to three times as much! Hooray!

Seriously, it looks like a cheap rip-off of Left 4 Dead.

Right on, Lobster. Clem, at least so far at the completion of Episode 1, feels less like a cheap ploy and more like a legitimate character. Which is precisely why at this point I'm totally engaged in playing the rest of the series with an eye to prioritizing her well-being over anything else.

All I can say Farscry is that you are in for an absolute treat. And there are points were the line between what's best for her well-being and what needs to be done is REALLY fuzzy. Some difficult decisions lie ahead of you my friend, but you will enjoy ever single one of them by the end. Still can't get over how amazing this game is. You know that feeling you had as a child when you first played through Final Fantasy III or Chrono Trigger? That sheer enjoyment and bliss that you look back on now and think "man they don't make games like they once did". For the first time in 15 years I felt that again, and it felt damn good

That's some seriously high praise, Conformist. I'm definitely looking forward to it!

In fact, I'm firing up episode 2 in just a couple minutes.

I think it's a testament to this game's writing that I was so invested in the characters even though the animation was just... bad.

Actually, I think it's a testament to the game as a whole that it has ended up on so many folks' best-of lists with all the problems that it has.

One of the best storys and some of the best storytelling in all of video games.

Re: Episode 2 (not sure how close to the end I am but I've got to be getting close; had to put it down for Civ night with a couple buddies):

...

HOLY f*ckING sh*t

LobsterMobster wrote:

Me too, except I don't like kids and think they're manipulative in video games. Kids are usually lazy characters, the writer basically saying, "I don't need to develop this walking plot point as a character because you're obligated to care about little kids, and also they're totally invulnerable but will get actual characters killed through their uselessness." In The Walking Dead, neither of those things is the case, and for that I salute them.

And let's face it, kids in video games usually are! Annoying, manipulative, because they're poorly written. And that's one of the driving forces in Walking Dead, the fact that Clementine is so well-written, and you genuinely care what happens to her.

Farscry wrote:

Oh, I wanted to add a comment about that, spoilering it even though it's very very minor:

Spoiler:

When I got to the drugstore and Clem needed to pee, I selected the "just go ahead and go" dialogue option, but because I was thinking it would be a constructive statement (like "it's ok Clem, just go ahead and go while you can"). Instead, Lee spits it out in an impatient angry manner, and I felt really damn bad for Clem. Instant emotional engagement, because my dad got angry like that a lot when I was a kid, and the hurt expression on her face... daaaaamn.
So far they've really done a bang-up job on the dialog and characters.

I remember that part very clearly. I picked a different response, but Lee answers in the same fashion. I think it's to show how tense the situation was at that point, and boy is it effective!!

I wrote a blog post about how Walking Dead uses the principles of economical narrative design to surpass its peers in the storytelling department.

Did you ever have that moment in Mass Effect 3 where some guy walks up to you and tells you all about how you changed his life in the first game, but you don't remember who he is or what you did for him? That is essentially the sort of thing you want to avoid.

After staying up way too late all this week, I finished ep. 5 last night. I had a couple nights where I had a hard time falling asleep because it was so emotionally engaging/upsetting.

The story was, quite frankly, remarkable. It wasn't happy and I didn't enjoy it per se (soo depressing!), but it was incredibly engaging and moving. I loved the graphics, loved the style, and aside from some of the shooting elements, loved the gameplay.

There were a few elements I would really have liked to have resolved, and frankly I thought the ending was cheap. I sometimes wonder if Kirkman hates his fans because he just wont let us have happy endings. I remember being basically despondent after finishing the first series of his comic (end of the big prison story arc). I got that vibe here as well.

I am definitely interested in season two, and will certianly be playing it - but I wish we could get a little bit of hope:)

*Edit*
Also, yah Lobby, that activision WD game looks like a disgusting cash grab and an unecessary game. I hope it flops.

Has it been posted in here that the Activision trailer that leaked was not a real trailer? It was put together from footage that was shown to the press but never meant to be shown to the public.

4xis.black wrote:

Did you ever have that moment in Mass Effect 3 where some guy walks up to you and tells you all about how you changed his life in the first game, but you don't remember who he is or what you did for him?

Sure I remember! He was that guy with that dead stare that stood still as he talked with the exception of shifting his weight and crossing or uncrossing his arms.

Finally got back to TWD and played episodes 2 and 3. Here are some thoughts, and I haven't read the previous 25 pages of this thread, so pardon any repetition:

Holy crap, if I had the disc version of this game, I would be throwing it out the window.

Let's get one thing out of the way: this game's story, and more importantly the player's investment in the story, is head and shoulders above almost any other narrative game I've played—and it's a zombie game, for crying out loud. I have to make tough—ethically tough, not just economically tough (lots of ADAM now, or little ADAM and a gift later?)—decisions, I'm attached to characters, I've reacted emotionally, and felt genuine regret about some of my actions. But we all know that. So that's clear. Game of the year, right?

Look at the Fisker Karma. An amazing, forward-thinking luxury hybrid-electric sportscar. The wheels are driven by the electric motors only, while the gas motor powers a generator. 400 combined horsepower. 0-60 in 6.3 seconds. Made with salvaged materials and sustainable leather. The roof is a solar panel to power the dashboard and cabin lights. They almost regularly burst into flames.

So... not quite car of the year quality there. No argument there I would think.

I haven't been able to start an episode of TWD without issue. Starting Ep 2 instead continued my last save from Ep 1 to the credits and then returned to the main menu. I had to Google a workaround, which meant copying my save and starting from there. Starting Ep 3 instead loaded the beginning of Episode 1. Fortunately the save-copy trick worked again.

What will happen when I try to start Ep 4? I'm not confident my choices from previous episodes will carry through, dealing with workarounds like these, severely undercutting the strength of this game. How is such a fundamental piece of functionality so broken? Does the disc version suffer this same problem? Imagine starting the third mission of Dishonored, and being dumped back in the prison unless you copy your save and load that—that would be unacceptable.

That's my objective complaint about this game, my "it's pretty great, except for the bursting-into-flames" observation.

I also have a subjective criticism: I wish—dearly wish—all the agency in this game was restricted to dialogue choices. In every other instance of interaction, the game suffers. They feel like they're obligated to be there, because it's a "game". But the puzzles are make-work (get the key; open the lock; open the door), and the "action" segments are of course the worst. Their fail-states are pointless: instead of having different consequences, like the dialogue, Lee is usually killed, you get a meaningless "You are dead" screen, and then are booted back to try it all over again. They aren't fun, they aren't mentally-demanding, they're barely even performative (obey screen: mash button). They sour the experience, obliterating any emotional investment I'd made up to that point, and replacing it with annoyance and frustration. Adding insult to injury, the game won't even allow the player to invert the Y axis, exacerbating every shooting segment for me and I assume many others.

So that's a Fisker Karma with a hand crank. Which could still explode at any moment.

There really is an amazing game in TWD, but I've never seen something so good matched—and marred—in the same work by issues, technical and designed, so bad. On the whole, TWD is a huge achievement, and normally that would be enough to forgive another game's faults, as we so often do. But I'm still fuming about the obtuse action sequences that deflated my play yesterday, and not looking forward to seeing if/how Ep 4 will start—which have pushed out how I felt about *SPOILER* suddenly *SPOILERING* *SPOILER*. And that's not good.

First thing I'll address is the non-dialogue gameplay. Oddly enough I actually really enjoyed them, though I wish there were more puzzle combat segments like in Episode 1 when you're at the motel. I liked how that all worked together as it was a challenging, but not obtuse, puzzle that was also confined to the immediate area with clear objectives.

There's another moment like that in episode 4, but it's shorter and a tad more obtuse I think.

But I also only died twice throughout all five episodes. Most of all, I'm kind of surprised that people on PC had issue with some of those moments when I played on PS3. I can understand frustration with the lack of inversion, though.

As for the bugs, see, I only experienced two on the PS3, so it didn't bug me that much. But I also forgot about them due to the whole experience. Considering how often I have railed against Bethesda and Rockstar for getting GOTY for broken products, though, I imagine if I had been in your shoes I'd feel the same.

Understandable, then.

I'm through Episode 3 so far and... damn. Just damn.

Also, with the exception of the parts where you have to make snap decisions in action bits (and the decisions lead to repercussions), I too find most of the stuff that's not either dialogue, character interactions, or exploration (there's precious little of that, though) to be tedious. No, I didn't even like the "puzzle" segment at the motel in Episode 1.

I have one episode left and will be posting some thoughts. I have some pretty serious issues with the game. The story is great at least, and the choose your own adventure options are great.

Gravey wrote:

I'm not confident my choices from previous episodes will carry through, dealing with workarounds like these, severely undercutting the strength of this game. How is such a fundamental piece of functionality so broken?

This really soured me on the game. I played episode one and then ended, opened it up later to play episode two and decisions I had made had been completely reversed. I stopped playing for about two months because I didn't feel like replaying and making choices based on what I knew would be saved. I just recently picked it up again and have almost finished episode two, but I can't help but wonder if something will cause my save to go AWOL.

ccesarano wrote:

Sure I remember! He was that guy with that dead stare that stood still as he talked with the exception of shifting his weight and crossing or uncrossing his arms.

"Why didn't we win videogame ssssssstory of the year, massssster? We crossessssss all the arms!"

ccesarano wrote:

As for the bugs, see, I only experienced two on the PS3, so it didn't bug me that much. But I also forgot about them due to the whole experience. Considering how often I have railed against Bethesda and Rockstar for getting GOTY for broken products, though, I imagine if I had been in your shoes I'd feel the same..

I'm not even sure it's a PS3 versus PC versus whatever other platform this game is on. I played the PC, and did not have a single issue, not one. I didn't have to tinker my saves, I didn't have to copy, Google anything, nothing. I'm genuinely surprised when people report the kind of problem Gravey has had. And Gravey, really, I'm very sorry that you've had so many issues, it's baffling.

Like ccesarano, I too must've died maybe twice, perhaps three times at the most during the game. And again, I'm playing on the PC. I didn't find the QTEs annoying for once, I really thought they added a sense of urgency to the moment.

Still pushing my hubby to play it, but he keeps putting it off. All he seems to paly is Backgammon on our iPad, it drives me up a wall. Backgammon when there's the Walking Dead to be played and experienced for the very first time? Really?

The only technical problem I had was at the end of episode 5 - the summary screen showing peoples choices was blank, and it hung so I missed the sequence after the credits and didn't know about it until I read about it here.

I spent most of TWD wishing the 'game' would go away so that I could just 'choose your own adventure' with zombies. Still think it's great, though.

Finished. Had to copy my save for each episode, but my previous choices were preserved.

So I really liked this game, excluding the action sequences, but feel Episode 5 was by far the weakest part.

Spoiler:

The storycraft had been rock-solid up to that point, but then in the alley with Kenny and the injured Ben and a single bullet, why didn't Kenny just shoot Ben before closing the gate on Lee, i.e. shoot Ben, then escape with Lee? Kenny had plenty of time, given the speed the zombies were coming and how much yakking he and Lee were doing.

Then afterwards, after giving a response to Omid and Christa, I get the notification "Kenny will remember this." Will he.

And as I mentioned earlier, obtuse action sequences blunted or downright soured what should have been emotionally involved scenes. My investment in the climax with the stranger was undone by the interrupting button-mashing—an adult story does not juxtapose well with gameplay from Hyper Bishi Bashi Champ (which is an awesome game, but in a totally separate realm from TWD).

So instead how do I feel about the end? Slightly annoyed and my thumb is sore.

muttonchop wrote:

(episode 5 spoilers)

Spoiler:

And in the end it all paid off. I don't care how little my choices actually affected the game's outcome, because when I watched Clem save Lee from the Stranger and then save him again when he collapsed in the street, I felt so goddamn proud of her. The protected had become the protector. She was capable of surviving on her own. Mission f*cking accomplished.

In a sense, but I felt that was undermined by the final puzzle.

Spoiler:

It's also a legitimate interaction between Clem and Lee, and it casts doubt on Clem's ability to survive on her own. Yes, she killed the stranger and dragged Lee into the store—but now you still have to tell her what to do, every step of the way, even getting the goddamn stool which is right there so she can reach the lock. You can argue that it's one final puzzle, part and parcel of the genre, but it's not exactly a brain-burner. You can excuse its game-iness, but I can't ignore the fact that if you don't tell Clem what to do, she'll just stand there.

Which, if nothing else, appropriately shades the denouement a touch darker. Where are Omid and Christa? Clem is nine. No one survives.

Gravey wrote:
Spoiler:

It's also a legitimate interaction between Clem and Lee, and it casts doubt on Clem's ability to survive on her own. Yes, she killed the stranger and dragged Lee into the store—but now you still have to tell her what to do, every step of the way, even getting the goddamn stool which is right there so she can reach the lock. You can argue that it's one final puzzle, part and parcel of the genre, but it's not exactly a brain-burner. You can excuse its game-iness, but I can't ignore the fact that if you don't tell Clem what to do, she'll just stand there.

Which, if nothing else, appropriately shades the denouement a touch darker. Where are Omid and Christa? Clem is nine. No one survives.

Spoiler:

That is really interesting. For me, the last interactions with Clem were pretty fluid. I was so involved in the story, I never thought twice about the stool. Not even in retrospect. Those last minutes were filled with so much emotion, I guess maybe I was doing what the game told me to do in order to keep the story moving (even though I didn't want it to end). If that makes any sense at all...

Gravey wrote:
Spoiler:

The storycraft had been rock-solid up to that point, but then in the alley with Kenny and the injured Ben and a single bullet, why didn't Kenny just shoot Ben before closing the gate on Lee, i.e. shoot Ben, then escape with Lee? Kenny had plenty of time, given the speed the zombies were coming and how much yakking he and Lee were doing.

Episode 5 spoiler

Spoiler:

I think Ken was through. At that point he didn't care anymore. He wanted to die. It was never an option for him to kill himself outright though. He resented Katjaa for doing it earlier.

They alluded to this I think when they saw the corpses of that couple who killed themselves in bed together.

I just finished Episode 5. How dare they make me feel ways about things.

Anyway, I'm definitely wondering what next season will be like.

Spoiler:

The stuff you tell Clem at the end, maybe that's sort of a voting mechanism for the beginning of the next game, i.e. - if more people decided that Clem should go with Omid and Christa than they are likely to be in the next episode. Same if you told them to meet at the train or look for a boat. The infrastructure is already there to track this stuff.