Review: The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season (PSV)

walking-dead-season-1-review-banner

Title: The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season
Format: Game Card / PlayStation Network Download (2.3 GB)
Release Date: August 20, 2013
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Original MSRP: $24.99 (Game Card) / $19.99 (PSN)
ESRB Rating: M
The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season is also available on PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade, PC, Mac OS X and iOS.
The PlayStation Vita download version was used for this review.

Audio Review:
The audio review for this game is available on Episode 334 of the podcast.

Gameplay:
Released on the PlayStation Network to critical acclaim in 2012, The Walking Dead from Telltale Games dropped players into the same universe as the comic and TV show and left them to fight to survive in a hostile world filled with ravenous hoards of animated corpses.

Collecting the entire First Season and the recent DLC 400 Days, the game is essentially a point-and-click adventure where you’ll have limited control over the movement of the character. This is exactly the same game that was released on the PSN last year so don’t be expecting anything new. I don’t mean that in a bad way, in fact, just the opposite. It’s great to have the game on the Vita, available at any time.

2013-08-21-2346182013-08-21-235758

It’s mainly the story of Lee Everett and a child whose parents are missing, Clementine. The two make an unlikely pair but they’re always there for each other. The story itself can be brutal at times and you’re forced to make hard choices with little to no time to think about it. That’s what the game does best, putting you in impossible situations and forcing you to make a split-second gut decision. The choices you make and dialogue you choose will alter the story in subtle ways and it’s fun to go back and play the episodes with different choices to see how it can play out.

There are a few minor differences to the way the game plays if you go with the Vita-specific control scheme. Taking advantage of the touch screen, you’ll be able to move the main character, Lee, around by touching where you want him to go. You can also look around by swiping the screen on any direction. I wasn’t really sold on these options as it’s much easier to just use the left and right sticks on the Vita.

Where the touch screen really came in handy though was in the rest of the action, dialogue choices, examining the area, action cues and in a way, it makes the game much easier. Instead of frantically lining up your aiming icon to kick or shoot a Walker, you can just tap the screen exactly where you need to. While many of your targets will be moving, it’s still immensely easier to do it this way.

2013-08-21-2353482013-08-22-0914392013-08-23-1010142013-08-29-171331

You’re also able to examine specific areas in your location highlighted by white dots. These can, of course, be turned off for more of a challenge. Your interaction with other characters consists of a series of dialogue choices either mapped to the face buttons or simply chosen by tapping on a response. The touch screen works best here as you’ll often have limited time to make a choice and you’re less likely to tap by mistake than hit the wrong button. The nice thing is, when the Touch control option is enabled, you can still use the left stick to move around, giving you the best of both worlds.

The 400 Days DLC tells a smaller set of stories about five different survivors over the course of a little more than a year. Meant to be a bridge between Season One and Season Two, your choices will set things up for the next game when it’s released. A full review of the DLC is available here.

Visuals:
We all figured this was a game that would do particularly well on the Vita and it doesn’t disappoint. The hand drawn style of the characters and settings are translated beautifully to the Vita’s OLED screen. It’s a unique look, both cartoony and detailed at the same time.

2013-08-24-1834162013-08-22-083538

Characters show enough to let you know how they feel about you by their faces alone. The dead are in varying disgusting states of decomposition and the deaths can be straight up nasty. if you’re dying or being attacked, the screen starts to go red, working from the edges in, adding a visceral sense of your mortality to the whole thing.

It looks absolutely great, pretty much identical to the PSN version from last year and almost all the glitches are gone.

Audio:
The voice acting is all really great, with strong characters showing a range of emotions, there’s really no let down from anyone. The music tends to be subtle until it really needs to make a statement and grab your attention. While it’s not quite up to the level of the tv show, it’s still quite good and really keeps you in the moment. The rest of the audio is pretty fantastic, with the rustle of leaves, the sounds of the dead, blunt instruments bashing in skulls, you get the picture. Obviously, on the Vita, playing with headphones on is highly recommended.

2013-08-24-1827542013-08-24-182804

Online/Multiplayer:
There’s no online in the traditional sense, but if you’re connected to the PlayStation Network while playing, your choices are recorded and then compared against everyone who played and connected at the end of each Episode.

At the end of the final chapter, there’s an even more detailed set of comparison screens with who lived and died and how that stacked up against other players. It’s a cool way to keep you connected and see just how twisted you may be in the choices you make.

Conclusion:
Having the complete First Season of The Walking Dead along with the 400 Days DLC available on the Vita is just awesome. Almost all the bugs from the first time around are gone leaving you to focus on the story with minimal distraction, and what a story it is.

At times, terrifying, heartwarming and even heartbreaking, you’ll run the gamut of emotions while playing through the game and it’ll leave you clamoring for Season Two.

Score:
9.5

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the PlayStation Vita’s built-in screen capture functionality.

Flag_of_the_United_States.svg
Buy this game from Amazon.com:

Flag_of_the_United_Kingdom.svg
Buy this disc from Amazon.co.uk:
Flag_of_Canada.svg
Buy this game from Amazon.ca:

 

Written by Josh Langford

Josh Langford

Josh has been gaming since 1977 starting with the Atari 2600.
He currently owns 25 different consoles and 6 different handhelds (all hooked up and in working condition) including all consoles from the current generation – minus the Switch.

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook