Once in a while we all feel a bit disillusioned with video games, like every big new title that comes out is really digging us deeper into some cultural backwater. Next time you feel like that, fire up The Walking Dead, the latest adventure game from Telltale Games, loosely based on the comic books of the same name. I played through the first two episodes and was totally engrossed, despite previously thinking I despised all adventure games.
The game places a very heavy focus on character interactions, and this is where the real success lies. Every other survivor immediately seems believable and important, and to top it off the interactions between them and you actually feel like they have a real effect on the game. I feel like we finally have a true character-based game with conflict and mechanics that use conversations rather than violence, and it works fantastically.
The actual decisions you make during the game can be pretty difficult to make. Sometimes they are urgent choices like who to try to rescue, other times like who to side with as leader of your small band of survivors. I tried to stay neutral for most of it, attempting to please everyone, but got called out on it hard. When I was given the four items of food for rations, and told to spread it between the ten survivors, I really struggled to decide - not just who I liked but who I thought would be useful later on and who I wanted to placate.
The game has so much good stuff going on I really can’t recommend it enough. Two episodes of the current ‘season’ are out, and episodes are short and sweet - I played through them in one sitting each. The game is on pretty much every platform, including iOS, so please check it out if you want to feel excited about what games can do again.