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The Walking Dead EP1: General Lee

By Shamus
on Tuesday Nov 27, 2012
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning


Link (YouTube)

As Rutskarn points out in the opening, this is a gameplay idea that hasn’t worked in the past (Indigo Prophecy / Heavy Rain) using a game associated with some uninspiring titles (Back to the Future and Jurassic Park) and drawing from source material that most of us dislike. And so it was somewhat of a surprise to see just how good the final product turned out to be. The Heavy Rain gameplay was a workable idea, it just needed to be leveraged properly. The Telltale tech was fine, it just needed the right type on interactions. And the Walking Dead is fine, it just needed a little more pathos and a little less “dysfunctional reality TV cast of shallow jerks caught in the zombie apocalypse”. All of these ideas were improved by combining them. It shouldn’t have worked. It did.

Here is the cover image Josh was talking about in this episode:


Some people asked why we were willing to put up with the timed conversation options in this game and not in Alpha Protocol. One reason is that we’re just way more excited about this game and willing to overlook a few frustrations. But the larger reason is because they’re a lot less obnoxious here. In Alpha Protocol, I was often still trying to parse the choices when the timer ran out. Wait, if I pick aggressive is that just going to threaten this guy or am I really going to hurt him? If I pick professional will I… oops. Too late. I ran out of time and the game picked for me. I was always surprised by the random crap Thornton was doing in conversations, which made me really gun-shy with dialog choices, which was exacerbated by the short-fuse timer, which was then turned into a circus of mayhem by the game’s tendency to just pick FOR YOU.

In The Walking Dead, the choices are much clearer, the timer is longer, and picking nothing usually signifies saying nothing. If you don’t pick, Lee is simply stoic and silent. There are a couple of quick decisions in the game, but those are usually clear binary choices with understandable time pressure imposed by the story itself, not arbitrary time pressure added to make talking more videogame-y. Also, the REALLY though choices have incredibly long timers. I think some of them last a minute or so. Again, it’s enough time to mull it over, but not so much that you can put the controller down and and come back an hour later to find everyone still waiting patiently for you to answer the question.

Our spoiler policy for this season is going to be to freely spoil stuff in the current episode (particularly stuff that will happen in the next hour of gameplay) but otherwise avoid them.

Comments (327)

  1. anaphysik says:

    Woot, managed to get Season 1 played before Spoiler Warning started. This’ll be the first time that I’m “playing along” with SW. Just need to make sure I spare the time for ~a Season a week, I think.

    So can we elaborate on that SPOILERS policy? Like, Season 1 spoilers are fair game, but Season 2/3/4/5 spoilers should be in strike tags and appropriately prefaced by an “S2/S3/S4/S5” indicator for people that have gotten further in than SW, but not beaten the game? Then when SW gets to Season 2, that S2 tag can be dropped/ (Another more restrictive option: all spoilers not covered in-show should be strike-tagged, with S2/3/4/5 spoilers getting the extra tag as well.) And of course anything that Spoiler Warning has already been through can be freely spoiled, including missed options, outcomes of different choices, etc.

    Something like that sound good?

  2. Xanyr says:

    Question, have all the Spoiler Warning cast finished this game already?

    • Josh says:

      Yeah, we’ve all finished the game through episode 5. It’s rare to find a game we’re all playing all at once, but things just seemed to come together right for this season.

      • Xanyr says:

        On the one hand that’s good because then we can get more informed commentary on the game. But on the other hand we can’t get one of the cast member’s 1st time reactions to the game. Oh well, I’m sure there’s a plethora of those on YouTube.

  3. Tobias says:

    This was fast.

    About those conversation timers. Maybe we should bring back the pause button. If it is an explicit option, you could have all the time you want to think those decisions over. Or to go get a drink. I don’t think that kind of thing would be worse for the suspension of disbelief then a quicksave button.

    • Cody says:

      Haha has there ever been a season where they get everything right on the first go?

    • anaphysik says:

      There is a pause button. Just hit escape and it brings up a snappy pause screen on the main menu, and hit escape again to continue. (Jurassic Park also had this, but it’s a lot more responsive and fast in Walking Dead.) I’m not sure if you can pause while the dialogue timer is up, but I think you can. (Alpha Protocol also has a freeze-frame pause, btw, but it only works when the dialogue timer *isn’t* up.)

  4. Wulfgar says:

    you can get a drink in house

  5. anaphysik says:

    I was always surprised by the random crap Thornton was doing in conversations

    “Shamus sent me this complaint for acting too unpredictably. He misspelt my name – ‘Thornton’…”
    -Michael Thorton

  6. StranaMente says:

    One thing that really bothers me about the intro of the game is the timing.
    When Lee is been taken out of Atlanta it looks like there is little or no sign of zombies at all. The first ambulances are getting out and the police is just getting on the move while Lee is still on the car.
    But by the time he has the accident it seems like the infection has been around for a month at least.
    It’s full of rotten corpses, houses are abandoned and cars are on the street.
    I know that this cuts the boring part, but it really bothers me and hurt my immersion my first time through.
    After that first moment things go more smoothly, but the timing in this first part is really non-sensical.

    • Mormegil says:

      The timing in the tv show doesn’t work either – Rick wakes up in a hospital bed and the world has ended. But for him to still be alive it must have ended no more than 3 days ago (people can survive without water for longer but not without medical treatment and he was already injured).

      • Jakey says:

        Eh. It could check out. You’re forgetting that in the TV series, Rick has been looked after for quite a while during the outbreak. Shane locks him up in his room (still hooked up to IV’s to hopefully keep him hydrated for a quite a while) while all around him the soldiers are executing people at the Hospital, the zombies are invading the place and eating the soldiers and the whole place has already largely all gone to shit in the first place.

        It’s a bit of a retcon, but in terms of timing it works a lot better than the video game does.

    • Harry says:

      I’d say “nonsensical” is too strong a word. Perhaps “very unlikely.” Bear in mind that it’s entirely possible for Lee to have been unconscious for 24 or even 42 hours. In that amount of time, it’s just about plausible that the area he finds Clementine in – which seems fairly remote – was simply somewhere which had been recently overrun by an unusually high number of zombies.

      After this point, they go to the farm, where the isolated rural types don’t seem to know very much about the apocalypse yet, and where it’s entirely plausible that Lee & co would be isolated from the further zombification of the rest of the world.

      I agree it seems stupidly unlikely if you think about it, but the game has the emotional weight that it simply doesn’t matter while you’re playing.

      • Amnestic says:

        I’m pretty sure dead humans shouldn’t be at that stage of decay/decomposition within 42 hours, especially if they’re moving about (preventing maggots/flies from taking proper root).

        I mean “zombie magic” may be a thing, but it’s something which combines with the other factors to make it more jarring.

        • krellen says:

          Walkers rot immediately. It’s not a natural state.

        • ? says:

          I never watched tv series nor read the comics, so I don’t know how it works there. In video game though it might be stylistic choice to speed up rotting process. It would be hard to make a 24h old moving corpse without it looking like a living person. Every character model already is a bit in uncanny valley, and honestly I’m not really interested in superb realism when it comes to cadavers.

          • StranaMente says:

            As Krellen said, these zombies has the property to rot immediately, and it means it’s instantaneous. One moment you’re alive, next you’re a weeks old corpse.

            • ? says:

              I’m not denying that, just pointing out the out-of-universe reasons for rapid rot.
              Every visual work in this genre needs clear indicators of zombiedom so that audience can tell the difference between zombies and survivors immediately. And since in movies both are played by living actors, in comics they are represented by static drawings and in games they are imperfect animations of imperfect models, you cannot rely on realism of “it does not breathe and it’s eyes are unnaturally still, so your brain subconsciously notices that, otherwise it’s a fresh corpse so not that different from a living person, maybe a bit pale” to do it. And you don’t go into zombie genre to wonder if you just decapitated an undead abomination or someone with sore throat and weird gait.

              Besides, if decomposition of zombies would be anything natural they would be dangerous only in first few hours before rigor mortis paralyzes them and after it passes muscles are useless anyway.
              Science, ruining perfectly good myths and urban legends as usual.

        • Soylent Dave says:

          It’s bacteria that rot us, as well as maggots and flies (the same bacteria we’re crawling with all the time). Carrion insects just speed it up.

          It’s plausible that those infected from a bite (which causes fever and death) are also carrying some even nastier, more aggressive bacteria.

          But bearing in mind that the game is set in Georgia, which is by all accounts “ludicrously hot & humid”, dead things will start to rot incredibly quickly unless they’re preserved post-mortem (e.g. by an undertaker).

          Tropical weather can reduce a dead human to bones in two weeks.

          So – surprisingly – it’s actually not that silly to see zombies with skin sloughing off only 12 hours after death, not in that sort of climate – bodies can begin to liquefy in less than 48 hours in the tropics (although that’s buried and not moving around).

          (this has other impact on zombie uprisings, of course!)

          • Thomas says:

            That might be the case, but it’s true that Zombification just isn’t related to rot in this game in the normal sense. It’s instantaneous regardless of circumstance

          • Fleaman says:

            Here in Florida, a child left in a car in the midday sun for an hour will just be scraps of hair and teeth by the time you get back.

            • Soylent Dave says:

              Whenever people who live (or have been there) describe Florida’s weather to me, it sounds exactly like they describing the torments that await sinners in the most literal Biblical Hell.

              But then I’m a pasty Brit used to latitudes slightly further North than Edmonton in Canada, currently enjoying a lively 6 hours of daylight every day… so maybe it’s just the contrast.

              (or maybe Floridian weather is really that hideous and people are sent to live there as punishment)

      • Aldowyn says:

        It’s established that clementine was alone for ‘days’. Less than a week, more than one. So it’s very possible he was out for a couple days.

      • Deadfast says:

        it's entirely possible for Lee to have been unconscious for 24 or even 42 hours

        No, it’s not. He’d have to have some really serious brain damage to be unconscious for that long.

        • krellen says:

          He wakes up a few times, then falls back asleep. Probably just sleeping off the worst of his bruises and bumps. You see time pass between his half-awakenings.

        • It’s possible to be out that long and still recover, though yes, this isn’t normally how this kind of story turns out for most people. I mean, I’ve seen football games where someone gets hit so hard they’re not only knocked out, they don’t remember the game they were in. That might have made for an interesting start, where you’re in the back of the cop car and suddenly *BOOM*, you’re upside-down in the wreck.

          Anyway, we, as media consumers, often have a VERY unrealistic notion of what injuries from car wrecks are like. My wife had a relatively slow-moving accident (under 35 mph) and it left her sore for weeks. Given that this car was driving at highway speeds, being unconscious for days seems not outside of the realm of possibility.

          Now, being able to get up and around again might fall into the “you were either lucky or a main character in a video game” category, granted. Still, after the accident above and similar stories from friends about their own fender-benders, it really bugs me when someone’s in a massive car wreck and then proceeds to jump out and run away, shoot machine guns, or both, without any apparent injury.

    • Deadpool says:

      Yeah, this first episode has a few of these oddities here and there… Luckily they are mostly inconsequential…

    • Spencer Petersen says:

      It was my impression that Lee was kept from the apocalypse for several days before the car ride and that the infection was misdiagnosed as just unrest and riots (as mentioned on the radio) in the cities but swept up smaller rural areas without strong police and military presence. Besides the fact that you do not have to be bitten to turn after death could mean that the infection didn’t have to spread but hit everything near simultaneously.

      Again this is going back to Shamus’s whole trust the writer deal, and whenever I thought I had found a plot hole it usually turned out to be a carefully hidden plot point that arose later.

      • StranaMente says:

        When you hear the answering machine you get that the “apocalypse” was just few hours long. First message is at 5:43 p.m. – first encounter with a zombie. Second message 11:19 p.m. – panic spread, all the calls are getting dropped, but still people don’t know what’s happening. Third message 6:51 a.m. – the end.
        One can argue that between the first and the others calls it passed a day, but looking at the beginning I interpreted it like it was on the same day. Anyway, luckly the rest of the game is written better so I eventually forgot, but it really bothers me, still.

        • Statistically, worldwide, 1.8 people die every second under normal circumstances. Even if a significant portion of those deaths involve destruction of the brain or some other incapacitating injury, that’s a lot of zombies you’d get in very short order. If they then bit unsuspecting people…

          Let’s just say that using the Walking Dead version of how zombies spread via both bite and death, a “fast apocalypse” isn’t out of the question.

  7. Keeshhound says:

    This is my first time experiencing anything Walking Dead related, but I have to wonder how close the game is to the rest of the setting, because I suspect that that could have a serious impact on one’s choices; for instance, do Walking Dead zombies retain their vision? Because if not then you might as well go out during the daytime and have a better chance of spotting them, but if they do then nighttime is better.

  8. Zoe M. says:

    Just because Lee is Bad Guy does not mean Lee is bad GUY, see?

    It begins!

    Judging by my Steam completion time, I guesstimate about 20 episodes, give or take.

  9. newdarkcloud says:

    I actually did get him a drink in the kitchen after the car crash. You can go to the sink and use the cup to get a drink.
    Of course, you slip on the blood pool.

    When I shotgunned the cop in the face, Lee exclaimed “HEY! Are you DEAD!?”
    That made me pause for a second.

    I am glad you guys said something I wanted to talk about. Since this whole series takes place in our world, then there would be zombie stories. It always bothers me when there isn’t. The characters in the story really should be Genre Savvy if they are from the modern day.

    • anaphysik says:

      “I actually did get him a drink in the kitchen after the car crash. You can go to the sink and use the cup to get a drink.
      Of course, you slip on the blood pool.”

      Yep. I did too.

    • StashAugustine says:

      I think I came across something where the writer of the comic handwaved it by saying that Romero never released Night of the Living Dead and zombie culture never caught on in that timeline.

      • newdarkcloud says:

        …That’s like a modern world where vampires exist, but no one wrote Dracula.

        I mean, it’s a possible setting, but very tough sell, at least o me. Hell, the games UI refers to them as zombies.
        Still, it’s the lore the game is working with, so I can’t fault the game for it.

        • Aldowyn says:

          *shrug* That’s not that surprising at all to me. The sheer fact that you CAN mention a work of some kind that kicked off the culture makes it pretty obvious it wasn’t inevitable. Take werewolves. How many people do you think know it takes silver to kill a werewolf compared to people that know vampires burn in sunlight (Most of the time… ignore twilight, as if I needed to say that) and wooden stakes to the heart kill them?

          • anaphysik says:

            Um, all of them? Unless they grew up on Twilight shit, like you mentioned. I’ve never even seen a werewolf movie/read a werewolf book/etc and I know that so incredibly intuitively.

            I think part of cloud’s point is: in the real world, we’ve made up crazy ridiculous things in our fiction. If something like that can actually exist and be REAL, then you’d DEFINITELY expect it to crop up in culture/folklore/literature/the latest Michael-Crichton-esque novel. You can argue how impactful those stories might be, but they’d be there.

            Also, perhaps most importantly it hurts our WSoD/whatever-you-wish-to-call-it by forcing us to consider the universe presented to us as fake, since it’s a facsimile of our universe minus the real parts. Which makes the characters in it seem fake. And the story seem fake. And some things seem downright laughable.

            • Aldowyn says:

              “intuitively”? Not sure that’s the right word.

              Perhaps werewolves were a bad example. Something more exotic, then. There are things out there in fiction that the standard person wouldn’t know how to kill. And who’s to say that even if zombies (or some other apocalyptic monster) DID come, they’d follow the rules we’ve made for them?

              • Harry says:

                This might be the sort of example you were looking for: how many people know that the dreaded Manananggal can only be destroyed by the sprinkling of salt or crushed garlic on its lower half?

                Of course, there’s an alternate universe where Manananggal movies are really popular, and obviously EVERYONE knows about the “salt” rule, it’s basically intuitive.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Thats what I liked about All zombies must die!Not only do the characters know what zombies are,but one of the characters knows that he is in a video game.

      • anaphysik says:

        To me, there is a vast difference between “I realize I’m in a zombie story” and “I realize what zombies are because of zombie stories.” The first form of Genre Savvyness and makes things feel fake. The second makes things feel real.

        @krellen: I think this is what I was trying to get at a while ago on Twitter.

  10. Deadpool says:

    I’m calling out Rutskarn here. The percentage of death here is quite high… I think you just forgot most of them.

  11. Eljacko says:

    Really? You guys don’t think the comic was very good? That’s very surprising, I’ve never actually heard someone claim that before. I mean, it won an Eisner after all.

    • Chris says:

      While I’ve never read the comic, my wife’s a big fan and I dig the universe/characters. And I am perhaps the lone person who will at least somewhat defend the TV show out of the four of us, so this season won’t just be everyone dumping on the other Walking Dead media.

      I mean, heck, my wife and I went to the Walking Dead haunted house at Universal as part of our honeymoon.

      • Sagretti says:

        Out of curiosity, did it do a good job being a “Walking Dead” experience, or was it just a mostly generic zombie haunted house with some licensing and logos? Living near Orlando, I hear constant advertisements for the Halloween events, but I’ve never had the desire to visit (also known as I’m a coward).

        • Chris says:

          It was mostly a zombie haunted house that used imagery/iconography from the show (the RV, “DON’T OPEN DEAD INSIDE”, the well zombie, that sort of thing). It actually felt really dissonant – too many references to specific scenes from the show to really be its own immersive haunted house (“Okay, we’re in a department store… HEY I KNOW THIS SCENE!”), and too haunted house-y to really feel like “Wow, I’m in The Walking Dead!” It was also one of the most popular houses by far – over an hour’s wait for a 5 minute Halloween experience at 11 PM on a Thursday in early October.

          That said, Halloween Horror Nights itself was a blast. The other houses didn’t have the baggage (or the lines) the Walking Dead house did, and most were really enjoyable. Plus the scare actors walking around in the fog outside did their jobs well, sneaking up on people whenever they could. You’d see 10 of them walking around and go “That’s not scary at all!” and then turn around to find one you didn’t see jump out at you. And hey, light up souvenir glasses.

          • tengokujin says:

            So you didn’t go try the Silent Hill part?

            • Chris says:

              Here’s the thing: I’ve never played a complete Silent Hill game in my life. I borrowed Silent Hill 2, once – got as far as a dark room. Pulled out my flashlight, turned around, and saw a bunch of movement. Panicked, pulled the plug. Booted the game up a day later, and you know what it was? Freakin’ moths floating around the room. I am a giant wuss. :(

              So when I went to the Silent Hill house (which was more from the films than the games) it had some iconography I could recognize just from being around gamer culture – the nurses, Pyramid Head, etc – but it wasn’t as distracting as it was with The Walking Dead. At no point was I taken out of the experience because I realized what level/movie scene they were trying to haphazardly recreate, and as a result the overall experience was better for it. Plus it was the only house that had fake barbed wire you had to walk through, so that was pretty cool.

              • Sagretti says:

                I also think there’s a lot more creative space to work with in Silent Hill over the Walking Dead. The Walking Dead is zombies in the real world, with most of the focus on the living characters. Silent HIll is a shifting nightmare landscape with multiple games’ worth of new monstrosities. Of course, it’s also possible they just ripped a bunch of scenes out of the latest movie they just released, so who knows. I’m fascinated by horror design, but again, too much of a coward to participate.

    • Shamus says:

      Hearsay on my part. When I complain about the TV show people always tell me, “Well, that’s how the comic is.” I don’t actually know first-hand.

      • Hitchmeister says:

        I’m not a fan of The Walking Dead in any incarnation. I watched the first few episodes of the TV show but it didn’t grab me enough to bother remembering to turn on the TV to see it. But I have to take a bit of exception to the dismissal of the source material. I have many friends who have been fans of the comic since it first came out and eagerly looked forward to the TV show. Now they regard the show as must-watch television and I feel like an outsider for not sharing their enthusiasm. A lot of people like it, they must be doing something right.

        Now that’s not saying that the majority of the Spoiler Warning cast are wrong for not liking it, not everything is to everyone’s taste.

        • Aldowyn says:

          Note: A LOT of people still love Mass Effect. The spoiler warning cast, quite obviously, doesn’t. Different people like different things.

          I am still of the opinion that Mass Effect is worth playing to some people, including me, yes.

          • StranaMente says:

            They made it clear that they don’t hate Mass Effect, they thought there were some very bad things (such as Cerberus, the human reaper and me3 ending) and other good and very good things too in the bag.
            Sure, the ending leaves a bitter taste in your mouth, but they don’t hate the game.

            • anaphysik says:

              You’re giving the ending too much credit for the badness. Plenty of other parts of the game are saturated with horrible as well. Frex, see the sophomoric bungling of the Rannoch plot.

              Note that there’s a difference between not hating the game and not hating the series.

      • Jakey says:

        I don’t know what your criticism of the show is, but if that’s the kind of dismissal you get then the added caveat is probably that the comics just do it a lot better than the show, which in all fairness, they do.

        They’re not a work of art by any stretch, but they do have a few cool things going for them, namely being about long game in terms of zombie apocalypses (survival hasn’t been a concern for ages now, it’s all about warfare between other surviving societies and stuff), having a large rotating cast of characters because anyone can die (although some are a lot more likely than others) and ten years of some pretty decent character development for the main cast as they go from fish-out-of-the-water ragtag bunch to battle-hardened oft morally-grey killers who learn do mow down dozens of zombies and generally end up looking as the stereotypical ‘jeez, these guys give me the goddamn creeps’ crowd to any outsiders who haven’t been through the kind of shit they have.

        Generally speaking, it’s less of the TV series, more of the video game.

    • Urs says:

      I’ve read the comic up to the prison finale and I had the exact same feelings about it that I have for the show. I really wanted to like it, but it was just not quite working for me, because the franchise does a rather lousy job of selling me the characters and incidents. It’s like I am not following those people surviving and their struggle in zombieland but rather following the writers as they come up with stuff as they go along and their struggle to progress a story which has nowhere to progress to aka a finale (Hence, “Soap Opera” is a fitting term).

      Still, looking forward to the 3rd season (Hasn’t started here yet)

      • Eljacko says:

        I think you’re right about that, but isn’t that how a zombie apocalypse really would be? Just an endless sequence of struggle after struggle as your party slowly dwindles away?

  12. Deadpool says:

    Awwwwwww… So no chance at Alpha Protocol. Shame. I think it’d make for a funny season.

    Btw, I am a fan of playing with the little notifications off… Just feels more immersive to me.

  13. anaphysik says:

    I love the officer’s “People often go mad when they believe their life is over” line. I’m only through Season 1 but I predict we’ll see even more of that sentiment later.

  14. CountZero says:

    It just kind of hit me about The Walking Dead, that this is, to my knowledge, one of the few games that have come out in the past few years (that I’ve noticed) where the main character is not a white guy (and I’m not counting games where you create the protagonist using a character editor).

    • Aldowyn says:

      I was wondering if his race was going to be relevant, and through episode 1 it hasn’t been DIRECTLY.

      I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the two most hostile characters are old white guys, though.

      • krellen says:

        There is one reference at some point that leads to what I consider one of the funniest lines in the entire season.

        “Jesus, man! I’m from Florida! Crazy shit just comes out of my mouth sometimes.”

        • Aldowyn says:

          Hmm, took a risk and read that. Yep, I heard that. Not bad :P

          Ep 2 spoilers:
          I liked that you could call Larry a racist to …Mark? (I liked Mark, and then he was gone…), and then I liked Larry’s ‘is that what you think?’ line after he blurts it out.

          I wonder what he would have thought of you trying to save him despite the risk… Probably that you’re a foolish, sentimental moron.

        • Gordon says:

          Oh my god, I just saw that. That was a really clever moment, character speaking, while still being funny. It maintains prejudice as a “thing” in this universe, without alienating a character as a racist asshole. It was a great way of building race into narrative moments, rather than having it be the core focus, or just set dressing, and it really made it seem immensely genuine.

        • The funniest line of the previous season (of spoiler warning) was the last ep, where Rutskarn exlaim: Is that a microphone?

          I rarely laugh out loud watching SW, and I never give two thumbs up, but both happen at that moment.

          I’m now eagerly awaiting Rutskarn’s new standup tour called “If games where funny…” where he makes funny observations about what does or does not work in games vs the real world and actual logic.

    • Somniorum says:

      For whatever reason they did it, but I’m glad they did if at least to get away from the typical protagonist…

      But I also have a certain sentimental fondness for having a black protagonist in zombie things, as this was the case in not only Night of the Living Dead, but also Dawn of the Dead (and while Day of the Dead didn’t have a main black protagonist, there was at least one i vaguely recall who was a good solid guy who survived).

  15. hborrgg says:

    You can tell that it’s a good horror game because so far I don’t think I like it.

  16. anaphysik says:

    Awww… from the credits it appears they’ll be siding with Kenny against Larry (and in the same manner that I did). Was hoping to see Josh side with Larry just to see how that plays out (especially if/how it affects the escape scene at the end of Season 1).

    • Eremias says:

      Same here, but I saw that problem coming already with the “go now/ wait until it’s dark” choice. I also chose to wait and wanted to see what it looks like if you don’t.
      The Fallout NV approach of “Let’s pick something no one usually picks” is going to be quite difficult in this game.

      • Indy says:

        It’ll probably be repeated in the comments for the next episode but the choice affects whether the upcoming fat guy lives. Going then and there means your pushing cars with two boys. Going at night results in the fat guy being a walker that gets pointed out to you. Either way, you get out of town.

    • Aldowyn says:

      I saw Larry punching.. aw crap. What’s his name, the guy with the truck. I don’t remember that happening when I sided against him..

      I’m pretty curious what happens if I pick different options, actually. It definitely warrants a second playthrough, especially since all the puzzles will be super easy a second time.

  17. Eremias says:

    Alright, I want to ask those who played the game through already, or at least very far into it, a question, because I’m interested in something.
    I think this game makes its most grievous mistakes in the first episode.
    “This game series adapts to how you play. The story is tailored by how you play.”
    What do you think this means?
    Also, what do you think this means to someone playing this game for the first time, with no prior knowledge of its plot?

    • anaphysik says:

      Why is that in strike tags?

      • Eremias says:

        Because I felt that making someone consider what those phrases actually mean before it becomes apparent to them in the game (in, say, chapter 3), would change how they play the game to something the writers did not intend for them. So basically, the possibility of spoiling something for someone. I’m not terribly certain the tags are necessary, but I wanted to make sure, just in case.

        • Friend of Dragons says:

          Eh. As it doesn’t seem to reveal anything about upcoming events or whatever(just that they might go differently), it doesn’t need the spoiler-tagging. If someone is going to do their best to metagame their way through the game, that’s their prerogative.

          (Speaking as someone who hasn’t played before, all that that line says to me is that I have a limited amount of agency upon the path of the game.)

          • anaphysik says:

            Additionally, it hides a legitimate (non-spoilery) discussion point behind spoiler tags, which many people *aren’t* going to read, and others will be hesitant to.

            • Eremias says:

              Eh, okay. I’ve been thinking about the game and come to the conclusion that I hate it and my play-through was ultimately worthless, for a couple of reasons. But anyway:
              Does the first episode adequately establish to the player what sort of agency they will have in the game? That was the question I was going to get at, but I have my answer now.
              It didn’t, and I think that was done on purpose.
              Any decisions I made, while thinking they’ll have consequences, were tough. Like, I thought about them, before making them. I made them my own. Even tried to save Larry, after completely disliking him until that point. I did that, I realize now, because I thought I could save him. It would have been pointless not to try. That includes the end of episode 2. Then ep 3 comes along and reveals that initial agency I was acting according to. didn’t actually exist, at least going forward (Which was the reason I let Ben fall. There was no saving anyone anyway at that point, except the people who had protection, who’d survive even without my input. And I didn’t like him anyway. It felt pointless to try here.. After finishing the game, I found out that type of agency didn’t exist from the very beginning. The game misled me, so it could have a moment of (then genuine, now not) guilt at the end. For me, my playthrough, which should have been more like a ‘personal canon’ to me, or at least a genuine experience, pretty much disappeared. Even though my choices after ep 3 were what I’d have picked anyway, they ceased to matter to me, both while I was making them, and afterwards, thinking back on them.

              So yeah. This game is well written, well produced, has great story-density, each the likes of which we haven’t seen in a while and won’t for another,
              but my goodness, it is also so wretched and manipulative and dishonest to boot.

              Unless of course it was just supposed to be a trick, to coax the greatest possible response out of a certain subset of players, who chose the ‘right’ options (Save Carley, so a romance is foreshadowed, then “tragically” severed, take the supplies, so the guilt-trip can happen, save Ben, so he and Kenny make up etc.).
              If that’s the case, the ‘trick’ completely backfired in my case, through no fault of my own.

              Welp, that was a fun twelve hours. Wish I’d gotten more out of them though.

              • Aldowyn says:

                I haven’t played past chapter 2, but I think I can see what you’re getting at.

                You can’t control ultimately what the group does, only how they do it and who does it. But that makes sense, in a way – the game is definitely about the relationships and what you do to change them, and the right answer will eventually become apparent – like leaving the motel in episode 3.

              • I mentioned this previously. It’s an issue of false choice or illusion of choice.

                To actually allow all those 2, 3 or 4 choices you are given to actually be choices would make a insanely huge game with so many variations that you’d need the same resources as SWTOR seemed to need to be able to do it.

                In that respect Alpha Protocol actually does a better job of making choices feel like choices. (I really hope they make a sequel, spiritual at least)

                Walking Dead makes it seem like you have way more choice/control than you actually have.

                Only a text adventure can possibly come close to such actual choice impact, and even among those such games are few and far apart. It’s just tike consuming to craft such multiplots properly.

                • aldowyn says:

                  I’d say the point of the Walking Dead isn’t what you do – it’s how you got there, who you got there with, and what you did to them.

                  • Eremias says:

                    That’s the problem. TWD does NOT have that point. It is far too inconsistent for that. Ep1? Promise of all the choices in the world. (Not literally. Like, some choices.) Ep2? The same. Ep3? Fuck you. Your contribution to the game is negligible. You can’t even fail. Ep4? Goto 3. Ep5? There’s one choice that kind of leads to something, a little bit. I dismissed it as pointless, because most of the game was at that point.
                    Bottom line: Would have been better as a film, book or TV series. And yes, I do feel a little ashamed having to say that.

              • shlominus says:

                i agree. as a game it fails totally. i see it as only a story though and i am having a fun time watching it unfold.

            • Aldowyn says:

              I wouldn’t have read it if someone hadn’t questioned why it was behind tags.

    • Spammy says:

      Silent Hill: Shattered Memories started off similarly, telling me the game was going to be using all the psychoanalysis stuff to shape the game, and… didn’t really throw me off there. I don’t see a problem with a game telling you the story is going to react to your choices.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Well the events will,most of the time,end in the same way,but how you get to them(the conversations in between,the morality of your actions in between,and a few actions)will be different.

      I think that youll see most of the difference in episode 5.

  18. Aldowyn says:

    This should be interesting… I’m only through episode 1, but I’m planning on playing an episode every day this week to get through it. *shrug*

  19. Spammy says:

    So, do we have a name for games like this yet beyond, “Like Heavy Rain,” or can I just go ahead and keep thinking of this as a more interactive visual novel? And add in stuff like Dear Esther and The Stanley Parable so I can tell people they’ve played what’s effectively a visual novel without realizing it.

    • Amnestic says:

      I’m just gonna call ’em “dating sims”. I’m sure there’s a romance interest at some point in this game, the title’s totally justified.

    • Zukhramm says:

      This game really does not seem similar to Heavy Rain at all. Heavy Rain is all about emulating physical actions, shake controller to brush teeth, hold down odd combination to climb, pull stick down to pull out a drawer.

      • Aldowyn says:

        Well, it’s ALL contextual interaction, basically QTEs, just like Heavy Rain. Heavy Rain just took it too far. It’s somewhat okay to tell him to brush his teeth, but why do we need to do it for him? (admittedly that was the tutorial, IIRC)

        • Zukhramm says:

          That they’re contextual seems to be the only similarity. The Walking Dead pretty much have two different mechanics for interacting with things while in Heavy Rain every single thing has its own combination of five or so different type of button presses, plus, it’s using eight or so buttons with The Walking Dead using only one. I wouldn’t call the mechanics of The Walking Dead QTEs (neither would I Heavy Rain, I think, but it’s a lot closer).

        • Thomas says:

          Heavy Rain didn’t take the quicktime events too far really, it was just story. It’s not that they’re making you quictime brush his teeth, it’s that they’re making you brush his teeth at all (as you said tutorial +character establishment). They was so much bad story in Heavy Rain but it was almost saved by just how good those quicktime events were and how well thev build attachment and suspension. Infinitely better than the Walking Dead QTE wise, but then I’m not convinced you can have could QTEs with a mouse and keyboard. There’s not really many different hand positions and everything would turn into hunting the keyboard for the right symbol. I would have liked to see them try some variation though. The button mashing got tired because it was what they always did. They needed one other movement (but I agree that generally the games were going for different things. Full Heavy Rain would have felt wrong)

  20. anaphysik says:

    So can we get a hint as to which way Josh’s General Lee generally leans? Is there a lot of leeway in your choices?

  21. Irridium says:

    So, question, if you fail one of the quicktime-event battles, is it game over? Despite Heavy Rain’s issues, one thing I really liked is that failing a QTE moment did not mean you failed the entire level or game.

    • Protocol95 says:

      I believe in most QTE’s you die if you screw it up but there are a few which instead result in the scene playing out differently. Though most the ones I can think of are highly spoilerific so I will not name them.

    • Eremias says:

      You retry from a point some time back. It differs how much time, it can reset to right before the QTE, or before a number of (usually still short, but annoying) cutscenes that lead up to it.

    • Shamus says:

      It varies.

      Some you fail, and get a worse outcome.

      Some you fail, and just get a different outcome. (There’s a QTE as part of a struggle with a non-walker. You can simply stop mashing the key to give up the struggle. It’s not a failure as much as a choice.)

      Some you fail, and get the same outcome but you don’t know it.

      Some you fail, and you can just keep trying. For example, the part today when Lee has to take the hammer from Clem. You can just kick that zombie in the face over and over in a stalemate until you notice the hammer and take it.

      Some you fail, and you die.

  22. Zukhramm says:

    Eh. So I was going to play along but given Valve’s brilliant idea of ending different parts of their sale at different times I missed out on buying it. Guess I’ll just have to wait for the christmas sales. It’s only a couple of weeks anyway.

  23. Somniorum says:

    The moment you kill the babysitter-zombie was a hell of a thing for me, and is, in my view, an excellent example of melding game design with the drama of the thing.

    The fight was sudden, panicked, often sloppy, and it made you feel as if you were going to die at any moment. *Personally*, when I finally got the hammer and got her down, I quickly hammered again and again (without the slight hesitations that Josh gave) until her head exploded.

    I played that scene again after I finished the first episode, and found that you don’t need to go so far with her… roughly one (or perhaps two) hits and she goes down, permanently. But the game does a great job in raising this tension, anxiety, panic in the player so that the natural response is to go “KILLITKILLITKILLIT” until she’s a bloody mess… but this isn’t *forced* on you, if you end up smashing her so badly, it’s *completely* because of your own emotional reaction to her.

    And then the camera lingers momentarily on her destroyed face, as if to say “look at what you’ve just done”…

    • anaphysik says:

      Yep. Same thing happened to me.

      I also told Shawn about it. Lee’s delivery of that is really good.

    • Aldowyn says:

      Really? The game will continue if you just do it twice? That’s… neat. I feel like the QTEs are too far apart, though, if you’re paying attention it discourages the frantic mouse-clicking I feel it’s supposed to evoke.

    • Cody says:

      What they were able to do with the choices via gameplay especially at the end of episode 2 felt way more emotional and deep then anything they even attempted in Spec Ops: The Line.

      • Wulfgar says:

        imagine COD/BF/ approach in this situations with popups instructing you to hit again until its done

        • Cody says:

          To make it a bit more relevant to games they just played, ME3 was horrible with this. I’m sorry but since there is no way to turn “hints” off and I’m already in 35 hours of your game, on max difficulty, I think I can say that that game holds your hand more then any other game I have played in recent memory. Honestly when a person is at the last segment of the game and it keeps telling you to reload and use cover I should be able to punch the designer in the face.

          • AyeGill says:

            ME3 would’ve been much better if there’d been an option in all conversations to make a mechanical arm in the Bioware headquarters punch the writer in charge of that segment in the face.

      • Zukhramm says:

        To be fair, the purpose of the choices in The Line is pretty much the opposite of in The Walking Dead.

    • tengokujin says:

      I would like to submit this for consideration: an interview on the Escapist about the voice acting and sound editing on the Walking Dead (e.g., how they got people in the office to do it).

    • Fleaman says:

      Reminds me of the tank in Left4Dead. Because his top is so much bigger than his bottom, he rolls around when he dies and his silhouette stays about the same. New players caught up in a panic will often miss the indicators of the tank’s death continue to pour ammunition into him for like five seconds after the actual moment. The game encourages this by having ally bots also keep targeting the dead tank for a few seconds too.

      It’s sort of interesting. The moment an enemy dies in a game is usually signalled with great fanfare so that you know, absolutely, that it has happened. When it doesn’t, fear and paranoia happen.

      Resident Evil and Silent Hill do this sometimes too. Enemies tend to take their time flopping over when they die (and sometimes get back up), and the scary music or radio static that signals their presence lingers until the animation is fully played out. I suspect it happens in Siren too, but I haven’t actually played it myself.

  24. Zombie says:

    Can you miss with the shotgun? Or is that “Game Over”? and I don’t think Almost 100% of the named cast dieing (Everyone but Clem and Omid and Christa really) is almost no one.

    Also, Rutskarn, your Canadian Girlfriend does not count as your lady :D

    • Chris says:

      I don’t believe you can ‘miss’ with the shotgun, as actions can only be performed by lining up the cursor with an action node and choosing an action. I.e., you can’t accidentally blindfire the shotgun off into the woods in a panic to aim the thing. However, you can take too long to aim, in which case it’s game over.

  25. LunaticFringe says:

    Aw, I’m still waiting for Paypal to clear my funds (stupid Canadian 6-8 business days wait) so I guess I’ll spoil the first little bit of the game.

    Got to say, love the art style, really reminds me of the comic. Anyone else see the article today on how Robert Kirkman choose Telltale because of the Strong Bad game? Interestingly he also pointed out how he’s done a lot of work on the tv series but very little on the game.

    Also, I mentioned this previously but one of the grand-daddies of this genre is The Last Express. I highly recommend it, it has some very interesting scenarios (oh crap! there’s a dead body in your cabin! And eventually somebody is going to come in! What do you do?).

  26. swenson says:

    Are you guys planning on going through all of the episodes, or just this one?

  27. Attercap says:

    I’ve always enjoyed Kevin Macleod’s tunes for Spoiler Warning, but this one… wow. I may have to come up with a project just so I can hire this songsmith!

    And I just picked up Walking Dead. This’ll be the first time I’m actually playing along with the SW show instead of either getting it in retrospect or scratching my head in semi-confusion.

  28. David says:

    Whichever way you choose to play through the game, you better not mistreat Clementine!

  29. StashAugustine says:

    About the character having a backstory that you don’t know: KoTOR 2 did a similar thing. I do think TWD did it better, simply because KoTOR 2 throws you a bunch of “What do you think of this thing you don’t know what it is?”

    • Cody says:

      In KotOR 2’s defense, it probably would have been a little bit better if they had actually had the time to finish the game. But as it stands TWD and the Witcher 1/2 are probably the best ways have the character have a personality and backstory, and all the player does is fall somewhere in the normal ranges for it. Honestly I like this idea better, it makes it so it doesn’t feel like your some sort of schizophrenic crazy that everyone listens to because you control the quicksave/load buttons.

  30. Duhad says:

    For the record on the ‘thirsty’ thing, you can grab a drink from the kitchen if you go in there before triggering the attack and as an RP thing, on all my runs thou the episode I made a B-Line for the drink, because being thirsty sucks…

  31. Lame Duck says:

    Hmmm, really not sure whether I should watch this season of Spoiler Warning or not. I want to play this game but I’ve already got a huge backlog of games to play and I don’t think I can really justify buying another game to myself.

    Do people think the experience of playing this game is seriously damaged by having it spoiled?

  32. Cody says:

    Well this season should be rather fun. Only complaint I have is I now need to restart this game(it never ever saves, I’m still stuck on a episode 2 save from back in July), and you guys started this up right before finals.

  33. Pattom says:

    Rutskarn, if Telltale’s Jurassic Park game is the second-worst one based on that license, which one tops the list? Because I don’t think my heart can take it if it’s Operation Genesis.

    • StashAugustine says:

      Probably Trespasser.

    • Jeremy says:

      That would be Trespasser, AKA Right Arm Simulator.

    • Indy says:

      It’s quite possible it’s Jurassic Park: Dinosaur Battles, which, as far as I can tell, involves Tetris and Pokemon in a way that neither of them work.

      • Pattom says:

        Was that one of the Gameboy Advance tie-ins for the third movie? Or is that the fighting game for PC that came with a barcode scanner in the box? I’ve played lots of Jurassic Park games, and they usually managed to be entertaining in their own (very) strange ways.

        Re-reading that paragraph makes me realize that while the competition for Worst Jurassic Park Game is intense, Operation Genesis actually is that rare contender for the best of them.

        • anaphysik says:

          Jurassic Park: Park Builder for the GBA is actually a lot of fun and quite a neat take on the “X Tycoon”-sort of games.
          It’s biggest problem is that it only allows one save, which meant I didn’t play it more than once because I didn’t want my park to get deleted :(

          • Aldowyn says:

            I think some of the GBA games actually stored stuff like that in the cartridge. Not much room for multiple saves there.

            • anaphysik says:

              There’s nowhere else to store it *but* on the cartridge. Just like how there’s nowhere *at all* to store data on a disc, so you have to use a memory card. They’re polar opposite systems.
              (N64 did do a mix of those, though, with it’s save-pack-inserted-into-the-controller approach for some of its library.)

          • Pattom says:

            YES. Park Builder was far and away the best of the GBA games. Have you ever played Operation Genesis? It’s got the same premise but much higher fidelity in its simulation, being made for PC and the last generation of consoles. It’s exceptionally involving once it hits its stride.

    • Spencer Petersen says:

      For the record, the writers have mentioned in interviews that they weren’t involved with Jurassic park at all and that it was an entirely separate team, and they leapfrog each other in development.

      Playing Dead: Q&A 3
      At about 3:46 they talk about it
      The publishing staff seems pretty hands off, which I guess is why their releases can be so bipolar. (Although I would say Jurassic Park is really their only bad game, all the others are at the very least enjoyable)

      • Pattom says:

        I actually have not played Telltale’s Jurassic Park game, so I can’t comment on its quality, though I’ll say they seem like the first team making a Jurassic Park game that has ever considered the plot a priority. While entertaining, the ones I’ve played were often strange and just stilted enough to be considered failures if you couldn’t power through them, Trespasser being king among them. I actually did play that one years ago, and it was such a trial to complete that my mind erased the good will it associates with anything Jurassic Park-related in favor of that impossible control scheme.

        • anaphysik says:

          Jurassic Park actually has really good characters in it. They bungle my favourite (Yoder, who I initially thought would be my *least* favourite) in the last ~eighth of the game, but stil overall good characterization. It also certainly feels, well, like it’s part of the Jurassic-Park-universe. It feels right.

          (And it has lots of great dialogue, making replaying scenes to choose different lines really enjoyable.)

          (Also, people hate on the QTEs, but I didn’t really care. I don’t see how making it a ‘real game’ (mechanically) would improve anything. Walking-Dead-style QTEs (like how you kick Zombies), though, would have been an improvement. Those are surprisingly visceral and engaging.)

          The biggest problem to me is that structurally there is no possibility for meaningful choice. Each scene is mechanically in a vacuum, with no means of taking prior choices into account or outputting choices (like Walking Dead does). (One /benefit/ of that is that you can replay any part of any scene at any time, unlike Walking Dead’s (necessarily) restrictive rewind button.)

          (There is one moment where you can make a meaningful choice, but it’s in the final scene. And the only thing it functionally decides is whether a character permadies or not: if Nima goes for the canister, she will get eaten; that’s actually the ending choice I had her make, since I didn’t think she was heroic enough to save Jess, and the promise of the canister was too tempting. Later in that scene failing a QTE causes a permadeath: Dr. Harding can fail to make the jump onto the boat; and yeah, that means Jess can be riding off alone (note: NOT what happened in my playthrough; father&daughter got to escape together). Other than those two, nothing.)

          The game would have been infinitely better if, frex, you could choose who you wanted to play in parts of the game, effectively deciding who the actual group of protagonists were and who were the side-characters. Some of this could’ve been implemented even in the game’s scene system by having multiple versions of the latter episodes.

          • Aldowyn says:

            As far as the controls – making the controls more like the action and thus more complicated is flawed, because it just draws attention to the fact that you’re NOT actually doing the action, but inputting commands on something. Much better to have something simple and relatively intuitive, and certainly consistent.

            Like clicking a mouse. Or ALWAYS hitting the same button when you’re struggling with something (which is a fantastic idea more QTEs should do)

            • anaphysik says:

              …Like the Walking Dead QTE controls… Which is what I said…

              • aldowyn says:

                I meant to make that point, I apologize. I was attempting to contrast Jurassic Park with TWD, and I utterly failed to mention the name “the walking dead”. Trying to elaborate on the point and why Jurassic Park’s method doesn’t work.

                • Lalaland says:

                  I haven’t played Jurassic Park but I liked the approach Heavy Rain took to this where difficult or complicated tasks required finger gymnastics with the gamepad to pull off. Of course it’s an abstraction but it worked for me as it increased stress on me
                  in a similar manner to the character. Those were the main things I missed in the transition to the Move controls which were quite effective in some ways and less so in others leaving me wondering why they bothered (leaving aside the whole ‘first party studio’ thing).

                  The repetition of the tap ‘Q’ like a madman and sometimes ‘E’ to finish was a bit unfortunate. I don’t want to be sent on key hunt every time something happens but throwing it in every now and then would help keep the player off balance a bit in a way I wasn’t in TWD and was in Heavy Rain.

        • Aldowyn says:

          It was… interesting. They actually KILLED dinosaurs, which was … probably not a good idea to have them do, and there were definitely some cool moments and characters. The biggest problem was that basically the entire game was the worst kind of QTE – like the walking dead but way, way harder and way, way worse. It makes a huge difference.

  34. guy says:

    I don’t have this game. I think that needs to be corrected promptly.

    Yeah, that ending choice was pretty clearly a choice between intelligent and stupid. When confronting things that can only attack at close range, let’s do something that reduces visibility and thus means we won’t be aware of them until they’re already dangerously close!

    • Nick says:

      Actually, given the tendency for the zombies in this to respond to noise they’re less likely to be just wandering around at night time. I actually chose the night one mostly because I figured Lee could use some time resting up that leg before continuing.

      • Thomas says:

        I’m not convinced by that one. Zit’s not like Zombies go home =D, if they wander the streets during the day, there’ll be there at night. Surely if there#s less noise in general during night it means they’re more likely to be attracted to the noise you make? During the day they might be chasing some other poor family or get distracted by someone trying to drive a car in the distance.

    • scowdich says:

      The game seems to endorse one choice over another, since if you decide to leave immediately, the game says “You chose the safety of daylight.”

    • Lalaland says:

      Interesting, I chose to leave at night because for me the real threat in a zombie apocalypse is other people and I felt that he could do with a rest with his leg.

  35. Malkara says:

    Does this game have subtitles? Enabling them would make it a lot easier to follow with what’s actually happening in the game.

    Edit: Of course, a moment later, you guys turn on subtitles. Ignore me.

  36. X2Eliah says:

    Aw. So a SW season of Alpha Protocol is definitely out of the question? … Damnit. I have so much ranting points piled up about that inexplicably praised abomination of a game.

  37. Ygor says:

    My only gripe with this game so far is that those small nodes are sometimes on totally stupid places and it becomes a pixel hunt- especially since I first played it without UI help and then I found me wandering around one area not noticing what part of the world am I supposed to interact with.
    This happened to me in the Drugstore while I was finding batteries for the radio. Afterwards, I’m a wuss and play it with UI turned on.

  38. Nick says:

    “the REALLY though choices” – I think you mean tough.

    Got this game because of SW and thought I’d play along with the series. Then I couldn’t stop playing it all of yesterday and have completely finished it. If that’s not an endorsement of the game, I don’t know what is

    • Lalaland says:


      On the announcement post I asked about spoilers and then I finished the game last night before watching the first SW episode. Damned if that isn’t the best endorsement I can give it.

      • Aldowyn says:

        I managed to quit after episode 1 yesterday… wll, monday…, but I started episode 2 around … 11 or so last night, and when I finished.. had to keep going. It’s now almost 7 and I’m done with episode 3… and I can’t imagine how it could get more intense. Although it probably will.

  39. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Guys,you have to have a Mumbles cameo.She has to bee here in episode 2.

  40. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Actually,the gameplay idea worked in Fahrenheit.Up until the half of the game,when it started to suck,but that was for different reasons.

    As for back to the future,that was a good game.

  41. Arkadiy says:

    I am a “walking dead” comic nerd (own a 100 issues, didn’t have the time to buy the newest ones)
    And actually, it is not great or perfect by any stretch, just addicting, because of a pretty interesting cast of characters. It does everything fine, although has criticisms. All in all its just a good character focused story. Now the TV show does not have that. I watched it just out of my love to that comic and felt really disappointed and frustrated. From the very start, when the comic-book Rick actually was building character and was generally alright, the TV-series one is a boring dick. The confrontation of Rick and Shane is for some reason stretched out for 2 bloody seasons and is filled with forced drama and is just horribly written. It’s a mess that I see only as a modern version of older faceless drama-series my Grandma used to like so much

    Okay, I finished my rant here
    The game is just awesome. It actually is a better character story than the comic, which is, of course, too dragged out with the relatively same cast of characters to still be exciting and fun.
    So yeah, it is the best thing in the TWD universe, which, I admit, is not great. And the best thing done by Telltale. So yeah, we have a small miracle right here, folks
    Although some bigger story changes depending on your actions would be neat, this can’t really be a complaint, because they were sacrificed in the name of good writing.

  42. The Rocketeer says:

    16m 35s: Radio? What’s going on with that radio?

    But seriously, I was prepared to let these games fly by me, but this looks really cool! Now I’m torn between watching what promises to be a really good Spoiler Warning and playing the series first.

    • David says:

      Play the series first.

      As fun as it can be to watch, this isn’t the sort of game where you should have your first experience with it be with commentary over the impeccable music/dialogue.

      Plus as each person will inevitably have differences in how their story plays out on a scene to scene basis, watching it a second time with commentary will fill you in on paths not taken.

  43. Wraith says:

    The show doesn’t deserve much of the hate it gets. Yeah, Season 2 had some SERIOUS pacing problems, but Season 3 has so far been shaping up to be MUCH, MUCH better.

    For Season 2, they definitely could have abridged some of overarching plots, especially the search for Sophia and Shane vs Rick. Hell, a shorter season probably would have served the series better than a full, 13-episode one.

    Nevertheless, it was still miles better than 90% of the other crap you see on TV these days.

    • Chuck says:

      I’ll second that. Season 3 is certainly faster paced, generally and not just in comparison to season 2.

    • Chris says:

      That season was also fraught with interference from the studio. This article (note: season 3 spoilers in the images/advertisements, but not the article text itself) actually does a nice job of talking about what AMC’s attempts to manhandle the show meant – reduced budgets, requesting that they film inside more often on a show that at the time was almost entirely on-location in the woods, fear that anyone who spoke out would be killed off, Frank Darabont’s firing, etc. Honestly, it’s a miracle the show didn’t completely derail in the second season. Pretty much everyone agrees it was paced like molasses, but it was still thematically and tonally consistent with what was happening before.

      Really, the show’s biggest problems now remain that it’s not sure what it’s trying to do with a lot of its characters. What has really motivated Rick’s sudden transformation into a Shane-like fascist? It makes sense that after losing most of his family and his home (and hope) Hershel would eventually have a crisis of faith – but we just see him resigned to a “life sucks” point of view without that actual crisis or mourning. Lori’s been a problem since day 1 – at once Rick’s rock, a frightened mother who is super cautious, a defensive parent who is super aggressive about her family, etc. ( And yes, I’ve heard that in the latest season she does get killed, but ironically I miss the airings of the TV show to do Spoiler Warning so I’m always playing catchup) I mean, the whole Shane rape attempt thing was just abysmally handled – referenced as important sometimes and treated like “just boys being boys” others.

      The tone of the show is good, the themes of the show are solid, I like the actors, and the production values are top notch. When the show works, it really works. But they keep pretending like they can ignore what’s happened or make up character motivations as they go, and that’s really irksome. I’ve heard this season starts to resolve some of that, Rick’s craziness aside, and hopefully when I catch up that’ll be the case.

      • What I found galling, if true, was that Mad Men, with its poorer ratings, was given the money taken from the budget of The Walking Dead. It’s one of the few times a fan can say that show X was helped at the expense of show Y and it be even remotely accurate (since most of those arguments are “how does Fox TV Show I Like get canceled when CW Show I Hate stays on the air?”).

        I wish Darabont and the budget had stayed put.

    • Cody says:

      It might be better then 90% of the stuff on right now, but for me it’s still not worth the time. I watched all of season 1, and between only having one person on the show I liked (the old guy) and having the story arch be rather retarded(not to mention the season ending) I just decided my leisure time is better off reading A Game of Thrones instead.

  44. Ravens Cry says:

    Looks like the *kind* of game they were trying to make in the old FMV video game days, but the limitations of the technology the made it harder to pull off. One thing that is bugging me is how obviously the little girl’s voice actor is an adult woman playing a young child. I know this is extremely common in the industry, but it still pulls me out of the game to an extent.

  45. Wonch says:

    Subtitles please :(

  46. So what are the chances I could convince Shamus to switch to these “alternate” opening credits to the Walking Dead TV show?

    I know, copyrighted music and all that. Still, I like the minimalist animation coupled with the comic book art. The music works, too.

  47. And now for something completely different…(catch that reference)

    The Omega DLC for Mass Effect 3, I got a chance to try it out…

    And it’s good actually. Despite the corridor running (your inside a mining station after all) they actually managed to make it feel really expansive.
    There is also some cool visuals of a huge citylike landscape “inside” the asteroid, and I’m not sure if I ever saw that in ME1, 2 or 3 at all before.
    They even did a “Cloud City CGI” homage I think, as one narrow corner of a corridor has collapsed revealing the city scape as well.

    And while the path to your goal is pretty much on rails (A to B basically each level).

    And Shamus, you’ll love this:

    There are actually colors, sure we got brownish rock and grey steel, but also orange, blue, some green, purple, red, flowing water, spinning giant fans with colored light beaming between the blades..

    And the level design makes it feel claustrophobic yet expansive at the same time, they actually managed to give a Doom 3 feeling better than Doom 3 did, maybe it’s due to the way the flashlight works/behave in Omega whenever it’d used, not sure really.

    Also they managed add some exploration in almost all areas, so exploring to find upgrades or other loot is actually encouraged. And the levels have good flanking options so you can flank and even attack the enemy from the rear while your squadmates attack from the front.

    And yes I said squadmates. Despite Shepard going solo, he (or she) still get not just one, but two squadmates. (no, you do not get to take them with you after you complete the DLC, these are Omega only)

    And the choice you make do seem to influence the behavior of at least one of the squadmates, and slightly changes the ending of the DLC as well.

    The Omega DLC would have be perfect if placed during ME2, then again the DLC do not really reference other events at all, it’s pretty much self contained so you can easily image it taking place from anywhere after the middle of ME1 (if you ignore Shepard working with cerberus during ME2 that is).

    Oh and we get to see a Elcor walking if even for a brief moment, hut still nice to see.

    The DLC even has a few mini-side missions.

    And I’m not sure how, but Omega actually feels more populated than the citadel.

    If the Omega DLC is made with a new (and currently small I assume) team, small budget and not that much development time, then I think this new team might just be able to make a decent Mass effect 4 if this DLC is anything to judge by.

    We get to learn something about Aria’s past.
    We get to talk with a female Turian.
    We get to explore Omega and discover it’s way more (and way larger) than just the Afterlife club, apparently there are millions of people on Omega (!).
    We get a plot/main story that feels cohesive and no loose ends.
    The pacing of combat-breather-combat-breather seemed good.

    The Omega DLC is sadly way too short. Mass Effect 2 could easily have been built around the plot of this DLC alone.

    And that is the interesting part, the DLC was not about saving the galaxy. It was about interacting with a few characters, making some choices, and help save a (albeit huge) mining base.

    The only major minus about the DLC is that it is a DLC, this should ideally have been it’s own game, it almost felt like a teaser in some ways.

    Then again maybe it was, as the (new) team that did this DLC will also be the team that will be making Mass Effect 4 so I’ll guess we will get to see them make a full game.

    • StashAugustine says:

      Well, that’s good to know. I’m going to be replaying the entire series at some point, so I’ll be picking that up.

      • Even says:

        YMMV. Seeing a female turian was about the only really fresh thing about it for me. I would only recommend it if you’re interested seeing more of Aria and Omega. The story just doesn’t even try. Aria being Aria all the time (IE. bitchy and cranky) and the other squad member turning out to be even more boring than James after the initial novelty wore off took the wind out of the sails for me not even half way through. The main villain could have saved some of it, but they just couldn’t make him work. A Cerberus leader with a code of honor and some semblance of ethics, really Bioware? Not actually that bad of a premise on paper, but the fact that he really thinks Cerberus is a good idea and is willing to go along with their idiotic villainy ruined all chances of taking him seriously.

        Worst is when in the end, it’s like nothing happened. Aria’s back sitting on the couch in Purgatory and whatever semblance of character development she may have had is gone. All you get for the adventure is a pointless chess board in your cabin and a couple of new weapons and mods.

        • I both agree and disagree with you.
          The issue is as I said, that this was a DLC, so the story is way to short and should have been a game instead instead.
          (I actually forgot to check if you got a war asset or not after this DLC was over.)

          Also, the “code” of that cerberus commander is questionable considering what you see/hear in the video recording.

          I was hoping (after getting the mini side missions) to see that control room become a sort of hub for the adventures on Omega, sadly you only return there once later.

          I’m just guessing but I bet the team was told to make a x hours long DLC with a budget of y, and the plot of z.
          And if that is correct then they delivered exactly that.

          For the lack of a better description of how it felt to play this DLC, it felt like playing a Mass Effect 1 side quest, which gives me hope for ME4.

          • Even says:

            “Also, the “code” of that cerberus commander is questionable considering what you see/hear in the video recording.”

            That’s what I was referring to with “idiotic villainy“. The premise was just what the build-up attempted to deliver.

  48. Elilupe says:

    I always love seeing what the new Kevin MacLeod tune is on a new season.

  49. ccesarano says:

    Wow, watch the video a day late and almost 300 comments. Damn Shamus, your site’s popularity has just exploded (and I am happy for that).

    I haven’t read any of the Walking Dead comic, and I was interested in checking out the TV show for a while. Then my brother and I were watching a movie on AMC late at night and there was a commercial for The Walking Dead where a zombie rips a character’s stomach open while he is alive.

    If there is anything I cannot stand it is drawing out someone dying, usually while getting eaten alive. There are some cases where I can deal with it. Someone has been riddled with bullets and is just barely hanging on. But someone screaming at the top of their lungs while they get torn apart? No.

    So it is possible that I wouldn’t like The Walking Dead simply because all the characters are assholes (pretty common in modern television drama, which is disappointing), but I refuse to watch it because I am not entertained by someone suffering. Maybe the notion of someone being eaten alive gets my empathy sensors going off the scale in particular, as I’ve been able to watch a movie like Saw and still find it entertaining (with an asterisk), but I just can’t deal with a show where someone is suffering for a long period of time.

    Fortunately for me, the game didn’t really have those sorts of moments save one, and I am okay with its implementation and purpose.

  50. GAH! They got my city wrong, damn it!

    (yes, I know, minor nitpick, but it’s the first time I’ve ever seen my city in a game and it’s wrong and there goes my suspension of disbelief. The TV series was better about that.) Now back to the video…

    • Oh, if anyone cares, here’s a nice map of the shooting locations for the TV show. Google maps. That explains why the CDC looked so damn familiar even though I’ve never been there. (It’s not the real CDC)
      And thinking about it, I understand why the road looks the way it does. It’s just a bit jarring with the skyline since my brain points out that even I-20 is (I believe but haven’t used it recently to check) at least 3 lanes per side to 285 and if you’re going to Macon, you’re on 75, and that’s not 2 lanes till way past the airport.

      Yes, I’m weird, but this is what breaks belief for me. Not ME3’s ridiculous plot (though I agree with you guys on that), but little things I’m intimately familiar with.

      I do like the game thus far otherwise. The answering machine was a nice touch and I look forward to seeing all of the game (since I’m never going to play it)

  51. Nick Pitino says:

    Hi hi.

    Two quick comments.

    First, I haven’t played this yet but this first video has piqued my interest enough that I’ll probably pick it up.

    Secondly I just want to say that more and more I appreciate the iron-fisted-on-certain-topics approach to moderation here. I just finished reading through the comments thread on the newest Yahtzee review over at the Escapitst and find myself wanting to gargle buckshot to make the idiocy stop.

  52. sofawall says:

    So is there any particular reason Chris is now listed as Campster?

    • X2Eliah says:

      Internet persona, probably. All of his personal videos are under the name “Campster”, and it’s also hiw YT channel name. So, makes sense that his internet name (just like Rutskarn) is used instead of real one.

  53. Dante says:

    Wait, Ruts has a girlfriend? What kind of relationship can 12 year olds have?

  54. Asimech says:

    Shamus: “…I’m a bad guy. How bad am I?”
    Me: “Am I a bad enough dude?”

    The “horror works better when you don’t die” is rather nicely explained by the difference between “horror” and “terror” as feelings. Horror is the expectation and fear for something that is going to happen, terror is what you feel when it has happened.

    I always do the “ssh, dammit. Shut up.” It would make sense in-game too, since “the creatures” seemed to be attracted to sound, based on the fact that they came after Lee fired the shotgun and left when shots were fired elsewhere.

    Might not seem much, but correlation tends to end up being considered causation instinctively and Lee did yell just before the attack, so I would imagine a lot of people would be restrained in yelling at least subconsciously.

  55. […] thanks to some Spoiler Warning and a need to take a Skyrim break, I picked up The Walking Dead a few days ago. Finished it a […]

  56. Phantos says:

    Going back and listening to Rutskarn say that “character deaths aren’t common” in this game, and that “character depth is more important than killing off characters” and “it’s not a Game of Thrones episode”…

    Oh Ruts. How naive we were…

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  1. By The Ravings of Demented Rabbits » The Walking Dead on Wednesday Feb 20, 2013 at 8:04 am

    […] thanks to some Spoiler Warning and a need to take a Skyrim break, I picked up The Walking Dead a few days ago. Finished it a […]

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