Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Walking Dead season 1 Review (PS Vita)

It's all about choices in 'The Walking Dead'
Written by Drei Medina



[SPOILER ALERT]
This game review may contain minor to major story spoilers. Read at your own risk smile emoticon

Like it or not someone is going to die, and that someone might be you.
These all depend on your choices in the thrilling RPG-action title The Walking Dead which is based on ANC's same titled hit TV series.
The game follows the story of convicted felon Lee Everett who is on his way to jail after killing a state senator when the zombie apocalypse breaks out and starts to turn the living into the dead.
Due to the chaos, Lee evades detention and is met instead with a more horrible fate; fighting hordes of rotting zombies for his survival.
But in a twist of fate Lee stumbles upon Clementine, an 8-year-old girl whom he takes a liking for. The two band together and try to survive while searching for the girl's parents.
Before I begin my review, I would like to state that The Walking Dead is not a First Person Shooter. It does have bits of FPS factors but it's more focused on the action and decision making aspects of the game.

Gripping story, catchy characters
I have to say hands down that The Walking Dead's story has one of the best plots in the current lineup of Vita games available in the market. It's actually on par with Soul Sacrifice if you were wondering.
The game's story is just so well written and masterfully executed that it feels like you're actually watching the TV series and tailoring the next scenes with your in-game decisions.
And it's this decision making process that gives the game its charm as players are given the feeling of complete control over the situation.
During decision making, players can react positively, negatively, neutrally or even stay silent and this affects how the story progresses.
Mixed up in all these are captivating characters who each have their own take on how they survived the zombie apocalypse so far.
A handful of characters are funny while others are a bit on the serious side and some are just downright obnoxious.
There will be times when you'll be forced to choose who to save between two characters (that you both like) which always keeps you on your toes even during unsuspecting moments.
So to avoid any heartbreak later on you might want to sever attachments you have for any of the characters, as difficult as it may seem.

Details and technicalities
The Walking Dead breaks down into 5 episodes composed of 7 chapters each where the player, through Lee confronts various problems involving fatherly love, survival and human greed.
Graphics-wise, I can't find anything to complain about since all scenes were smooth, crisp and pleasing to the eyes.
There's a little bit of everything in the game including suspense scenes, some FPS action and detective sequences which never makes playing boring.
Aside from this, a healthy doze of profanity is used every now and then to keep things realistic especially during character vs character conflicts or shit-just-hit-the-fan moments.
With these engaging elements it's difficult not to get immersed in the game especially when you realize that it adapts to your choices, similar to a “choose your own adventure” book.
This immersive experience is then amplified when playing the game with ear/headphones on while the lights are out, preferably during night time.
Finally, there are two ways to play the game; with touch controls or standard (button) controls. I would strongly recommend playing with the standard controls if you want a more natural and challenging playthrough.
In conclusion, the game has set the bar for future Vita releases which rely on a strong story. However the game is definitely not free from flaws.
The Walking Dead is marred by an occasional lag caused by the autosave feature which unfortunately stunts the immersive experience.
Once in a while there are also slow loading times but I'll have to let this slip with all the positives the game has to offer.
My only wish is that Telltale games keeps on producing this excellent game franchise on the Vita beyond The Walking Dead: Season 2 which has already been partially released.

The verdict: 9.5/10 [must play]

The Walking Dead is an RPG-action game which boasts one of the best stories in the current Vita roster and tailors the story progress depending on the player's choices.
It has captivating characters coupled with an engaging experience making it one of the most immersive game experiences available on the Vita.

Pros:
+ Strong, solid story
+ Catchy characters
+ Engaging experience
Cons:
- Occasional lag during autosave
- Slow loading times