The Walking Dead - No Time Left

So this is it, the end of TellTale’s The Walking Dead adventure game. Well, season 1, anyway. So how was it? In a word - amazing! In two words - amazingly upsetting; but don’t worry, it was completely in the way TellTale intended.

As I have mentioned in my previous reviews throughout the series, this is a particularly difficult game to assess. The reason for that is because it's not a traditional videogame. What makes The Walking Dead excellent has nothing to do with its gameplay or mechanics. The greatness instead comes from its narrative and the way in which the game pulls you in.

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For the most part, the gameplay is broken up into two different types of interaction. The first involves walking around a closed off area looking for the correct things to interact with in order to progress. The second is making conversation choices - often while under time pressure, making your decision-making all the more intense.

There are also a few actiony bits where you have to quickly move the cursor over an area of the screen and click to do something (such as kill a zombie) or even the occasional quick-time event. But otherwise, that’s pretty much it; this is a narrative experience first, and one that nobody should miss out on.

The story picks up right where episode four left off, which I obviously cannot tell you about since I wouldn’t want to spoil that either - argh! The cliff notes version is that you play as a guy named Lee who, during the zombie apocalypse, is trying to survive with a group of other desperate people.

The heart of the story though is that Lee (and therefore, the player) is responsible for a nine year-old girl named Clementine. I will not be surprised if their relationship goes down as one of the best bonds between two characters in gaming history. The way The Walking Dead makes the player care for Clementine is truly amazing and, by the end of this inevitably tragic tale (it is The Walking Dead afterall), you cannot help but feel for this girl and her guardian.

What also made this entire series special is that the choices you make throughout have an impact on how other characters react to you. This, the final episode, was the culmination of all those decisions, and many of them are brought up in interesting, satisfying, and often surprising ways. In fact, decisions from previous games will dictate which other characters are even with you at the start of episode five, which can make your experience extremely unique.

On a technical side, the game still has a few bugs. I am very disappointed to say that episode three was the only one where the game was able to recognise my previous saved game. What this meant is that, for every other episode, I had to play with a randomized selection of choices from the previous episodes, instead of the choices I actually made.

For a game built around creating your own unique experience, this often could break immersion for me. However, with that said, this final episode - especially the last 15 minutes - are so amazing and powerful that I just don’t care anymore. Yes, it is disappointing if you happen to experience this problem, but play the game anyway. Trust me.

I also want to give a special mention to the voice-acting cast who were pretty amazing the whole way through. However, the actress who played Clementine (Melissa Hutchison) deserves to win an award of some kind. Her performance throughout the series, and especially in episode five, went a long way towards what makes this series so special.

In fact, I feel The Walking Dead is so special that five to ten years from now people are still going to be talking about it and referencing its importance. I imagine this series will be the first to make many gamers cry, it is that emotionally powerful. Between this and Journey on the PS3, emotional narrative in gaming has taken a very big and important step forward in 2012.

If you haven’t payed The Walking Dead yet, please do yourself a favour and get it. It is available on Steam and for iOS. If you enjoy a good story in your games, don't miss out on this amazing (and important) series.

The Walking Dead: Season One
"A strong Game of The Year contender"
- The Walking Dead: Season One
Follow Own it? Rating: R18   Difficulty: Easy   Learning Curve: 5 Min


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Comments Comments (10)

Posted by joshdrought
On Tuesday 4 Dec 2012 8:33 AM
9.5 wow GOTY contender might be worth getting
Posted by phantom
On Tuesday 4 Dec 2012 9:22 AM
I completely agree with Aylon; this game is amazing, but not for the reasons you might have expected. The narrative is the most compelling I've ever encountered in a game and the decisions you have to make will stay with you forever. It's an incredible experience and comes with my personal seal of approval also. Cannot recommend it highly enough.
Posted by nimrod76
On Tuesday 4 Dec 2012 11:51 AM
Absolutely loved this game, it never let up and I can't think of a better way for the first season to end. Such a heart breaking final.

Just one of the most amazing gaming experiences I have had.
Posted by Insanctity
On Tuesday 4 Dec 2012 12:47 PM
I picked up the series during the steam halloween sale. Just finished episode 1... and now I'm hooked hahaha. Gotta admit that it wasn't wat I was expecting, gameplay wise. But the story is very compelling and well written. Looking forward to the next 4 episodes
Posted by supabowl
On Wednesday 5 Dec 2012 11:24 AM
Not normally a fan of adventure games but couldnt stop playing this. Been telling everyone I know to go and play it
Posted by sick_wierdo
On Tuesday 11 Dec 2012 5:50 PM
Im definitely getting this for ps3 when they release all the episodes together, i've heard nothing but good things and the story and narrative are pretty much universaly praised in every review i have seen. Cant wait! Great review
Posted by democracy_savvy
On Friday 14 Dec 2012 11:19 AM
11 December 2012, 05:50 PM Reply to sick_wierdo
Im definitely getting this for ps3 when they release all the episodes together, i've heard nothing but good things and the story and narrative are pretty much universaly praised in every review i have seen. Cant wait! Great review
i hope they release these on console in nz
Posted by treen
On Saturday 15 Dec 2012 7:58 PM
14 December 2012, 11:19 AM Reply to democracy_savvy
i hope they release these on console in nz
I've just ordered this on ps3 from play asia, It doesn't sound like its going to be available in NZ...I can't wait until it gets here!
Posted by Spidey
On Wednesday 26 Dec 2012 11:44 PM
Just finished it, best $20 I've ever spent. The story line is easily the best this year, I'm unsure about the game element as there wasn't really that much gaming to it. But you don't feel that throughout the game.
Posted by gh567
On Monday 18 Mar 2013 8:35 AM
What an amazing story. I played this on PS3 just recently when it came out for use finally! I cried like a little girl in the last episode....