I’ve been reading The Walking Dead comic book since its inception in 2003. My comic book store mistakenly put the first issue in my stash and I continued to buy it after that. They mistook it for another book that came out at that time by Steve Niles called Wake the Dead. Both are great, but it looks like Robert Kirkman’s creation had the real staying power. When Telltale‘s The Walking Dead came to home consoles in April of 2012, I didn’t jump on the bandwagon right away. I’ve never been a fan of episodic gaming, so I decided to wait for the physical release. It came out early 2013, if my memory serves me right.
I remember going to Best Buy to find a copy and was genuinely excited to see this comic book come to life. What amazed me from the get go, other than the amazing story the writers penned, was the fact that they took the art style of Charlie Adlard, the book’s penciller at the time. I was captivated by this comic book come to life. Up to that point, I really hadn’t seen a game representation of an artist’s work like how the developers at Telltale pulled it off.
A Comprehensive Edition
Let’s talk about what you get in The Walking Dead: The Telltale Definitive Series. I’ve been buying the season sets since the beginning, so did I need to get this? I’m going to find out. First off, you get all 4 seasons, The 400 Days, and The Walking Dead: Michonne. That is a huge amount of content, with each season taking between 8 to 9 hours depending on which chapter you play. 400 Days and Michonne are much shorter since they were just some additional DLC.
The best thing that I noticed about this collection was the fact that it didn’t make you start on season one. I was worried I was going to have to go through the entire tale just to see what happens in The Final Season. Instead, I was allowed to start with The Final Season, which thrilled me. I needed to see what happens to Clementine and AJ.
Since it seems the servers for Telltale remembers all of our saves, I was greeted with a nice prologue in Season 4. This prologue allowed me to remake the choices I had during some very pivotal moments in prior seasons. Seeing as it has been seven long years since my run of Season 1, I had to think long and hard about my earlier decisions. I think I chose correctly, but it didn’t really seem to affect the outcomes in Season 4.
Additional Updates and Some Missed Chances
The art style looks so much more amazing with the updated graphics for the current generation of consoles. As I said earlier, they captured Adlard’s artwork perfectly—the shading, the look of the zombies, the overall character design. They matched them perfectly.
Telltale had been doing well on the series since the first season of the game. But after the update and while looking at the newer seasons, the updated graphics really capture the look and feel of the comic book. What does bother me though is the fact that Skybound didn’t fix the choppiness of the first season.
You can tell that the game is thinking about what to do. It stutters between questions answered and the reply from the NPC. This is still jarring to me, and kind of detracts from this being the definitive edition. I don’t know why they couldn’t fix this while upgrading the graphics, but it takes a little away from the experience. The later seasons don’t have this. You won’t have to worry about it in Season 4, but at the get go you get some stuttering.
Act Fast or Perish
The controls remain the same throughout Clementine’s entire journey; some sprucing up is done between seasons, but overall the game is a series of timed choices and quick time events. Get to know your controller layout so you’re not eaten by zombies or have some other terrible fate befall you. Once again, the first season is kind of rough with the camera. It moves super fast so you miss some quick time events and perish. There are no options to slow down the sensitivity to that camera.
You are stuck with it throughout the first season. Be prepared to overshoot your mark until you get used to how fast it is. Another issue that was a touch weird with this collection was the very long load times. I don’t remember long load times when I was playing these on my Xbox 360, but it kind of took me out of the story as I sat there and watched the loading icon spin over and over.
Collecting a Legacy
Telltale’s story is what brought most players into this series, and it continues to stand out. The Walking Dead was one of the best tales that has ever hit our hobby. This collection allows you to see what outstanding writing the developers had before they went under last year. That alone should get you to buy this collection. When Telltale went under last year, I was somewhat concerned I wouldn’t see the end of Clementine’s tale. Thankfully Skybound swooped in to salvage the apocalyptic narrative, and I get to see the end of a story that I started in 2012. (Unfortunately, the people who lost their jobs when Telltale suddenly closed weren’t so lucky.)
I’m glad that they put this collection together for old and new fans alike. Despite the elements of horror and use of quick time events, this is a nice game to just relax to. There aren’t a lot of flashy lights and action, but it’s a nice grounded game that really tears at the heartstrings. I would suggest this game to anyone. If you’ve played them already like me and need to see the end, grab a copy, and replay or jump right to the finale. It is also a perfect collection for newcomers who still believe that single player story-driven games are viable and enjoyable. Go get this game and kill some walkers!
This review is based on a review key provided by the publisher.
Have you played Telltale’s Walking Dead games before? What did you think of Clementine’s story being completed while Telltale shut down and hundreds were laid off without warning? Do you have an opinion about Telltale apparently being revived while hiring a portion of former Telltale employees? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.