For those of you coming to the blog for the first time, I have ranted and raved about this brave little title from Telltale Games, on quite a few occasions. The final episode of season one comes out on Tuesday/Wednesday, and will conclude the story for Lee and Clementine. Jim Rossignol over at RPS claims that most players that play the game are good guys, since they tend to make the “right decisions”. I cannot speak to the validity of the truth of said statement, simply because I think there is a critical factor at play here that Jim may have overlooked.
This season of the Walking Dead is a poignant, emotional story, with Lee and Clementine at its very core. Increasingly, I have found myself making decisions that benefit these two (and largely the group when the interests coincide). This is a real achievement for the studio, where they give you the choice to do something, but through the tale they compel you to the point that almost don’t have a choice. I think part of the reason that the statistics trailer for Episode 4 shows most TWD players to be the good guys is because most of them have been compelled by the game to do so.
Welcome to a brand new monthly segment here on Are We New At This called “This Month in Gaming”, where I will discuss why this is a great time to be a gamer, the games I was privileged enough to enjoy the month prior, and what I am currently playing.
October 2012 holds the dubious honor of being the first month since at least August 2004, when I did not play an MMO. Not a single one. I even sought public opinion on whether I should play Guild Wars 2 or The Secret World, which garnered a very large number of opinions. The Secret World won in the end, but for some strange reason, even though the installer sits in my downloads folder, I cannot quite bring myself to play it just yet. It is an odd feeling. I have this inkling to get my grubby paws on whatever MMO I can find and play it, just to satisfy the itch. But then I look at the list of everything else I was able to play and enjoy this month, and I realize that maybe this is a good thing!
First, just the list:
- Faster Than Light
- Of Orcs and Men
- The Walking Dead: Episode 4
- League of Legends
- The WarZ (alpha)
- ARMA II: Army of the Czech Republic
- Mark of the Ninja
- XCOM: Enemy Unknown
Aside from XCOM and Mark of the Ninja, I “finished” every other game on that list. To put a long story short, October 2012 was an amazing month for gaming, with some of the best, original and refreshing titles I have had the pleasure of playing in recent years. Check after the jump to see what rocked, almost rocked and flopped altogether!
First, watch the trailer.
The fourth episode looks to continue building on the many relationships Lee has forged in his travels since the infection first appeared. Things were bad, got worse, and will only continue to continue that trend the closer we get to the conclusion of season 1. This is not just a game, it is an experience, it is an exercise in epic storytelling designed to immerse you into this world. I care for Lee. I love Clementine. When playing, I no longer make decisions that I would make if I was in that situation. I make the decision that I think would be best for Lee and Clementine.
And that, my friends, is how I know Telltale Games has achieved a monumental achievement in video-game storytelling.
Go play it.
Jim Rossignol, one of the the stupidly intelligent (can that be a term?) folks over at RPS has an interesting argument, that PC games are “all about the terrain”. Well OK, it is less of an argument, and more of a thought, further fueled by the veritable Twitterati. However, I have played two games on the opposite end of a spectrum that I much care(d) about, which make me think that the best terrain alone does not a game make, and lack of other critical features can make it not worth your while.
Recently I played the first three episodes in season 1 of The Walking Dead. Stellar story, incredibly tense world, terrifying sense of dread. Now that I think back to the game in the context of this little piece, I realize that I remember little of the terrain, or if it had any major effect on me. I am sure it enhanced whichever situation it served as a backdrop for, but at the end of the day, story is what drove The Walking Dead, and I love the title for this reason.
On the other end of the spectrum is the excellent Torchlight 2, with a story so convoluted and under-developed, I literally stopped reading quest text by the second quest. The game won me over with incredible gameplay, deeply satisfying combat. Once again, when I look back at it, I have a vague recollection of the terrain, but that pales in comparison to the frantic button-mashing that took up 99% of my time.
What do you think? Do you think good use of terrain, or well-designed terrain can actually make a shoddy game passable, or it is just a background element for you?
I just got done with the third episode of in the phenomenal first season of The Walking Dead from Telltale Games. I bought the title during a Steam sale, and I have been very pleasantly surprised and thoroughly satisfied with my purchase.
When I first started playing, there were a 24 achievements to be, uh, achieved. I have two problems with this. The first with the way the achievements have been “designed” and the second with the way developers have laid these out in Steam.
You know you had a great gaming moment when you, sit there, mouth open, and just whisper “Awesome!” to nobody in particular. Lee was at the farm, mending fences (literally and figuratively), along with Mark. At one point they have to step out of the fence to try and lift the posts back into place because one zombie knocked it down as it fried.
Three things happen in quick succession.
- The electricity is turned on, and the fence goes live. Lee and Mark are trapped outside.
- Mark is nailed in the shoulder with an arrow. Assailants in the forest start raining arrows down on both Lee and Mark.
- Lee and Mark hide behind a tractor and push it as moving cover to get to an opening in the fence. The torso of a zombie that Lee has just torn in half chases them.
It is tense, it is heart-thumping and it is terrifying. It was also one of the best moments I have had recent gaming history. Well done Telltale Games!