The Walking Dead

Last time, I said I would focus some more on analysing The Walking Dead by Telltale Games and I played the first episode during the weekend and episode 2 last night.

The first episode felt very promising when it came to my choices about what to do, say, or who to save, and how it would change the rest of the game in different ways. Even the preview in the end of the episode was made out of the choices I had made. But when playing the second episode it became more clear that the game is very linear and certain things will happen no matter what I choose to do. My power over the story becomes much smaller and the only real thing it seems like I can affect is my relation to each character. I have no, or very little power over who will survive and not, even if I try to save someone.

It’s disappointing since the game and it’s developers tell you that your decisions will affect the game and story in different ways and that it would not be the type of linear game which give you the feeling that your choices will make a different, but end up with the same result either way.

Since I only played two episodes so far I can’t judge the whole game but I’m nearly halfway through and they have to make a big turn in the remaining episodes if the game will succeed in making my decisions more important for the outcome of each character and the story. I really hope it will get better, but I hardly believe so since there has been several opportunities where the game could have let me try to save a character and actually succeed with it, but didn’t let me because the story is set to go in a specific way and certain characters just have to die, no matter what I do.

After playing each episode, I read about them in walkthroughs on internet and see what consequences every choice would have, and I found that, as I have already said, it doesn’t really matter. Even the decision that so far seems to have been the biggest one in a plot-twisting way (at the end of episode 1) doesn’t really change anything that happens in the next episode, just some smaller cutscenes that doesn’t really matter in the end.

I mentioned that the only real thing that changes is my relation to each character, but even that seems pretty flawed. I have supported one person in almost every discussion and helped out a lot, earning his trust. But once I do one thing for another, it is as if all the things I’ve done before suddenly doesn’t matter at all. Where did all the trust I had built up go? It feels like being transported right back to the starting line again and even worse than that in my relationship with the person that I didn’t side with for just one time.

Overall though, it is a good game so far and Telltale has managed to make a good point-and-click game despite it being a genre that I’m not so much into. The story is also good, but the problem is that it is a pretty much fixed story that demands the game to be linear, which contradicts with the gameplay of making tough decisions in moral dilemmas. This problem gets bigger when it comes to analysing it from the perspective me and Johan have for our work, since it’s the centre of our attention.

I will of course continue to play the remaining episodes and see what happens. I will write more about it if the gameplay changes so that my choices gets more decisive, but right now, it doesn’t look like it. It is a shame since the story itself is so good and engaging. I just wish it could be more flexible and dynamic.

One Response to “The Walking Dead”

  1. I just saw something about this on tv. It discussed the
    same things you wrote about.

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