I have not been posting nearly enough this year and I want to steer back from that. To that end I have found a 30-day blog challenge and will be writing out entries, hopefully I can get all thirty days without any breaks, and if I manage to do that (since August has 31 days) I will think of an additional entry to write about. I have done a 30-day challenge before, it for movies, but that was a while back, feel free to read those too if you like.
Today is day 11 and the topic is “Saddest Video Game Moment”.
This review contains spoilers for the Tell Tale video game “The Walking Dead”. As it is one of the most critically lauded games in… probably of all time. And it is both accessible to non-game players and fans of the show, if you have not played the game YOU REALLY SHOULD. I know it is zombies and that topic could not be more done to death if they tried. And I know the TV show is crap, but the game is good. Please play the game.
|Seriously, the TV show is crap.|
Hell, people who have played the game already know what scene I am talking about and agreeing with me (unless they are one of those people who claim that the “Final Fantasy” series isn’t full of crap in which case you are wondering why I did not pick the scene in which an overly cheerful woman gets killed by what looks like the front man to an emo punk band).
Let’s start with an overall review that I threw up on Steam just the other day.
This game represents a lot of things, all of them good.
- The use of original characters in the same universe helps avoid comparisons to the critically acclaimed comic, feeling like growth of the work rather than a retread (the TV show is a retread and I would describe it as inexplicable popular).
- This is the game license that allowed Telltale to break out, previously producing fun adventure games they are now producing the best ones to wide acclaim with more content set in comic and fantasy universe known to the general public.
- This is one of the most accessible games out there. Where the game play is less reliant on skill and more reliant on making decisions that impact the story. There are still stakes, but since all of them are about the characters' feelings and relationships it ultimately has a deep impact. Your input makes you feel responsible for ending and makes it hit harder. And it is sad.
If I were to log a complain it is this: it is a modern adventure game based more around story than gameplay, it is one step removed from a “Chose Your Own Adventure” novel and thus you will not get a lot of traditional gameplay elements based on reflexes and accuracy (when those elements do show up the controls are not built for them so you may lose those sections frustratingly).
I will also say that the chapters are not uniformly good, with chapter 3 being the weakest, reason being that in an episodic game, it is an episodic chapter, there is no unifying story that tie all its parts together. Chapter 3 is like they took all the standalone episodes in which “things happen” and put them in one place, whereas all of the other chapters have one big thing happen in several smaller parts. It is fine, I like it, but compared to 2 and 5 (my picks for the best episodes) it stands out as weak, you could almost skip it entirely because so much of what happens in it could just be shrugged off as, “I guess that happened off screen” like all of the things a person assumes happens off screen in a TV series between seasons. Again, it is still good, just not as good.
Now to talk about the ending and this is the last part at which you can avoid SPOILERS.
You are Lee Everett, formally a teacher and a murderer, when the dead started to walk you did your best to secure the safety of yourself and in doing so discovered a child, Clementine. Over the course of 5 chapters, or 10-12 hours of playing what is a very well written story of survivors in a zombie wasteland you arrive at the destination you have sought the whole game. The young girl you have been protecting learns the ultimate fate of her parents and you succumb to the zombie virus. There is a choice to be made 1) you can choose to have her put you out of your misery or 2) you can spare her the grim task of dispatching your ass before you are too far gone by having her leave you to become a walker. Either way, the little girl is all alone and you are dead.
|"Yeah, that sounds pretty sad."|
Clementine has been the sad little innocent in the story that Lee has done his best to protect, but in the end she has to lose all the innocence you tried to let her keep. And after your death she wanders into a world full of monsters, cannibals, and the bleak uncertainty of a civilization that has completely collapsed. It is incredible.
Share your own thoughts on this in the comments. I know I am not the only person out there who cares about video games, and I am sure many people disagree with me.