Monday, November 25, 2013

Undead Adventures On the Go Suffer Slightly

Quick Note: The Walking Dead The Game: Season One is an amazing experience to play through, but the Vita port may not be the best iteration to play. If you only have a Vita though, $20 for the game and the download content is well worth the experience, despite the bugs.

In 2012, when the Walking Dead The Game: Season One hit the industry, it spread like a wild fire. It became game of the year across many publications, won numerous awards and succeeded across consoles and mobile platforms alike. Fall 2013, the game has finally made it’s transition to the PlayStation Vita, though not without a few snags along the way.

The Walking Dead follows Lee Everett as he is being driven to prison outside Atlanta, Georgia. After hitting a walker, he is thrown from the police car and must act quick to survive. Battered and rattled, Lee stumbles into the backyard of Clementine, an 8 year old little girl whose parents have yet to come back from their trip to Savannah. This relationship is the foundation for the fantastic story behind the game, and you are the one who shapes it.

The game play is a little light in the terms of traditional game play. The player will control Lee both in story scenes and out. Outside of story scenes, the game controls like an old school point-and-click adventure game, with the player examining items in the environment and finding the right tool to solve the puzzle. For the Vita version, the player can opt to use the joystick controls, like it’s console brethren, or the touch screen controls like it’s mobile sisters. Either control scheme works as well as the other, so it’s truly a matter of personal preference. There’s nothing crazy new here, but the simple mechanics help lead into the story sections, which are the meat of the game.

Within each story section, the player will make decisions for Lee. Sometimes, these will be easy with lots of time to think about them. Often times, there are only a few seconds to think over exactly which decision you can make, and almost every decision impacts the people around Lee and how they see him. These decisions are also part of how you shape relationships with the characters you come across, including Clementine. It’s amazing how each part slowly changes the next, and playing alongside my two roommates to see how their decisions were different than mine and how it affected them was interesting. Plus, comparing your stats at the end of each chapter to the every one else who has played the game is a lot of fun and agreat way to see just how different or not so different your run is.

As great as the game is, the Vita port has some issues. Load times plague the game all over, causing slow down within the game constantly, especially when loading a save or starting a new chapter. With the ability to shut down the Vita without closing the game, it wasn’t too terrible, but any time I opened up another game and came back to the Walking Dead it was noticeable. On top of long start up times, the Vita version is plagued by stuttering during the game, including story portions. This became frustrating, especially when making important decisions that only gave you a few seconds to react. This constantly made me feel like I either didn’t make the decision I wanted in time or that my game was frozen.

Outside the story of season one there is the 400 Days DLC, which has far less issues with load times, and small interesting stories packed together.

The game is fantastic as a whole, and if you have yet to play it this tiny little package has it all. However, if you have any other system the game is on, it would probably be better to play on those and avoid the issues all together.

8 out of 10

Here Are A Few Links:
The Game Home Page
The Wikipedia Page
The Metacritic Page

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