Reviews

REVIEW: The Walking Dead – Season One for PS Vita

The Walking Dead- Season One for PS Vita

Developer: Telltale Games

Distributor: Skybound Entertainment

Release Date (Vita): 20th August 2013

Price: £14.99 (UK)

Synopsis:

Based on the Robert Kirkmans extremely popular comic book series, The Walking Dead is set in a post-apocalypse world, where the dead walk the earth and are hungry for your flesh. Following the story of Lee Everett and his young companion Clementine, the episodic adventure allows us to first hand experience a world filled with terror and horror. The game changes and develops to the choices you make throughout, with your decisions choosing characters fates,  storyline outcomes and your relationships with other survivors. Winner of over 90 Game of the Year awards back in 2012, the the Vita bundle includes all 5 episodes of  season one, as well as the extra episode titled “400 Days”.

Review:

So has the long wait for a Walking Dead vita port been worth it? I can happily say it has. This is the same Walking Dead you know and love, a straight port with nothing removed from the original console version. Telltale has changed how storytelling in gaming can be done, and every allocade they have received over the past year is thoroughly deserved. Not since the fantastic Mass Effect series have I been so invested into characters in a video game. You will truly care for Lee and Clementine, and will want to do everything in your power to make sure they are safe in a world filled with dangers. The majority of the game will see you choosing between a selection of four conversation options, with each leading the story or your relationship with a certain character down a different path. Be prepared for shocks, twists and disturbing scenes, as this game does not hold back any punches. The Walking Dead is not about choosing right from wrong, its about making the right choices to survive. In a world overrun with zombies, its not simply a black and white choice, but various shades of grey. You will want to explore this world thoroughly for every scrap of hidden content. This game stuck with me long after the ending credits had rolled, and with many more seasons to come, I am excited to return to this world of as soon as possible.

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For all the praises that the games storytelling gets, not everything about the Walking Dead for PS Vita is smooth sailing. On all platforms, The Walking Dead has suffered from lag, slight freezing and slow loading that can take you out of the immersive world created by Telltale. Unfortunately this happens far too frequently on the Vita version, more so than on consoles. This only really affected my playthrough on a couple of occasions, but some quicktime events require you to time actions perfectly, and when the game can freeze without warning, be prepared to replay certain sections over and over again. Luckily the game saves frequently, so you are never sent back too far. As this is a PS Vita port, it is not a surprise that touch screen controls have been intergrated into the experience. At the beginning of your playthrough, you are given the option of using touch controls to move around, or the Vita joystick and gamepad. The touch controls are actually a nice addition to the gameplay, when they function correctly. You can use the touch screen to select items to interact with in the environement, and this is a very effective feature which works extremely well. Choosing a conversation option through the touchscreen  is also a nice inclusion.

A strange design choice, however, is the ability to make the front touch pad a way of moving Lee around the environment. Although this functions well, having your fingers on the small Vita screen, and swiping it left and right to move to different areas of the map frequently obscured my view of my surroundings and made it hard to easily navigate. At certain points in the game you will be given a certain amount of time to look around to find a way of killing an on coming zombie, or a way of escaping a seemingly impossible situation. These parts require you to think fast and quickly find a particular object to interact with. However, using the touch controls to look around is extremely difficult, to borderline broken. Instead of holding your finger on the screen and moving it left to right, you instead need to give a swishing motion in the direction you require to look. This means a lot of the time you will find your self seeing an object you are required to select, but are moving too far left or right to select it in time. The unprecise motion of this, more often than not, resulted in the (often gorey) demise of my Lee. Luckily the joystick and gamepad options all work perfectly, and for movement I thoroughly recommend using the joysticks.

Summary:

Yays:

  • Fantastic story, with fantastically developed characters who you WILL become attached to.
  • For the most part, touch controls work well
  • All 5 episodes, including the bonus episode 4oo days, in one bundle.
  • Looks great on Vita
  • Hard decisions which will make your playthrough different to everyone elses.
  • Heartbreaking final act

Nays:

  • Technical issues
  • Rough transitions at important moments
  • Touch controls can be a burden

A true landmark in video game storytelling, TellTales Walking Dead on PS Vita is a fantastic experience, which needs to be played by pretty much everyone, regardless of technical issues and some questionable touch screen capabilities.

RATING

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