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Walk This Way – Walking Dead Episode 1 Review

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It seemed last year that Telltale Games may have lost some of their goodwill by releasing Jurassic Park which was for the most part lukewarmly received by critics and fans. They shifted their style for that from the classic Telltale adventure game format which has made their Sam and Max seasons as well as Monkey Island and Back to the Future great episodic content. Having completed the first episode of  The Walking Dead I can say fear no more Telltale has produced a worthy companion to the comic.

One thing that Jurassic Park was maligned for was relying too heavily on Heavy Rain esque non stop quick time events. Walking Dead really only borrows this for some of the more tense moments (such as backing away from and evading zombies) and for the most part it works pretty well. It seems to me that Walking Dead is the best parts of Back to the Future and Jurassic Park mechanics put together. Most of the time in controls like an adventure game you click on things and pick them up and use them with something else. The puzzles are not really abstract and for the most part are really easy by adventure game standards. Ultimately it helped keep the plot going so that was probably for the best. There are a couple really good sequences that barely count as puzzles but feature some brainpower. Combat sometimes happens a little fast to even notice and it can be out of no where your mouse is now a large crosshair that has to go on a zombie’s head to punch it. Having it be sudden and quick is kind of the way action is in the Walking Dead you think you’re safe and boom a zombie is there for a second and eats your family.

 


I have to say I didn’t think the story was going to be much good but it was surprisingly entertaining and has me looking forward to the next episode. You play as Lee a man who may or may not have really committed a crime and like most police transfers which never seem to go too well he’s getting transported and it’s zombies that break up this one. You come across Clementine, a little girl waiting for parents who as one could guess aren’t probably coming back. You of course meet up with different groups of survivors in different areas (some places and people of course you will recognize for them to justify the Walking Dead license). Much like what happens in zombie movies you find yourself displaced often and scrounging. Naturally as we go people turn out to be jerks, people get eaten, and those people probably become zombies. The plot is good and works this episode really more sets up Lee and Clementine and begins to give us our group. So far I like em, it’ll be too bad to watch them die and come back.

When you boot up the game it tells you that it changes based upon your decisions. I have to give it credit character choices do influence how people treat you as you run into them and get into sticky most likely zombie filled situations. I lied to a character and he caught me in and called me on it. I was nice to one and he called me a friend (I’m totally invited to his bday party). While some of these choices seem like the are just going to act as accents to dialogue and character treatment through the series you will also have to pick who lives and dies in some scenarios. It’s going to be interesting to see if my choices with this much more serious matter play a big role. I certainly hope so because having to do things like that is kind of what makes Rick Grimes the protagonist in the Walking Dead comic awesome, he has to deal with messed up stuff and in sometimes messed up ways. While Rick isn’t featured at all in the game other cast members seem to drift in and out. It’s a little unnecessary but for the most part unoffensive. I don’t need to have a stop at Hershel’s farm but sure why not I’ll hang out there for a day. They don’t seem to milk which is the best case scenario.

Walking Dead has a neat cell shaded art style that is a nice bit of a departure from Telltale’s usual cartoony look. Sadly on the PC not all the textures looked great, there would be dull blocky textures right next to really goodlooking hi res shaded ones. Also some character models look much better than others. The zombie models themselves aren’t the best but at least stay close to the source material. I had a few framerate hiccups running on the highest setting here and there once there were more than a few characters on screen.

 


Much like a zombie I am hungry but rather than brains I would like the next episode of the Walking Dead (I completed this one in two hours). It’s not 100% adventure game or 100% quick time events and that’s a good thing. Everything seems to fit well for the universe. The new characters even when tropes feel deep and have some genuine moments. The decision making mechanic cinches it though and actually makes you feel like you are having an impact in the world. It was great too that in the end they showed what percentage of places picked what. This of course is just episode one and hopefully the momentum keeps going. If you are a fan of Walking Dead or any kind of thinking man’s zombie entertainment you’ll do well to give this a shot, in the brain.

Griefed Interviewcast – Pwnee Studios on Cloudberry Kingdom

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Masochistic platformers have been some of the best indie games in the last couple years. Pwnee Games is bringing us one of the most promising we’ve seen in a long time. Cloudberry Kingdom is fully randomized and has carnage for up to four players. They boast more possible levels than particles in the universe thanks to the algorithm created by Jordan Fisher. Tigs and I got the chance to play it a little while ago and it was a lot of fun. We got the chance to talk with Jordan and business and marketing head honcho at Pwnee Michael Suswal and hear about how this project came to be and some exciting places it’s going.

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First teaser of Telltales Walking Dead game revealed!

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IGN yesterday revealed the first teaser trailer for the upcoming Telltale developed Walking Dead game based upon the comic by Robert Kirkman and the AMC TV show.

We have yet to see much any gameplay (that gets revealed Monday) but we get a look at it graphically ( seems cell shaded and a little comic bookish which is always welcomed) and some insight on what could be the plot, trying to protect a girl named Clementine as already reported by Kotaku it will focus on a man named Lee taking her through the wasteland and there will be a lack of Rick Grimes.

Things of course being Walking Dead seem a bit bleak. Hopefully Telltale some better by this property than they did their Jurassic Park game which was pretty universally maligned. They announced so many projects last years it’s hard to see if maybe they are spreading themselves too thin as also reported this game will be coming to just about every platform under the sun. It would be great to have a bit of a non traditional zombie game as always zombies are just about everywhere now. Until then let’s keep our severed fingers crossed and wait until Monday.

The best content in life is free but you can save it for DLC: The DLC Quest Review

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As Discussed in the previous episode of the Griefed Podcast DLC is part of the gamer’s life now. Love it or hate it many of us ask ourselves everyday “is this complete?” The games we buy sometimes feel piecemeal, codes inundate us when we purchase new games. The marketplace online is packed with cosmetics, guns, extra XP and even the prospect of proper endings can be dangled over our eyes. “DLC Quest” decides to hold a mirror up to this and show us what a world with DLC gone wild could look like. Going Loud Studios act as our guide through their personal dystopia. It’s kinda like Mad Max but with more downloads and less Tina Turner.

As the Player we must rescue a Princess from the bad guy, something we all should be very familiar with by now. Then the twist comes right as one starts and it’s that everything in this game is DLC. Jumping is DLC, swords, and even pausing! Keep your credit card stowed, all the “dlc” is just unlockables via in games coins. But as the unlocks get more kooky you want to get coins to unlock everything just to see what silly, stupid thing you can add to the world. The platforming isn’t quest the best, neither is the sword you have at hand. But that’s not the point of the game, it’s in the message as weird as it sounds. The writing is also filled with jokes ranging from random encounters to Mass Effect character references. All definitely good for a chuckle or two. The visuals are retro and charming and the music (once unlocked) also does a good job of providing a nice throughback.

Coming from Xbox Live Indie many people have low expectations or may miss it entirely. But I do think this one is worth a look. “DLC Quest” is a goof, but a great one. Yeah the game itself is short and can be completed in much less than an hour. There are “awardments” to keep you going back a bit. For a dollar I don’t mind giving some money to a really clever indie developer. The subject is ripe for satire and they nail it. Sadly this reality could be closer than we think which makes me hope that the bigwigs see this somewhere out there. Needless to say if available I look forward to purchasing additional episodes and content soon over Xbox Live.

Official Going Loud Studios Site

Griefed! Podcast #3: Morality

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This weeks Greifed!! Hot off the presses! Join us won’t you for a discussion on the morality in games, Home Improvement, Ed TV, Final Fantasy XII-2, Kingdoms of Amalur and lots more! Recorded on 02-08-12 and featuring the song Dead of Night by Lightning Crabs.

Griefed! Podcast: Game of the Year 2011

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The week of Griefed! is coming to a close, but there is still one podcast I have left to share with everyone. This was the first one Alex and I did that got us back into the swing of things. There was a long break between this one and the previous talkshoe podcasts of old, I guess this is like the start of season 2 or something. Recorded…sometime at the end of December in 2011, and featuring an all Lightning Crabs soundtrack, enjoy the GOTY 2011 Griefed!

Griefed! Podcast #2: Protagonists

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What!? A double dose of Griefed! in one week? That’s right. Expect the Game of the Year one shortly. But for now Alex and I discuss protagonists in games, motorcycle gangs, and as always Tony Hawk, in additon to whatever else comes up. Recorded on 02/01/12, apologies for the Skype issues at the beginning it gets better about 30 minuets in, and featuring the song Nathaniel the Coal Miner by Modern Major Generals.