I finished The Walking Dead game last night and went through an emotional jag over fictional characters, the likes of which has not been witnessed since Joker was forced to abandon Shepard, Uncle Iroh’s perfection, Artax refusing to fight and, before all that, Bambi’s mom. I still have the 400 Days DLC to deal with, but I’m going to need to take an hiatus of feels before I get started on it.
Not that I didn’t know what I was walking into. My friends who had already played this game and learned that I was doing so, prefaced their praise with variations on what kind of sobbing mess it reduced them to. It’s deceptive, this game, using the rather simplistic, two dimensional artwork to lure you into a false sense of security. They could have gone the high definition route that would allow for more gruesome zombifaction, but I assume the stylistic choice was a throwback to The Walking Dead’s comic roots. In the first issue, creator Robert Kirkman stressed that he was not writing a horror story. Of course there are zombies and the subsequent gore and I did have several jump out of my pants moments when they popped out from behind doors and stuff, but what Kirkman has created is actually a “survivalist adventure.” With the original story, you’re meant to follow the character, Rick Grimes, and see how he deals with the unimaginable. The television show has taken this one step further by granting more focus to a lot more characters. The key theme that pops out at you and is far scarier than the zombies, is that living, breathing human beings are scary motherfuckers and when we’re dropped down to the bottom of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (Why yes, yes I have been taking the TWD Canvas Network course. Why do you ask?), there’s very little many of us are not capable of in the name of survival.
|Clementine remembering that thing you did...|
Anyway, Lee survives a car crash that conveniently frees him from custody, while simultaneously introducing him to the end of the world. He makes his way into town where he meets an eight year old survivor named Clementine. Together, they set out to, well, survive.
|I better just tuck those back in and try that again.|
4.5 star review part of this post done, I will now move on to the flail.
I played Lee as a straight shooter (similar to just under 50% of all players) who killed only when he had to and always with Clem as his top priority. He always talked to her and took care of her and all his decisions and indecisions were because of her. He also did his best to cling to some level of humanity, even if it meant risking himself or the crew. He couldn’t just abandon people in the group, even though some of them deserved it.
|(LOOKING AT YOU BEN AND KENNY)|
|An Ode to my Hatchet....|
Finally, Lee gets bitten on his way to find the kidnapped Clementine. At this point on, you’re playing with the full knowledge that this is not going to be a happy ending, if ever you thought it would be. The offers of hope are limited, but never unrealistic. Lee is, plain and simple, dying, and if he does make it to Clementine, she’s going to have some heavy shit to deal with.
I wasn’t overly impressed with the “final boss,” whose purpose seemed just to throw your decisions in your face. It pulled me out of the game a bit, but after that, it was all about Clem and Lee, finally together again… for a little while. I was pretty much on the edge of tears for the entire last part. It’s a good thing I had so many distractions available to me after that, otherwise, it would have been a tear-stained pillow and heartache kinda night.