Thank you Telltale Games for sending us this game to review!
Telltale Games is known for making great point and click adventure games. I have enjoyed their Tales of Monkey Island games. While those games have some moral issues, The Walking Dead is a VERY mature game with its excessive language and violence. Despite these issues, the character development is phenomenal and the story and characters change based on your decisions.
The game begins with your character, Lee, riding in the back of a police car. On your way to prison, the police officer hits a pedestrian and steers off of the road. Upon regaining consciousness, you see the dead officer and people that don't look so good slowly walking around. Your first order of business is to break free and get to safety, especially since the police officer turns into a zombie before your very eyes.
Your leg is messed up from the accident but you can't let that slow you down as your life is in danger. When you reach the edge of the woods you spot a house and meet an abandoned eight year old named Clementine. You take her under your wing, but how you raise her is up to you. You can be honest with her or lie through your teeth. The characters will take notice of your actions and will respond accordingly. In most cases, they appreciate your honesty.
There are tougher decisions than just telling the truth or a white lie though. On more than one occasion you will have to decide to sever a limb to save a life or to choose between two people in danger and decide on which one to save.
Like many adventure games you can interact with your environment to search for food, weapons or useful items. The Vita version makes this easy by showing white circles on the screen for items that can be manipulated. You can move your character around via controls or the touch screen. My only complaint with the Vita version is that I experienced some stuttering in the game which I'm sure wouldn't be an issue with my gaming PC.
Visually this game looks amazing with the cell shaded 3D graphics. The character animations and expressions are spot on. The zombies (or walkers as they're called) look appropriately hideous as well. The environments vary and their appearances reflect the situation you are in, from peaceful pastures, to run down and looted cities.
No matter how noble your character may be, humanity shows its true colors when it comes to survival. You'll witness deadly looting, mandatory abortions, and segregation, while having a young impressionable child with you. While some characters will be considerate enough to not swear in front of Clementine, others don't bridle their tongue. Every swear word is used many times over and there is some blaspheming too. If I had a dollar for every swear word heard, I could easily pre-order a PS4 and a slim Vita with the funds.
While there isn't much sexual dialogue in the main story, the 400 Days expansion throws that in with a dirty minded NPC. The 400 Days expansion is unique in that you play short scenarios as various characters. Given the limited amount of time, there isn't as much character development as the main story. However, you still get a pretty good feel for the characters and their plight for survival in this messed up world.
I enjoyed both the main game and the 400 Days expansion. Twenty dollars is a reasonable price for this excellent game. As great as the game is, I cannot stress enough that it should not be played in front of children with the intense violence and excessive language. While the Vita version is convenient, I may opt for playing the rest of the series on PC for stability reasons.