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Old 04-26-2012, 02:27 AM   #1
aphate
 
 
 
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Deeply flawed, but worthwhile for fans: a Review (Minor Spoilers)

Greetings,

Just finished and thought I'd post some thoughts. Full disclosure, I've been buying Walking Dead since issue 1 and am caught up with the TV show. I enjoy both, but would not consider myself a diehard fan.

I played the game at the start with m/k, but it felt clunky. I switched to controller after I learned about the PS3 and XBLA versions, assuming correctly that it was supported. It plays much better with a controller.

Technically, I find the game a mess. I'll try not to get TOO spoilerific, but I'll run into that territory. First, it stutters pretty often on my machine. Sound AND Video. It seems to happen generally when the game is loading a scene. It does not seem optimized very well at all. I have what is now a lower end quad core rig, but still, it should be plenty adequate. This is the game's biggest flaw, and I find at times it ruins the immersion. Also, it may be just me, but there are points where a "classic" loading screen pops in, and that just takes me completely out of the game. I'm not sure why a game this...simple? couldn't do some sort of better streaming.

The game is clearly optimized for a controller. Mouse feels floaty and less responsive if you can believe it. That's fine, I'm a controller fan anyway in this type of game, so no worries. I find the actual gameplay marginal. I've play a bit of the Telltale games before, but haven't finished any of them. I don't want to sound like a jerk, but I find that this game seems to set the adventure style game back instead of iterate. Sure, it's got a fresh coat of paint, but the King's Quest series seemed more complex. Now, maybe simplicity brings in a larger audience. I suppose I can't argue with that. But hunting for two batteries to put in a radio to get an easter eggish recording seems like they're grasping for gameplay.

I grew up on the Sierra and Lucas Arts games, so I don't think I speak from a point of ignorance. I remember loving Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, but I contend that it may be nostalgia. I didn't enter a fail state except once in The Walking Dead, and that was just to see if I could do it. It was painfully easy, feeling more geared towards children, which is strange given the adult content.

I like and dislike the art style simultaneously. It renders characters expressive, but the "inked" lines are way too dark. I'm embarrassed to say that I thought Sean was all scratched up when first you meet him. It looks off putting. Some of the zombies also look like they're wearing masks, which doesn't look right. The actual art isn't terribly far off form the book, but it's like they got a construction worker to ink it. (though it worked out well for Harrison Ford, so what do I know)

I probably should have started with what I enjoyed about the game first, but I wanted to end on a positive note. The story and storytelling are generally excellent. The tone is completely on point, and NO punches are pulled. I think that's what puts it in the worthwhile category. It's a little bit to surface at times, but the main character is tortured both physically and psychologically throughout and THAT'S the Walking Dead. I expect them to delve deeper into everyone's psyche as the story progresses.

I like the choice system, and the fact that characters build trust and remember responses. I'm guessing (and hoping) that the latter triggers additional scenes. I believe I received one with Hershel, though I'm unsure. At the end, there are 5 choices that could have been altered. It doesn't seem like enough to me, but it may be par for the course for a game like this. I will say, there's no way I'd go back and play it for just a tiny scene that changes. Now, it does change the course of the whole game, so as choices compound upon themselves, that could prove interesting and worth another look. I would need a patch to improve the game technically, though.

With great voice acting and even better characterization, the Walking Dead is worth a look. At $5 an episode, it's a pretty solid buy. The current metascore is around an 82, but I'd fall a bit short of that. There's too many technical issues hindering the game and the gameplay is generally mediocre. If you can accept the fact that you're pretty much getting an interactive comic book, then you're in for a treat, albeit a stuttering one.

-7.2 (.2 added because Glen's in it)
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Old 04-26-2012, 02:48 AM   #2
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Never had any stuttering of any kind. Only issue I had is the pointing system. What I mean is the little buttons you press just seem to be in the wrong places, for instance. When you use the keys to un-cuff yourself the buttons should be on the key hole but there on your wrist and the chain, just seems weird.
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Old 04-26-2012, 03:36 AM   #3
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The mouse just feel finiky because Vista/Win7/Win8 have built-in Mouse Acceleration. Any true gamer knows this should be tweaked/disabled.

Helps to turn mouse sensitivity UP. If it's maxed in the game, turn it up in Windows. Also helps to lower your mouse wheel sensitivity to make up/down selections more fluid and less jumpy.

Overall I didn't get any stuttering, only a slight audio skip or distortion is a few areas. Nothing major.
And this was on 3 systems I tried.

> AMD desktop w/ PII-965-BE, 4GB DDR3, GTX 550 Ti, SB X-Fi Platinum PCI, Win7 SP1 x64
> Intel desktop w/ i5-2500K, 8GB DDR3, GTX 680, Realtek HD Onboard Audio, Win7 SP1 x64
> Intel laptop w/ i5-2537M, 4GB DDR3, GT 540M, Realtek HD Onboard Audio, Win7 SP1 x64

Last edited by Bad_Motha: 04-26-2012 at 03:39 AM.
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Old 04-26-2012, 04:03 AM   #4
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Overall, good review, just a couple points on my end.

Like the others above me have said, I did not experience any stuttering at all, Sound nor video wise.

I used M/K with fully default settings and I can't get around what you're saying, the mouse felt great. I guess that's because I've gotten so used to it, I can't stand playing games with controllers now :P
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Old 04-26-2012, 04:29 AM   #5
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While the sound distortion and stuttering don't appear in most of the gameplay videos I've found, both issues are cited in other reviews. It's entirely possible some people didn't notice it, but it is clearly a flaw in the engine, as is the video stuttering.

THAT appears in EVERY video I've seen (caveat: that provides enough footage to reproduce it)

If you'd like confirmation:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EWYjcT97cc

0.06-0.08,0.09-0.10,0.13-0.14...and that's in the FIRST 15 SECONDS. It's repeatable in multiple videos and in multiple scenes and happens ALL throughout the game. It's possible that it didn't affect your playing experience, but it sure hurt the immersion for me. Regardless, it's absolutely noteworthy to anyone who would potentially purchase.
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Old 04-26-2012, 06:02 AM   #6
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If you had stuttering and/or sluggish mouse movement, then obviously your system wasn't up to par.

Try looking in "Graphics" options and maybe back down a few things, turning off the Anti-Aliasing can reduce lagg quite a bit.
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Old 04-26-2012, 06:20 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bad_Motha View Post
If you had stuttering and/or sluggish mouse movement, then obviously your system wasn't up to par.

Try looking in "Graphics" options and maybe back down a few things, turning off the Anti-Aliasing can reduce lagg quite a bit.
My spec...

i7 2600k, gtx 580, 8gigs of ram... The list goes,on...

I noticed audio and video stuttering as well. If MY system isn't "up to par", then this game really is horribly optimized.

And @ OP, the voice acting is great, I agree. I can't believe they screwed the audio quality so much though. It just sounds so thin. And on top of that the volume noticeably fluctuates all over the place and is stuttery (as already discussed).

On every forum I've seen people point out bugs and stuttering, and then I've seen people saying exactly what motha is saying... That they've got weak pcs. This is obviously not the case.

Last edited by Medium_Rare: 04-26-2012 at 07:00 AM.
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Old 04-26-2012, 03:05 PM   #8
aphate
 
 
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bad_Motha View Post
If you had stuttering and/or sluggish mouse movement, then obviously your system wasn't up to par.

Try looking in "Graphics" options and maybe back down a few things, turning off the Anti-Aliasing can reduce lagg quite a bit.
I'm sorry, I just don't buy that. This is a blatant in-engine issue. It's reproducible in a bunch of videos all over the place and in the same spots. That's not machine issues.

You can continue to defend this in the face of evidence, which you conveniently ignored, but I'm not going to allow you to co-opt my post to provide what I believe amounts to misinformation. I've said that I think the game is a buy for fans, but this is absolutely an issue that potential customers should know about.
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Old 04-26-2012, 06:08 PM   #9
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Yea, must just be poorly optimized is all I can say then.
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Old 04-27-2012, 12:47 PM   #10
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I have a high-end system similar to Medium_Rare's, and for most of the game only noticed load screens as an issue, but then the last 20 minutes of the game turned into a sound crackle-fest. So, yes... something is not right.

Other than that I loved the "no punches pulled" interactive story. I wasn't looking for another zombie-fps, or King's Quest with zombies. Storywise, I got exactly what I was hoping for.
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Old 04-27-2012, 07:28 PM   #11
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The latest update should resolve most of the audio issues.
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Old 04-27-2012, 11:27 PM   #12
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I just wrapped up playing thru for the first time myself, and my biggest beefs are the cutscene stuttering and the lack of key binding customization. I'm a left handed gamer and I prefer to map my movement keys to the keypad. I wound up playing with my hands on the keyboard and using my mouse right-handed, which was awkward. Being able to remap keys should be one of the simplest things to include, isn't it? If I hadn't already bought the whole season on the pc I would have gone with the xbox version.
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Old 04-28-2012, 04:17 AM   #13
aphate
 
 
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benderman34 View Post
I just wrapped up playing thru for the first time myself, and my biggest beefs are the cutscene stuttering and the lack of key binding customization. I'm a left handed gamer and I prefer to map my movement keys to the keypad. I wound up playing with my hands on the keyboard and using my mouse right-handed, which was awkward. Being able to remap keys should be one of the simplest things to include, isn't it? If I hadn't already bought the whole season on the pc I would have gone with the xbox version.
That's a really good point. I am also left-handed and have struggled a bit, but resigned myself that it is a right hander's world. But this seems like a simple option that wouldn't impact the budget that much.

For what it's worth, the game does support the controller pretty well. I generally have a wired around for ports and games that play better with a 360 controller. For $20, you can get a usb receiver at best buy and the like that will allow you to use your wireless controller.
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Old 04-28-2012, 09:09 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aphate View Post
That's a really good point. I am also left-handed and have struggled a bit, but resigned myself that it is a right hander's world. But this seems like a simple option that wouldn't impact the budget that much.

For what it's worth, the game does support the controller pretty well. I generally have a wired around for ports and games that play better with a 360 controller. For $20, you can get a usb receiver at best buy and the like that will allow you to use your wireless controller.
I've been contemplating buying a wired controller for a while, but I've just not quite jumped yet. There are a couple wireless controllers laying around here unused, so I could go that route too. If there's no way to mod the keybindings by episode 2 then I think that'll be the incentive for me to finally do it.
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