The Walking Dead: Season Two Articles RSS Feed | The Walking Dead: Season Two RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network The 5 Most Heartbreaking Deaths in The Walking Dead Games Wed, 22 Mar 2017 12:00:02 -0400 Jaleesa Mitchell

Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of all things TWD, especially after I had the chance to delve into all content TWD related.

So, it's no surprise that I got hooked on Telltale's video game series based off the popular show and comics.

With the release of the next episode for The Walking Dead: A New Frontier on March 28, 2017, I thought it would be fitting to recap the top 5 heartbreaking deaths in the video game series, counting down from number 5.

The Walking Dead franchise is a brutal one...

5. Katjaa

Katjaa, The Walking Dead

Ever wonder what it would be like to live on a farm in the midst of the apocalypse?

Well, look no further. The Walking Dead: Season 1 by Telltale Games answers this question by giving us interesting characters who, yes, live on a farm.

And not just any farm, it's Hershel's farm from the comics and television show (wonder if that will crop back up somewhere else).

Hershel's Farm

It is here that we find Katjaa, who was essentially the medic of season one. She was the wife of Kenny and the mother of a young Duck. She and Lee had their differences from time to time, but they usually understood each other and were okay with the decisions made.

Katjaa's death was heartbreaking because you didn't see it coming. After Duck was bitten by a walker, you knew she was going to miss her son, but you knew that she would have Kenny by her side.

Katjaa Suicide

So when she blows her brains out in front of her dying son and her shaken up husband, the feels were strong.

4. Omid


During the zombie apocalypse, it's best to keep a sense of humor, lest you go crazy from all the bloodshed and violence.

What better character for the job than good old Omid?

Omid: He's Always Smiling or Smirking

Omid appeared towards the end of the first season of Telltale Games and lasted through the first few minutes of episode one of season two. He and his wife Christa were an ultimate couple. Brains, beauty, and the occasional comic relief.

So when the first episode of season two opens up with Christa, Omid, and Clementine headed to an abandoned gas station, your guard is up. Only what you expect is for Clementine to open up a can of whupass. Instead, she tries to talk down the thief, which gets Omid shot and killed. Luckily, Christa is there to save Clementine and exact revenge upon Omid's killer.

Christa Holding A Dead Omid

Unfortunately, it doesn't bring him back. This leaves a pregnant Christa (we're still not sure what happened to the baby, or Christa for that matter) leaving with Clementine in tow. Cue tears.

3. Colette and Elodie


If there's one thing I know, having a katana wielding badass in the group during the apocalypse is an excellent idea.

An even better idea is to get to know her backstory so that you know why she became a katana wielding badass.

Enter Michonne, and a brief glimpse into her past as the mother of Colette and Elodie.

Michonne Slicing Zombies

If there's one thing TWD likes to do, it's flashbacks. And boy are there a lot in the Telltale Games. Take The Walking Dead: Michonne where a good chunk of the series is trying to figure out what happened in Michonne's past.

The game takes place in the pocket of time before Issue 127 of the comic series. She ends up on a ship with a crew and relives the last few days before the apocalypse truly took over. In this series you find out that Michonne has two daughters: Colette and Elodie.

In the third part of this mini-series, you cringe in pain as you see Michonne let go of her dead daughters and save herself (assuming that's the choice that you made), and it makes you wonder how much emotional trauma she's carried with her over these last few years. The scene is one of the most depressing things to watch, but it's also a little hopeful.

2. Luke


It's important to know who you should trust when society has broken down and people are inclined to eat each other. After all, without trust there's no survival.

But it takes time to trust, and it's even worse when the person you trust dies before you do. I mean, who's going to have your back after that?

Luke and His Group

In season two of TWD Telltale games, you're not quite sure what to make of Luke- after all, before the apocalypse he majored in art and received a minor in agriculture (because that's helpful when every day is about survival). Luke also wanted to leave Clementine in the forest while she was hurt and recovering from a dog bite, definitely over cautious.

But, throughout the game you become fond of Luke. You find him to be kind, loyal, and- above all- he is trustworthy. So when it comes time to save Luke from breaking the ice and drowning to his death, you want to try everything you can to save him. The only problem is that you can't.

Clementine Trying To Help Luke

Regardless of what you choose, Luke still dies. The only question is whether you and Bonnie get dragged down with him.

What makes this scene depressing is that you've spent the majority of the game bonding with Luke. He's got your 6. He is your ace in the hole. The Clyde to your Bonnie, and any other cheesy reference you can come up with. To see him die is to die a little yourself, on the inside. But his death is nothing compared to our number one contender.

1. Lee


It all has to start somewhere. The destruction of the world, I mean. And what better place to start a story then at the beginning?

Lee and Clementine

Lee is the character that we start with in season 1. The sole purpose of Lee is to protect Clementine, and we do a mostly good job with it. Over the course of the season, we learn about Lee's past, we learn what type of man he is, and we find out the type of man he can become.

Lee and Clementine in the Trailer

From the very beginning, his instinct is to take care of Clementine and make sure that she has everything that she needs. And we love him for that. And after 5 long episodes, we have to watch as Lee is slowly killed by a walker bite. Five. Long. Episodes. This character who went through hell and high water to rescue her from the maniac who would kidnap and (eventually) harm her. And then he dies. Just like that.

I mean, I cried at a few deaths throughout the series so far, but Lee's death is the one that hurts the most.

Lee's Death: Before Clementine Shoots Him

And for that brief moment in Season 2 when you think Clementine is back with Lee, your heart skips a bit. Until you realize it's a dream sequence. It's painful.

But, that's also what makes for good storytelling. TWD Telltale Games would not be worth playing if the storyline didn't make you care about its characters. And that's why I recommend that if you haven't played the games, make time to play them.

You won't regret it!

The Major Problems with The Walking Dead Season 2 You Should Think About Wed, 19 Oct 2016 10:00:01 -0400 Sand Snake

*Readers Beware, there will be some Spoilers*

There are a number of problems I have noticed with the The Walking Dead Season Two, and I want to shed some light on some of those problems . Now while I thoroughly enjoyed Season One of the series, despite the outcome always being the same no matter what decisions I made throughout the game, I really didn't really mind. The story was powerful, and so engaging it got me hooked instantly.

Season 2 on the other hand, while it has has strong similarities to Season One, doesn't have any of the in your face plot twists and changing mood currents in the story to draw you into their world. The characters in my opinion are fairly boring, with only one real stand out Janet and maybe Kenny. The rest of the characters either annoy Clementine with ridiculous requests or whinge, cry, and moan at her. Which is extremely ridiculous, considering they are whining and crying to a little girl. It shouldn't matter that she is able to handle a gun and survive on her own. In the end she is still a little girl and should be treated as such. I see no logic in the world, where sane adults would endanger the life of a child.

I have heard arguments on blogs and websites bringing up Last of Us by Naughty Dog. That they too use a young girl in a similar fashion, but it's not the same. The Last of Us main character never intentionally puts the girl in harms way. Hell, the main character Joel is always trying to keep an eye out on Ellie to make sure she is safe and does a majority of the heavy lifting. Plus the plot line for the story is completely different, instead of pushing the young girl straight into danger, when she isn't ready. The Last of Us shows us this continual growth, where the young girl is becoming less of a burden and more of a trusted team player.

In Season Two of The Walking Dead however, Clementine is consistently thrust into these situations, that an adult in my opinion would never allow, until they feel truly comfortable she can handle herself and even then they would be cautious. For example in Season two, Clementine and an older girl are left all alone in a house, while everyone else goes out to search for someone. And Clementine is expected to keep watch over the older girl, where's the logic in that? It would make more sense to either bring them along or at least leave an adult behind to guard them. It's far too early in the story for the party to be relying on her like that.

Another thing that peeved me was the way Clementine's opinions carried so much weight, that it would often upset characters. Again, it makes no sense. I have never heard of a parent, taking advice from a child, and actually following through with it. If they do, I would love to hear about it, but I am fairly certain that is rarity.

My last point, and you've probably heard this complaint many times before, Season 2 was far too short. I could probably have finished the game in three hours, maybe even two. And there weren't any real decisions that made you think, "Hmmmm, maybe I should go back and do that scene again, because it might bite me in the arse later." Whereas Season One, I was constantly changing my mind and replaying scenes, so I could see what would happen. Honestly, I was more interested in getting Season Two over and done with, rather than wanting to replay it again.

Don't get me wrong, I love The Telltale Game Series and I will likely pick up Season Three, but I really don't want to see the same problems come up again.

5 of the Best PS4 Games on PlayStation Plus Fri, 08 Jul 2016 05:57:31 -0400 Andy Fletcher

Rocket League

Rev up your engines and take to the skies in the game that surprised everyone and set itself among the best game of 2015. Introduced onto the PS4 through PS Plus, it grabbed gamers with its frantic paced, adrenaline-filled battles. Easy to pick up but difficult to master, Rocket League is an intensely layered competitive game that veterans have sunk days in, perfecting their aerial hits and goal line clearances.


The games can be chaotic, as players duke it out 4v4 in a game mode aptly titled Chaos. Or it can be calculated and cooperative in 2v2, sussing out your opponents and striking a winning partnership with your teammate.


With an ever growing community and developers always looking to give back to their strong fanbase, Rocket League is updated regularly with new maps, new cars, and new game modes like Basketball and Ice Hockey. Even if you weren't fortunate enough to grab this when it was free, it is undoubtedly worthy of a purchase. 


These are just a handful of the great games PS Plus has to offer, and they are just my personal favorites. Games like Magicka 2, Zombi, NBA 2K16 have also been available for free, covering plenty of different genres. So no matter what games you love playing, PS Plus will have one for you.

Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition

A child of the Metroidvania era of gaming, Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition is a game that doesn't take itself seriously, which is all part of its charm. Littered with references from one of its founders in Metroid to modern games like Journey, Guacamelee! is a game made by developers with a passion for the games they love. In an all-too-familiar story line of rescuing a female love interest from the clutches of a villain, a silent protagonist sets off on a journey to rescue his love and stop the evil forces.


What sets this game apart from the games it parodies is its brilliant dimension-hopping ability that adds a fresh twist on puzzle solving as well as combat. A clever unlockables system creates shortcuts and new pathways to previously trodden on areas, and each of these unlockables increase your luchador's fighting skills, adding layers of depth as the player explores further into the game.


For lovers of Metroid and 2D adventure games, Guacamelee is the game for you.

The Unfinished Swan

Experience the beautiful world of The Unfinished Swan on PS4. The player enters a book and begins in a blank page, white filling the screen. Firing ink pellets create edges to the world, uncovering corridors, statues, walkways, trees, benches -- a fantastic premise that must be explored. 


The gameplay changes with each of its four chapters and keeps things fresh. The player begins growing vines to climb on, exploring the darkness, manipulating light as they traverse, constructing shapes within a blueprint, and then exploring a dream world.


This is another relaxing game to unwind with and an experience not to be passed up. The Unfinished Swan is a must-buy exclusive on the PS4.

Telltale's The Walking Dead

Return to the post-apocalypse as Clementine while she continues to survive, though this time without the paternal figure of Lee to protect her. It's a dead-rubber if you haven't played Season One, but those who started Clementine's story on PS3 can continue it on PS4 for free. 


Filled with the difficult choices and the subsequent serious consequences, The Walking Dead is a Telltale game that always leaves you second guessing your actions.

Valiant Hearts: The Great War

Step back in time and into the shoes of the heroes from The Great War and experience it for yourself. Valiant Hearts goes back in time and explores the heroes in one of humanity's darkest times. The game tells the story of people from five different nations helping others and trying to reunite with their loved ones.  


This is a fun game to unwind with or to play on the side of more hardcore games. It's simple side-scrolling adventure/puzzle game cramped with entertaining characters, brimming with humor and personality. 


The game is a much-needed reminder of the services and sacrifices this brave generation endured to ensure victory, and the game provides information about the war for keen gamers wanting to learn more.


We all love free stuff. And with PlayStation Plus, each month gamers are given 2-3 games free of charge. The program was a huge success on the PS3, with titles such as Demon's Souls, Bioshock Infinite, Borderlands 2, leading the impressive backlog of games.


On the surface, the PS4's collection is lackluster in comparison. A severe lack of AAA titles and a vast amount of PS3 cross-buy games have left users underwhelmed with their PS Plus offerings.


However, Sony has not actually disappointed with the roster on PS4 -- there's just a lot of solid games offered that have been quickly dismissed. Here are some of the best PS Plus titles available for PlayStation 4. If you don't have some of these, I implore you to pick them up. 

Twelve games undeserving of their critical praise Sun, 16 Aug 2015 18:39:02 -0400 The Soapbox Lord

We’ve all been there before. We have been playing a game that was showered with critical acclaim, and while we don’t think the game may necessarily be bad, we wonder, “Why is this getting so much praise?” While this thought may not occur during play time, the thought may have crossed your mind after the end credits roll.

To clarify, I am not claiming these games are awful; some of them are pretty good. This list is a collection of games that caused me to question their critical acclaim while playing them.  With that in mind, let’s get to the good stuff!


I have to give credit where credit is due: Bethesda is great at creating gigantic virtual sandboxes for players to muck about in. The problem is they rarely fill those sandboxes with anything interesting. While Oblivion had many of the same issues as Skyrim, I found Skyrim the more boring and uninteresting of the two. With constantly repeated dungeons, floaty combat, shallow game mechanics, and an overall boring world, Skyrim is more repetitive than the Dick and Jane book series.   

XCOM: Enemy Unknown

I love a good turn-based strategy game; I’m slightly addicted to them. When I heard the venerable XCOM series was receiving a reboot, I was ecstatic. The original games have not aged well; so being able to play an XCOM game with modern design and sensibilities was a tantalizing prospect. While Enemy Unknown was not bad, it had several design issues and a lack of depth found in other turn-based strategy games.

The game can be easily completed by keeping your squad in a phalanx formation and simply abusing Overwatch like it's no one’s business. Once you get your soldiers promoted, they essentially become all-powerful demigods who laugh at the enemy invaders. A combination of individual classes can make most of the game a breeze. The lack of depth was also noticeable.

I celebrate a game becoming more accessible for newcomers, but there are ways to add depth for those who want it without alienating newer players. It’s far from a bad game. I like the veteran series being thrust into the limelight once again, and now we are getting more, but hopefully the forthcoming sequel will rectify some of the issues found in Enemy Unknown.

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

To the time of writing this, I have completed nearly every game I have started. I rarely start a game I do not finish unless the game is awful or just drab in every way. Brotherhood is one of those games.

I endured the uneven first game due to the unique setting and experience (Middle East during Medieval times = awesome!), and Assassin’s Creed 2 improved upon the first game in so many ways, giving me what I enjoyed from the first game with less of what I didn’t. So why in the world was Brotherhood so boring? The game doesn’t introduce many new or interesting ideas; the story was snooze worthy; and the game was just monotonous as a whole.

Uncharted 2

I debated including this one. However, after the lovely comments on my last piece where I dared accuse Uncharted 2 of not being as great as people think it is, I couldn’t help but include it here!

Yes, Uncharted 2 in NO way deserves the amount of critical acclaim it has received.

Half-Life 2

I’ve really lost it now, haven’t I? (I assure you I haven’t, or maybe I never had it.) Before you discount this thought, though, let’s talk. Half-Life 2 is a good game, but it is nowhere near the perfection people claim it to be. It’s a small game wrapped in a large tech demo. The game was a vehicle to show what the Source engine could do, and at the time of release, it was impressive. Now, though, not so much.

There are some great moments in the game. Ravenholm was tense and dripping with atmosphere. Experimenting with the gravity gun was satisfying. The upgraded gravity gun was even more satisfying. Between all of those moments, though, there is a lot of filler. The game is filled with a glut of boring vehicle sections, some tedious puzzles, and unnecessary fluff which the later episodic release rectified. It’s still a good game, but there’s a reason many fans are still talking about the original Half-Life over the sequel.

Bioshock Infinite

I’ve argued the case for Bioshock 2 before, but I still find people who think BioShock Infinite is the better game because they like to pretend Bioshock 2 does not exist. Bioshock 2 had large locales to explore, gripping combat, depth of gameplay, and was also fun to play. BioShock Infinite was a corridor shooter that quickly devolved into a monotonous slog towards the endgame.

I almost didn’t finish the game due to how boring and predictable the gameplay and design had become. The story was the only thing keeping me invested in any way.

At least it had great art design!

Fable III

The entire Fable series is built upon a foundation of unfulfilled promises and disappointed players. That said, the first two games managed to be enjoyable, even if they came nowhere near the heights they were projected to reach. With Fable III, Lionhead went one step forward and three large steps backwards.

The most egregious change was the abandonment of a menu system in favor of a hub-like area to access your inventory and such. The result was a confusing and ultimately unnecessary system. The also had a ridiculously simple and unfulfilling combat system that was as shallow as it was bland. A bevy of technical issues and a pointless section towards the end add up to one undeserving game.

Grand Theft Auto 4

It’s boring. Hmmm. Is that not enough? Alright, alright, here ya go!

GTA 4 is full of uninteresting characters populating a dull world with failed attempts at social critique, plagued by poor controls and gameplay. Just play Saints Row instead: the controls are better, it is far from pretentious, and it’s just plain fun to play - something the GTA series has yet to learn.

Arkham Knight

Honestly, this one is a matter of principle. Yes, Warner Bros. should NOT have knowingly released such an obviously unfinished PC port. They are completely at fault for pushing this sorry excuse for a game out the door. But why in the world was the game positively reviewed almost everywhere while an entire section of the playerbase couldn’t even play the damn game they bought?

The shady tactics of WB releasing the now infamous PC port should have affected scores overall. After all, Metacritic scores are one of the only ways to get these AAA publishers to pay attention, listen, and learn from their mistakes.

Telltale Games

I really enjoyed The Wolf Among Us. The Walking Dead: Season One affected me on an emotional level only two other games have. Tales from the Borderlands is shaping up to be a solid surprise too. So why are Telltale’s games on this list? Because of The Walking Dead: Season Two and Game of Thrones.

The Walking Dead: Season Two is the very definition of a disappointing sequel. With weaker writing and plot design coupled with brain-dead character decisions and forced confrontations, the game left a lot to be desired.

As a fan of the books who was interested to see what Telltale would do, I am disappointed Game of Thrones has such a poor design base and is just so uninteresting. So far the game has been extremely predictable and plagued with poor design. Now if they would only start from scratch…

Gears of War 3

Marcus and company land on this list with a, you guessed it!, insipid entry in the beefcake versus meat slabs series. While the entire series could be on this list, I managed to somewhat enjoy the first two titles and complete. Gears of War 3 on the other hand, remains one of those games on my “Do not want to finish list.”

With minimal to no evolution in any way over previous entries, failed attempts at gravitas and drama, and lame firefights, the acclaim heaped onto GoW 3 is puzzling.


Checklist for a "meh" game:

  • Repetive gameplay and embodiment of a Skinner box: Check!
  • Bland and lackluster gameplay: Check!
  • Story that reads like a thousand chimps' attempt at a space opera: Check!
  • Inflated expectations due to misleading ads, coverage, and such: Check!
  • Greedy business practices and insuting comments from the devs: Double Check!

And so it goes.

No doubt you completely agree with my list. However, if by some small chance you do not agree with my choices, sound off in the comments! Have I missed a game that in no way deserves the critical acclaim it has received? Make your voice heard as well!

Now go play some better games!

Telltale's The Walking Dead may come to Wii U Thu, 06 Aug 2015 08:09:15 -0400 Michael Slevin

A listing for a Wii U version of Telltale's The Walking Dead has popped up on GAME's website.

The UK retail site's listing was first noticed by Eurogamer, and according to GAME's listing, The Walking Dead on Wii U will be out on October 30th. 

This would be a physical retail copy, and it would include both The Walking Dead Season 1 GOTY edition, as well as The Walking Dead Season 2.

The price for this bundle is set at £30, so perhaps a $40 release would make sense here in the U.S. Both seasons run for about $50 together in the Xbox Marketplace and PlayStation Store.

Wii U is essentially the only platform that The Walking Dead is not on, as it has already released on Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, Windows, Mac, and even a few mobile devices.

As for The Walking Dead Season 3, it has been confirmed that it will not see a 2015 release date. 

Would you pick up The Walking Dead for Wii U? Or would this release be too late to make an impact?

Top 10 Stories in Video Games Fri, 12 Jun 2015 20:23:21 -0400 Daniel R. Miller

1.) Half-life series

There isn't a game in the world that more people are clamoring for than Half-Life 3.  A lot of that has to do with just how good the world and its narrative are.  One of the most fascinating aspects about the story is how much of a passive rider the player character, Gordon Freeman is.  The entire video game medium is centered around the idea of control, and most of the time, game characters are in control and/or the center of attention.  Gordon Freeman is the exact opposite of those things, and the result is refreshing.  In fact, the story isn't even about Gordon Freeman, but rather about the world around him, and he is simply the vessel that the player experiences the world through.


What is also compelling about the Half-life experience is how naturally everything unfolds.  There are no interruptions for cut scenes as the story unfolds in front of the player, and Half-life was the one of the first games to really let the player have the freedom to move about the environment as the story unfolded in front of the player. 


Subtle audio cues also helped to enhance parts of the narrative as well and the biggest example of this is the Combine Soldiers.  The game frequently let the player hear their enemy before seeing them, which worked to further imprint the enemy's importance both in terms gameplay mechanics and what they meant to the world.  Because the game was challenging in its combat, the player became conditioned to feel a sense of dread every time one of these audio cues played.




What do you think? What are your favorite examples of narrative in games? 

2.) The Last of Us

The driving force behind the entire experience of The Last of Us is its narrative.  The game is a character-driven narrative that is quite a linear affair but the all of the extra nooks and crannies keep it from feeling too straight forward.  When the player uncovers these hidden places, the game provides some poignant moments between Joel and Ellie that provide context and insight of the state of the world that really drive the generational differences between someone who lived in the world before (Joel) and one who grew up in the current state of affairs (Ellie).  


Speaking of Joel and Ellie, they are the very foundation of the game itself, both narratively and mechanically.  The loneliness of the journey, the forced cooperation, and the ugliness of the people and the world around you helps to create an authentic sense of protectiveness over Ellie.  It is very much a journey of you against the world, and every time Ellie is forced to leave the safety of your side for the sake of cooperation, it is an authentically uneasy feeling.  


While the post-apocalyptic zombie-esque world isn't particularly unique when factoring in The Walking Dead's immense popularity, it is the journey and the interactive delivery of Joel and Ellie's journey across the country that helps set it apart.  The Last of Us is an ever lasting example of the evolution of interactive story telling and will always hold a significant place in gaming history.

3.) The Walking Dead (Telltale Series) 

Telltale Games has made an entire business around being able to tell quality stories.  But they really didn't take off until they released their first season of their episodic Walking Dead series.  Its popularity isn't derived from the AMC blockbuster series, but employs a style that is closer to the comic books.


The journey of Lee Everett and Clementine is one of the most compelling arcs ever crafted in interactive narratives.  Despite the fact that there isn't much of a challenge (or game depending on who you talk to), the narrative drives a satisfying set of in game prompts that mean the difference between life and death.  In this zombie apocalypse, death rears its head around every corner and isn't afraid to take your heart strings, rip them out, and throw them in the dirt before stomping them into submission.

4.) The Witcher Series

The Witcher series can be tough to get into if you haven't read the books and/or choose to skip the first game.  The series' second entry, Assassin's of Kings more or less assumes you know what is going on from the start and is unapologetic about it.  However, it doesn't take too long to realize that you are dealing with one of the most unique video game narratives around.  Most stories clearly state who is good and who is bad at every turn, but in this universe, it's not that simple.


It's said that there are two sides to every story and that ideal is the foundation of The Witcher's narrative.  Almost nothing follows the path of "this side is good, this side is bad". In fact almost all of it is bad on some level.  The world operates in shades of grey rather than light versus dark.  Villains are not representations of the Evil Railway Baron trope, instead having legitimate goals that you, yourself might be trying to accomplish had things been different.  


In fact, Assassin's of Kings offers up a choice between following two different leaders, a murderer fighting for the rights of non-humans and a human trying to uphold the peace, but whose actions are perceived as racist by some.  Neither are good, neither are evil, it all just depends on the player's perspective, much like the world we live in now.  The result is a very believable and grounded story in a high fantasy world.

5.) BioShock series

Yes, in many ways, BioShock is basically System Shock 2, but that doesn't stop it from being one of the most compelling and hotly debated stories in the history of interactive narrative.  I mean, would you kindly take a look at that insane timeline of BioShock Infinite.  


The original BioShock was a master class of its own in balancing functional level design, with a believably lived in space and the events that lead to Rapture's undoing let the combat mechanics fit the story like a glove.  It can be debated that despite its critical appeal, BioShock Infinite never quite achieved the same heights as the original, but it doesn't exclude the fact that the series as a whole tells one of the best stories that video games have ever seen.

6.) Final Fantasy VII

It wouldn't be a list of narratively focused games if the semi-divisive Final Fantasy VII wasn't on the list.  


Of course, this entry is more or less on the "it's cool to hate" spectrum by a lot of Final Fantasy purists.  However, its impact both as a game and as a narrative cannot be denied in terms of its ever lasting legacy.  A lot of that has to do with "the death."  On the outside, it seems kind of silly that one event could make an entire narrative that famous, however it has done just that.  That death of course is everyone's favorite flower girl, Aeris.


Never have I seen so many gamers live in such denial about one death in a video game.  Even now, coming up on 20 years after the game's initial release, there is a sect of players that are still convinced that there is a legitimate way to bring her back from the dead.  *Spoilers* there isn't.  As much as I love this game and its story, I admit Aeris' death is a bit illogical given the fact that Cloud and Co. should have had at least one Phoenix Down in their back pocket.  Bah, details.

7.) Metal Gear Solid (PS1)

Metal Gear Solid on the original PlayStation is widely recognized as one of the greatest games of all time and for good reason.  Despite its relatively short length of 12 hours, it has great story pacing and tight gameplay.  At the time, Metal Gear Solid was renowned for being one of the most cinematic experiences and it was obvious that a lot of care went into trying to be accurate with smaller details, which is a bit ironic considering how super natural many elements of the game are.


David Hayter's performance as Solid Snake was revolutionary at the time for how good it was, and his voice has since become arguably the most iconic in the industry.  The story humanized a couple of the supposed villains in the game like Sniper Wolf and Psycho Mantis upon their deaths which effectively blurred the lines between the player's side and the antagonist's.  


Despite the fact that the series has become quite convoluted in its logic over the years, Metal Gear Solid's emphasis and delivery on story telling is in in some ways unmatched even today.  With Hideo Kojima's tenure at Konami looking like it's end is near, it's important to appreciate the impact that the Metal Gear series has had on interactive narrative.

8.) Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

Before Mass Effect and Dragon Age's enormous impact on the Western Role Playing game market, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic was BioWare's flagship role-playing franchise.  KOTOR, as it is known, released back in 2003 during the early days of the original Xbox and took place 4,000 years before the Original Star Wars trilogy where a Sith Lord, Darth Malak, the former apprentice of the feared Darth Revan, has commenced a fierce attack on the Jedi Knights with a large armada, forcing them to scatter across the galaxy.  


Its narrative formula would build the foundation that both the Mass Effect and Dragon Age franchises would come to lean heavily on.  KOTOR featured teams of three allies in combat and had the player travel from planet to planet, finding new allies on each one that represented a different class or class combination.  


Arguably the biggest reason that KOTOR's narrative is so fondly remembered is the big twist around the halfway point in the game that takes its inspiration from Darth Vader's infamous "I am your father" reveal.  YOU are the villain, Darth Revan.  Before the big reveal, Revan's role is little more than a reference to give context to present events, much like Luke Skywalker's references to his father were.  But once the cat's out of the bag, it revolutionizes the way the player views the entire story in the same way Vader being Luke's father did in Empire Strikes Back.

9. ) Minecraft

Sometimes the best stories in video games aren't directly told to you, but rather the story you tell yourself.  Minecraft accomplishes just that with the personalization, tools and authentic sense of discovery that lies at the heart of the experience.  Imagination is the name of the game, and Minecraft's formula is built to appeal to ours.


There are so many different ways to play the game, and it all depends on what kind of character the player wants to role play as.  Are you a survivor that washed up on a mysterious land?  Are you a farmer that wants to herd the land's animals?  What about the threats that befall the land?  Do you hide from them at night while planning for the next day? Do you brave the night to slay the monsters for their resources?  How do you deal with hunger?


Minecraft is the poster child for individual story telling, spawning a whole host of survival adventures that permeate Steam's Early Access page that have evolved on Minecraft's principles.

10.) Portal Series

Portal's narrative begins simply enough.  You awaken inside your room in the Aperture Science labs, and are instructed to begin testing by the soft, robotic voice of GLaDOS.  Like the character we inhabit, we follow the instructions without question.  The player has no concept of what is going on outside of the casually comedic tone, the task that is laid out before us and that there's cake at the end (Yum!).  This setup allows us to effortlessly step into the shoes of Chell, the Aperture lab rat.  But as the player progresses, we quickly find out that "The Cake" is a lie. 


Portal is especially good at tying dialogue into in game accomplishments.  As the player masters more and more puzzles, GLaDOS in turn becomes more and more talkative and goes from being mockingly hilarious to being mockingly cold and murderous (while still being hilarious).  It is this dark comedy that really helps make Portal stand out on its own from the Half-life series in terms of its tone.


Not everybody plays games for story.  And as a result, ludology vs narratology is one of the hottest debates in gaming.  And to be fair, a lot of games tell some pretty crappy and/or cliched stories, and sadly a lot of them are actually trying.  However, there have been some legitimately great stories that have come from the interactive entertainment medium and in many ways their impact is best felt as a video game.  


These games were chosen on the basis, of not only the quality of the narrative, but how well the story utilizes the mechanics of the interactive medium.  I think it goes without saying that massive story-ruining spoilers follow.  Here are the Top 10 stories in video games.

Ranking Telltale Games Series' Thu, 04 Jun 2015 02:30:01 -0400 Curtis Dillon


What's next? Telltale are currently developing episodes for Tales From The Borderlands and Game of Thrones, both of which have been very commercially and critically successful thus far.


Following those two series', later this year, the studio is set to release the first episode of Minecraft: Story Mode, its take on the mega-popular game (that one's still a head-scratcher). After that the third season of The Walking Dead is set to be revealed, then Telltale's first ever original IP, which will somehow tie-in with a TV show. And finally, the studio recently announced a partnership with Marvel to make a superhero-related game.


All in all, Telltale Games is, quite possible, the busiest and fastest growing developer in the entire games industry. They have 2 ongoing series, 3 upcoming, and have hinted at a 2nd season of The Wolf Among Us. The future is incredibly bright for Telltale Games and I for one can't wait for that Squirrel Girl game! Fingers crossed!


1, The Walking Dead Season 1


This isn't exactly a surprise, is it? To be honest, I'm very torn between both seasons of The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us, as to which is the best. But then I recall all the emotions and jaw-dropping choices I had to make in that first season, back when it was unique and shocking, and it has to take the crown.


Lee and Clementine's journey through a scary and confusing world is one of gaming's crowning achievements in story-telling and emotional investment.


2. The Wolf Among Us


The Wolf Among Us is a strange beast, no pun intended. It arrived after The Walking Dead, seemingly out of nowhere, and based on a fairly obscure comic book series. That's not discounting the comics though, they are incredible and I highly recommend you read a few before playing the game.


The story of Bigby Wolf and the mysterious serial killer in Fabletown was a truly amazing one. The Wolf Among Us features some of Telltale's best action sequences, visuals, and tough choices to date. Sadly, with so many upcoming projects (through 2017), a 2nd season seems unlikely in the near future.


3. the Walking Dead Season 2


Season 2 of Telltale's breakout hit, The Walking Dead, was arguably every bit as good as the first season. That's not a statement to be taken lightly, considering how heralded and beloved the first season is, and rightfully so. And yet Telltale pulled off an incredible feat. and gave Clementine a great 2nd outing. Each episode felt different and the story continued to escalate...but I really don't wanna spoil anything. So go play it. Like right now!


4. Back to the Future: the Game


Back To The Future: The Game was the first major license that Telltale got to work with and the results were pretty good. This series honestly doesn't get the recognition it deserves - Christopher Lloyd even returned to lend his signature vocals for Doc Brown.


The game sees Marty and Doc jump from 1986 to 1931, an alternate 1986, and 1876. Each time period offered a distinct visual and fun story, from town fair to prohibition, with a little dictatorship thrown in for good measure.


5. Tales of Monkey Island


Besides Sam & Max, Tales Of Monkey Island was the first big success for Telltale. The game was based on the popular LucasArts property, Monkey Island. A truly funny script and challenging puzzles, not to mention charming visuals, were the lauded aspects of Tales of Monkey Island.


6. Jurassic Park


Jurassic Park was the second huge license that Telltale Games got its hands on but unfortunately it didn't live up to the namesake. If you've heard of this game, it's unlikely you've heard anything good but it's not as bad as people like to say. If you are a big Jurassic Park and want to see a fully-realized Isla Nublar then check it out!


Telltale Games is one of the fastest rising developers in the industry. The company has been making games for a long time now but it wasn't until The Walking Dead released in 2012 that its stock sky-rocketed.


Now Telltale Games is working on lots of projects, all of which are highly-anticipated. But which series has been Telltale's best? This list will count down the best series' from Telltale Games in the past 5 years, excluding Tales From The Borderlands and Game of Thrones since they are ongoing. So read on and find out which series ranks as Telltale's best to date!

10 Sub Par Sequels that Dropped the Ball Mon, 01 Jun 2015 09:09:08 -0400 The Soapbox Lord


Of course, there are plenty of other sub par sequels, but these were the most disappointing to me. Agree with my list? Which games did I forget? Sound off in the comments below!  


Mass Effect 3


No list of disappointing sequels would be complete without this entry. The Mass Effect games were enjoyed by players everywhere and met with great reception. So when the third game was announced, needless to say, the game was highly anticipated. Players were wondering how the series would end given the amount of divergence allowed by player choice. BioWare promised the ending would be more than a simple “A, B, or C” choice. In the end, that is exactly what we got.


The grievances were many: the ending seemed to disregard some choices made by players; lack of closure; plot holes and inconsistencies, among many others. To me, the ending felt rushed and unfulfilling after everything leading up to it. Maybe the reaction and resulting outcry was a bit much, but the resulting fallout stands as a testament to how involved players had become with the series and just how talented BioWare is at storytelling. Maybe they should not make promises regarding endings though for their next games, eh?


Dragon Age 2


Dragon Age: Origins was a great throwback to CRPGs of old. With tactical combat, a fantastic narrative filled with great characters, and the terrific tactics system, the game was a treat for all lovers of RPGs. Like most great games, it was not without flaws (some technical and performance issues and subpar graphical fidelity), but the trees could be overlooked for the forest. With


With Dragon Age 2, you ran into every tree while trying to navigate the forest.


I was so excited for this one; I preordered it and eagerly awaited it with high expectations. Once I booted up the game, the disappointment seeped in deep. The problem was the game was actually difficult for me to play. I enjoyed the characters you met and could recruit, but everything else could not make me suffer through the game to get to the bits I liked. With more repetitive environments than than Skyrim, a focus on a small setting, simplified combat, and a loose narrative framework that never seemed to go anywhere interesting, it was hard to endure the bloody game just to have conversation with Fenris or Merrill. Sorry my elven friends.




The Walking Dead: Season Two


The Walking Dead: Season One was a remarkable game that helped cement Telltale’s reputation for being remarkable storytellers. It was an emotional tale that resonated with players and actually elicited emotional responses from whoever played it. While it was not perfect, the faults were overshadowed by the strengths of the game. With the sequel, the faults were more glaring and harder to overlook.


Season Two let us down in a number of ways.


The characters seemed to make dumber decisions than they usually did and the writers also seemed determined to ensure you ended up in certain situations no matter what you did. For me, the worst part was the final conflict between Kenny and Jane. It was a good idea and setup to have the two going at each other, but the way the final fight turned out to be a total letdown. There was one way to make the game end with a poetically bittersweet finale, but the season as a whole was still a disappointment.


Uncharted 2


My feelings on the Uncharted series have been documented here before. Uncharted was not a particularly good game, but there was a glimmer of greatness under all the faults the game had. When I began to play the sequel, I had my fingers crossed the game would improve upon the potential of its predecessor and deliver a good or great game. I had high hopes with the opening train sequence, but it went downhill from there.


Somehow, Drake got even more irritating and smug than before, an impressive feat to accomplish. The story was nonsensical with imprudent characters and unfulfilled potential (poor Chloe). The gameplay and gunplay both got worse. The worst part was the condescending nature of the game itself.


The hints are delivered in such a patronizing way and the lack of respect for the player with the “Simon Says” ancient “puzzles” was grating beyond all measure. Simply put, the game is a smug mess, much like Nathan Drake. 


Deus Ex: Invisible War


Deus Ex was a landmark gaming achievement. Lauded for its open-ended gameplay and world, the game was met with accolades and is considered to this day one of the best games ever released. Needless to say, the sequel had massive shoes to fill.


Deus Ex: Invisible War is not a bad game by any means, but when you have to follow a legendary act, you get the short end of the stick no matter how good you are (BioShock 2 anyone?). The game was praised for some improvements made upon the original, but also criticized for carrying over some of the original’s faults such as the enemy A.I. and questionable design decisions. To this day, the opinions of players are still split regarding the game. Some love it; some hate it. It still remains a great game, just overshadowed by its big brother.


BioShock Infinite


I said before BioShock 2 was a better game than the original, but surely I am crazy when I say BioShock Infinite was disappointing right? No can do, Charlie.


Yes, the story, while pretentious and up its own arse, was great; the gameplay and design had a lot of issues and unfulfilled potential. The game seemed to take no lessons from BioShock 2. While the previous games had good gunplay and a degree of player freedom when in combat, Infinite was a corridor shooter. Sure, the corridors were large and pretty, but gone was the player freedom from past entries. While we were promised Elizabeth could bring in various objects through rifts during combat to assist Booker in combat, in reality you could only use rifts at certain points to bring in some predetermined objects.


There was also the gameplay and world dissonance. In Rapture, everything was tied together by narrative and design. Plasmids made sense in the world because they were integrated into the city design and were included in the narrative. In Infinte, plasmids were thrown in simply because it was what people expected from a BioShock title. At the end of the day, Infinite is still a great game, but we should be honest about its faults. 


Rainbow Six Vegas 2


Rainbow Six Vegas brought some much-needed life into the tactical shooter series when it released in 2006. With great cooperative play, gadgets to discover, and tons of weapons to use, the game was a fun, tactical romp in Sin City. The sequel was seemingly another case of lazy copy and pasting.


While some new mechanics were added and the A.I. of your teammates was improved, the sense of déjà vu was strong with this one. It didn’t help that this sequel was also a prequel. While it was still a fun cooperative experience, you couldn’t help but want for more. Now to see what the future holds for Rainbow Six Siege! 


F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin


Monolith Productions is on a roll here! F.E.A.R. was a fantastic shooter and a decent horror game to boot. With satisfying gunplay, destructive weapons (Penetrator FTW!), creepy atmosphere, and your slow-mo abilities, the game was great. So what did they do wrong with the sequel? Everything.


While you once again played a soldier with slow-mo powers, that is where the resemblances to the original end. Gone was the creepy atmosphere and environments to be replaced with uninspired locales (the theater was good though). The A.I. seemed a step down from the original. A convoluted and unfulfilling story was thrown in along with mech armor sequences. This is probably the only time I will ever complain about using mech armor in a game.


The game was the opposite of the original in nearly every way. And guess what? Spoiler! The game ends with your character being raped by Alma, the creepy girl with supernatural powers who haunts you the entire series. Great way to end a game there!


Condemned 2: Bloodshot


Condemned: Criminal Origins recently made my list of criminally underrated games you should play; but, please, skip the sequel. Actually, play the sequel until the last quarter of the game. The last quarter of the game is where the shark gets jumped five times. Consecutively. The game then circles back to the shark, beats the shark to death, and proceeds to eat it.


Let’s just say the last parts of this game are so ridiculously stupid, they make Adam Sandler movies look like intelligent entertainment.


What makes the game great is the melee brawling system and the atmosphere. It is rewarding, visceral, and intimate; not an easy feat to achieve. So for some reason, Monolith decided what players needed where more guns than usual resulting in the most boring peek-a-boo game I have played which goes in complete contrast to the entire game you have played to that point. Also, your character gains an ability to scream which can make the heads of your enemies explode…. Like I said, it gets dumb. Such wasted potential.


Crackdown 2


The original Crackdown was essentially a superhero sandbox game where you had guns, too. By using your various abilities (jumping, shooting, driving, etc.), you increased your strength in that area and became stronger. Before you knew it, you were leaping buildings in a single bound, outrunning cars, and had cars that could transform into armored tanks. It was mindless fun at its best! So what did the sequel do to mess all of that up? Nothing at all.


The developers literally changed the bare minimum between the sequel and the original. A stupid story about zombies (of course) was added and that was about it. Sure, there were some minor mission additions or weapons, but on as a whole, Crackdown 2 felt exactly like the first one. In fact, it felt like cheap, rushed DLC that the developers decided qualified as a full-fledged, full-priced release. Needless to say, it was a major disappointment.


While writing both of my posts on sequels (which were better than the original) I came to realize there are just as many sequels that were disappointments. As with the other sequel lists, I have tried to limit entrants to direct sequels otherwise I could go on for some time (some exceptions may apply). So let’s jump into this well of disappointment and dredge up some painful memories, eh?

How to Review Episodic Games: A New Hope Tue, 07 Apr 2015 17:52:25 -0400 The Soapbox Lord

Episodic gaming has been around in some form as early as the late 70’s. However, it had largely been neglected for more standard forms of development and release. This thinking changed with the release of Half-Life 2: Episode 1 and the rise of Telltale Games. Telltale has almost exclusively used the episodic format for their titles, and it has worked to their success.

Telltale has proven great games can be delivered in an episodic format. Despite having years to develop a system for reviewing episodic games, games media has stayed with the traditional review format for these titles. This traditional format does a disservice to readers and the games. So is there a better way to review these titles? There most certainly is!

The Audience

There are two major player bases for the episodic genre. The first player always buys the entire season. The second waits to see how the season as a whole shapes up and decides whether or not to purchase. The people who intend to buy the entire season do not benefit from reviews, so reviews should be tailored towards the players waiting to see how the proceedings pan out.

The Problem

The current review system evaluates each episode individually upon release, but it rarely evaluates the season as a whole. Why is this problematic? Well if you want to see how the entire season of The Walking Dead turned out, you have to research each episode’s review individually. Not only does this take a lot of time, but it rarely gives you a cohesive image of the season as a whole. Some seasons have lulls or slower episodes to either build tension or set up major events for future episodes.

For instance, the first episode of Tales from the Borderlands was zany. There were a lot of crazy and exciting things which occurred in the episode. Compared to Episode 1, Episode 2 is more restrained and a plateau episode. It is still good and some zaniness occurs, but it is obvious the episode is more reserved to further set the stage for future episodes. This is perfectly fine, and it is a great tactic to space out your water cooler moments with character and world building. Looking at the score differential between Episode One and Two, you might think there is a drop in quality. This is not the case. The second episode is simply a stage prep episode for what’s to come.

 They deserve to be treated as a singular game instead of multiple entries in a franchise. Your perception of the entire season can change on a whim, depending on how the rest of the season turns out.

So why is this a problem? If the second episode is not as good as the first it deserves a lower score right? Not exactly. While each episode is released individually and sold individually (although I have yet to meet anyone who purchases them this way), they are all part of a cohesive whole: a single game divided into easily digestible chapters. As such, they deserve to be treated as a singular game instead of multiple entries in a franchise. Your perception of the entire season can change on a whim, depending on how the rest of the season turns out.

Remember The Walking Dead: Season Two? It had some highs and lows, which would be easy to overlook as a whole if the final episode knocked it out of the park like Season One did. In the end, I found myself disappointed with Season TwoOn the other hand, The Wolf Among Us also had some issues. However, after playing through the season, I immediately recommended it to several friends. Sure it had awkward pacing at times, some strange character behavior, and under-utilized characters, but it was easy to overlook those flaws when evaluating the game as whole.

Depending on the rest of the season, my glowing opinion of Tales from the Borderlands and my negative opinion of Game of Thrones may change. The beauty of episodic games is how they are smaller portions of a whole. The way they are evaluated should reflect this.

A New Approach

I think the solution is a rather easy one, but it seems no one is doing it. When I reviewed The Wolf Among Us, I reviewed the season as a whole. Since I had just played through the entire season, it was easy to assess the game as a single meal instead of individual courses at a meal. But what about when sites need to keep up with each new episode’s release? Rather than simply reviewing the episodes in a traditional format, write an impressions post. In comparison to a review, an impressions post is more personal and less concerned with delivering a score. Being an impressions post, these posts should also eschew the beloved review score.

In comparison to a review, an impressions post is more personal and less concerned with delivering a score. Being an impressions post, these posts should also eschew the beloved review score. 

I know. I know. Blasphemy right? However, along with writing a more impressions style post and abandoning reviews scores, the posts should evaluate the episodes as they relate to the entire season. Instead of simply appraising each individual episode as separate entities, the posts would detail how the entire season is coming along. How are things shaping up as a whole and paint of picture of the impressions of the season with each release instead of a definite review. As I mentioned before, one episode or moment can ruin an entire season of solid content in the same way a stupid twist can ruin an otherwise solid or decent (stretching that definition there, I know) film.  

  • Stop reviewing each episode as a singular game
  • Refrain from assigning a score to episodes
  • Write more impression-based posts instead of definite reviews
  • Evaluate the episodes as they relate to the season as a whole
  • Keep the consumer in mind

By altering the way we cover these games, we better assist the consumers who did not purchase the season beforehand. After all, aren’t we in the games media covering these games to help the consumer decide what is worth their hard-earned money? If there is a way we can better enlighten the player, should we not change the way we cover these games?

The suggestions I have outlined here are by no means the definitive way to cover these titles, I am sure someone more intelligent than me could devise something more appropriate. But we should rethink the way we cover these games to paint a better picture for consumers and also to do more justice to the games themselves. 

Top 10 Games I Played in 2014 Sat, 10 Jan 2015 07:57:57 -0500 Elijah Beahm


Tales from the Borderlands/The Walking Dead Season 2. Really, I can't pick between these two. It's amazing what Telltale pulled off in both an entire season with Clementine and a single episode in Borderlands. The storytelling was top notch, and the ending of The Walking Dead Season 2 still blows me away. You did good this year, Telltale. You did damn good.


Telltale's games can be found on anything electronic. Your PC? Telltale. Your console? Telltale? Your toaster? Telltale! Buy it on one of them.


I know, I know. One of my most popular articles on this site is about how Titanfall failed to meet the challenge. But hey, at least by the end of the year, it finally did. It took way too long, but with the addition of co-op, an in-game store (with only in-game currency, no real world money), and optimized matchmaking, the game is finally worth noting.


The soundtrack is amazing, the game design is some of the slickest in the industry. It remains one of the best PC games I can think of. I usually forget about it for weeks at a time, but whenever I play it, I am satisfied in a way few multiplayer games can satisfy me. Titanfall isn't a great leap into the future of multiplayer gaming, but it is a fitting bridge between the games of old and the new games on the horizon. 


There's a free 48-hour trial on Origin, and it's on sale for chump change right now. The Complete Edition is available as well, but it only contains the three DLC map packs, which almost no one is playing on PC. You may have better luck on 360 and Xbox One, but it's best just to get the core game. The new modes and all other content are free - and with twenty maps, you won't miss the nine new ones.


My review for this one is nearly finished, but I just can't keep it off this list. As flawed and gritty as its protagonist, WET is an action game I just cannot put down. The mix of flowing gun-ballet, brutal sword-slashing, and gonzo moments keeps me coming back. WET may not objectively be the best game on this list, but it tops as one of my favorite experiences this year.


The story is wonky, the graphics are badly aged for the year it released, and there certainly are some rough spots. But with a core as solid as WET's combat, I just can't help but come back every now and then. The added bonus of a score-hunting mode for every level in the game helps put a little spice in each replay as well. For more of my thoughts, keep an eye out for my review.


WET is available on PS3 and Xbox 360. It's cheap enough to look past the flaws, and strong enough at its core to show you why it's yet another cult-classic of the seventh console generation.


There's a free demo of Gunpoint on Steam right now. GO! Download it! Play it! Do it now!


Okay, back? So you see why Gunpoint is awesome, yes?! This puzzle-platformer defies indie conventions by being more like an elaborate set of dominos you must manipulate until you achieve your objective - with hilarious dialogue trees and a deep unlock system to boot. Plus there's user-generated levels now. It hardly can get better than this!


Gunpoint is on PC, Mac, and Linux. So unless you have absolutely no personal computer (in which case, how on earth are you reading this?), play Gunpoint now! If I had to rank these for GOTY, this would be in the top three at least.


You know, the first review I ever wrote for GameSkinny was for the Tomb Raider reboot. Man, I did not like that. So when I booted up Tomb Raider: Anniversary, I did NOT expect how much better it would be. It boasted platforming that required thought, with large open-ended levels that further enticed you to explore and figure things out on your own. Lara's journal does not tell you the exact answer you need; it only gives vague hints. Combat is not at the forefront, but it keeps the pacing fresh.


I haven't finished Anniversary yet, but I don't care. Any game fun enough to keep me going for five hours, without a break or much complaint, gets the seal of approval regardless. I also had the added benefit of playing it on PC, where the graphics are incredibly crisp compared to its Wii and PS2 versions. 


Not since Portal has an adventure game treated me with so much respect as a gamer, and trusted me to handle playing without a constant guiding hand. I may never know how Crystal Dynamics got from this to the Tomb Raider reboot, but I sincerely hope they bring the more realistic Lara back to her roots soon. This is the action-adventure game I've been waiting years for.


It's available on PC, PS2, PS3 (via Tomb Raider Collection), Xbox 360, Wii, and PSP. Whatever platform you can play it on, get it. Even if you never touch Legend or Underworld, you should play Anniversary.


Yes, one of the best games I played in 2014 was a mobile game. Badland is an amazing, almost spellbinding remix of Jetpack Joyride's "one press to do everything" mentality. Except instead of being about a crazed scientist or a flappy bird, this is about you guiding a species of flying animals through hell and back in one of the most beautiful and dark mobile games out there.


It's available on iOS/Android, with the first campaign now available for free. Play it, and experience one of the best mobile games out there that isn't an Infinity Blade clone.


Normally I sigh at Ubisoft for their frustrating development practices and questionable DRM choices. Then there are moments when I remember why I enjoy their games. Assassin's Creed: Rogue was one of those times. It received almost no fanfare, and most people acted as if it never existed. Very few, if any, review copies were sent out. Yet somehow, I had a hunch, this was going to be the real next step in the series. Equal parts a fitting conclusion to the America Saga and a step forward into the realm of Unity's new storyline, AC: Rogue is an all-around solid sandbox game.


It cuts out a lot of the fluff in AC3-4, and combines almost all the best ideas of AC4 into an AC3 framework. I'm not sure if this is the largest world Ubisoft has ever made, but it is the most content-rich one that I've experienced. Reconstructing a Viking sword, intercepting Assassins, and capturing all manner of fortresses makes this one of the most enjoyable games in the series. I truly wish we'd seen some invasion-style multiplayer a la Dark Souls, but even without any kind of multiplayer, this title is well-worth the asking price. I can hardly say that of most AAA 2014 releases. It seems protagonist Shay managed to defy the odds in the real world, just as much as in his fictional realm.


It's available on Xbox 360 and PS3 right now, but it's coming to Steam, PS4, and Xbox One later this year. Wait for the price to drop around $40 or less, and you're in for a treat.


Whenever you want to know what I think a linear shooter should be like, just look at Wolfenstein: The New Order. The developer, Machinegames, is primarily made up of developers from Starbreeze, who made the under-appreciated gem that is the Syndicate reboot, so I already knew to expect good things. This is better than anything I'd anticipated.


Wolfenstein: The New Order one of those rare games that can satisfy you with answers to all your questions, but still leave you wanting more. A fantastic mix of camp, seriousness, and retro sci-fi charm, this alternative-history 1960s world is a one worth fighting for. Few single-player games are created with as much competence as Wolfenstein, and other developers (looking at you, Naughty Dog) should take note.

It's available on PC via Steam, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. I played it on 360, and so long as you don't mind low-res textures and 30 FPS, there's absolutely no reason for you to not get it now on whatever console you have.


Endless Legend is the first strategy game to grab my attention in years. It's not since Civilization 3 that I've been this interested in a strategy game. When I reviewed it, it felt like I was experiencing a perfect blend of Tolkien and George R.R. Martin, purely through mechanics and the game's dynamic design. Endless Legend is deceptively simple, but so deep that I fear it'll be years before I truly have a handle on it. That's fine with me though, that should keep me busy until the next big strategy game comes to scratch that itch.

It's available on PC/Mac on Steam, and the developers have both mod support and work with the community through their GAMES2GETHER initiative. Seriously, give it a look.


So, a little late to the pitcher's mound, but here's a list for ALL the games I played in 2014 (not just the ones released in 2014). In no particular order, these are the best, most enjoyable, and most enriching games I played in 2014. 

A Game Narrative: The Terrible to The Terrific Sat, 13 Dec 2014 08:28:23 -0500 Pierre Fouquet

A game's narrative is a fancy word for a game's story. This means if you ever see a game which is narrative-driven, or story-driven they are the same thing. A few of the best narrative-driven games are:

  • Portal (as well as great puzzle game).
  • Persona 3 and 4
  • The Walking Dead (Seasons 1 and 2)
  • The Wolf Among Us
  • Fahrenheit (or Indigo Prophecy)
  • Heavy Rain

Let's go on a journey through what makes or breaks a game's narrative, bearing in mind this has nothing to do with gameplay. You can have a terrible narrative, but terrific gameplay.

(Warning contains spoilers for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2Far Cry 3 and an early choice for Telltale's The Walking Dead: Season 1)

What Makes a Narrative...

A terrible story specifically reminds you that you are in a video game...

A terrible narrative can simply be caused by bad writing, or a thin plot, but something that can really cause a narrative to fall apart is incoherence. When the narrative threads jump around with no real relevance to each other can cause you to lose interest, and confusion. You stop caring or simply don't know about what is going to happen, and any cut scenes will be boring. A terrible story specifically reminds you that you are in a video game, and that if there is a man in front of you as you must shoot them, because you must. Why? To advance the story silly.

This is often used in FPS games, specifically Call of Duty: Ghosts. There was no real coherence between actions you perform, the place you are in and the characters behaviours. The locations and set pieces influenced the story instead of both being built around each other. Another example is in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, there is one mission, called Throttle, where you are randomly in a rail shooter, flying a jet through canyons then back on your feet without knowing what had happened.

A screenshot of the mission 'Throttle' in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.

A cliché is a pretty terrible to use, especially when linked with the handling of motivations for any characters. One specific example is the strong male hero character has their weak female wife or girlfriend taken or killed. It's overused and really boring, you don't get invested into the characters because they are just always angry or sad, especially when the death of the wife happens before the game even starts.

One thing that really bugs me about Call of Duty recently is the amount of near death experiences.

A bad narrative does not break the narrative of the game overall, it simply reminds you that you are playing a game for a split second, after that you then drawn back in. One thing that really bugs me about Call of Duty recently is the amount of near death experiences. It was a novel thing to start with, however it did get tiresome after the rehash of the same ideas in every game. Most of them are so unrealistic, they take you out of the game. In Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, during the finale, you get stabbed through the chest. However your character appears not to care, simply pulling the knife out, casually spinning it in his hand, and throwing it with the accuracy and strength of a perfectly healthy man, the knife flies through the air and kills General Shepherd hitting him square in the left eye. It is just simply to far out of reality, and the games fiction. You can take 100s of bullets during gameplay, but one stab or gun shot during a cutscene instantly stops you doing anything until the vital moment.

A perfect throw after pulling a knife out of your chest? I think not.

The story is going so well...suspense and adrenaline are running high then...

The story is getting better, everything is advancing at the perfect pace, the writing is on point, you love all the characters on your side and hate but respect the ones you are fighting. The story is going so well, you feel it reaching the mid section crescendo and you look for the plot twist. Thinking back through each characters backstory trying to spot who will do something stupid or turn on you. The game then reaches the exciting mid section crescendo, suspense and adrenaline are running high then...

Everyone is dead and you win.

Don't you just hate that?


I find a good story often has plot twists which do something the wrong way round, they remove interesting and complex characters, and replace them with less interesting and more simplistic characters. Neither character is badly written or voice acted, and both are understandable or relatable. However due to the first character just being so good it leaves the second feeling bland. This happened in Far Cry 3, with Vaas being replaced by Hoyt Volker. If Far Cry 3 had done this the other way round, it would be under the next heading.

Vaas on the left, Hoyt on the right.

Another really good trick that writers use on you is the old bait and switch. You get really invested into one specific character who is your friend, you trust them and they are privy to sensitive information. Then suddenly they turn on you, turns out the whole time they were lying, of course the best writing leaves clues about their intentions, but does not explicitly tell you they are secretly working against you untill a pivotal moment.

Decision making like this is what games...are pefect for...

Let's now look at the very best narrative games can offer. Not only can games give you the ability to meet engaging characters, who are not just black and white but morally grey. Games can allow you to become this character, to take on the hard decisions they will have to face, Telltale's The Walking Dead is a perfect example of this. Every decision you make you dread, you know that neither is 'good' or 'bad'. They are snap decisions which will always have bad consequences. Decision making like this is what games are best at doing, they are perfect for it and with writing as strong as in The Walking Dead you can really see why.

Who lives and who dies? You pick. Not easy right?

...when wielded well it can create some amazing and powerful moments.

Empathy, the ability to understand or share the emotion someone else is experiencing. It's powerful stuff, when you can make a character the player can empathise with, the feeling of loss, betrayal, anger, sympathy or compassion can then all be projected onto the player, sometimes all at once. Making you, as the player, care about a character will get you invested into the story, then if that character dies (if they take a supporting role) you will feel loss, and maybe anger, then want avenge your fallen comrade. It can also be used on the player character in much the same way. Empathy is a powerful tool, and when wielded well it can create some amazing and powerful moments.

Have you every wondered what makes or breaks a game's narrative? Let me know your thoughts in the comments bellow.

What's in Store for Clem? The Walking Dead Season 3 Predictions Mon, 03 Nov 2014 09:58:49 -0500 Cupcakecrisis

My tears have finally dried.

I can now think about No Going Back and not be reduced to a blubbering mess. But seriously, wasn't that a heck of an ending to an adventure? And an even more exciting starting point for the next season!? Here are a couple of my predictions for The Walking Dead Season 3. *Spoilers for Season 2 ahead!*

1. You will be alone. Like... really alone. 

As I said before, season two's finale was one that split you off into many pathways, which really made you feel like Clementine was constructed completely of your own choices, which I applaud the creators for. However, I think it's safe to say that Telltale will find a way to narrow those pathways down to one. The season première may differ depending on your choices in the finale, but all eyes and plot points are set towards Wellington. 

2. How Deep Are Your Scars Really? 

A huge theme in season two was familiarizing Clementine with the harsh realities of the world, and proving that she was more than capable to handle it. In fact, shit only hit the fan when she came into contact with living people.

She's not a little kid anymore, and is STILL. NOT. BITTEN.

Season 3 will most likely be about easing her back into a group reminiscent to her first, but they might not be as innocent as they claim. The family that appeared in the Jane ending seemed like they will play a big part in reminding Clem of what a family is. Not so much the man with them, but Patricia and the little boy...who I could feel major crushy vibes coming from. Could this be Clem's first play at puppy love? 

Flirting 101 taught by random boy

3. Protection vs. Sacrifice 

Scratch point number one, you're not exactly alone. On top of being in a zombie apocalypse and being surrounded by terrible people, you've also got a kid. There are going to be a lot of Lee/Clementine parallels in this season where Clem teaches young Alvin Jr. about life the way it is now, possibly in a time jump. I can feel a big swelling moment in which we have to choose between the protection of this baby and the sacrifice of Clem's own protection. Which leads to.... 

4. Could Clem Die This Season?

I absolutely think so. What I think is being set up is a kind of cycle; Clem saved Lee in a way, and Lee saved Clem at his own expense. Now Clementine is faced with a similar situation and what would be the best, tear demanding thing to happen but to have Clementine die heroically. Obviously I don't want this to be true, but I admit it would be a good way for her character to go out. 

5. (Bonus Prediction) Where Christa At Tho? 

We haven't seen her since episode one and we do have a child that she could adopt as her own. I do hope, wherever she is, she gets a little R&R; she's been through a lot. 

6. (Bonus Bonus Prediction) We find Bonnie and Arvo and go straight Mortal Kombat on them. 

After all of the chances I gave the BOTH of them it would be so satisfying to handle them one last time. Round one, FIGHT! 

Got any predictions of your own? Let me know in the comments below!

Telltale Games Release Episode 5 of The Walking Dead: Season Two Wed, 27 Aug 2014 07:21:07 -0400 Game Oracle

Telltale Games and Robert Kirkman, the Emmy award-winning writer, director and producer of the hit television series AMC's The Walking Dead, announced recently the fifth episode of season two, "No Going Back", of their popular video game based on the show is ready for play. You can watch the official trailer here.

"No Going Back" is available for play on your PC and Mac, the PlayStation 3 and PS Vita in North America, and the Xbox 360. Gamers looking for a PC or Mac edition can find it at the Telltale Online Store and Steam. PlayStation 3 and PS Vita players can buy the game on the PlayStation Network, while people looking for the Xbox 360 edition can find it at the Xbox Games Store.

Mobile gamers looking to play "No Going Back" on a compatible iOS device can buy an edition starting Thursday, August 28 at the App Store. To this point no information on which iOS devices are compatible with the mobile version of the game is available.

Telltale Games also announced the complete first season of The Walking Dead the video game will arrive later in the fall for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, unless there are delays in development.

"No Going Back" has already drawn high praise from reviewers in the interactive entertainment industry. If you played season one of Telltale Games The Walking Dead? "No Going Back" takes up the tale of Clementine where it left off. A young, vulnerable girl left to survive in a world gone mad at the beginning of the tale, she fights against both the living and undead in situations designed to allow players to make their own choices, and thus determine their own fate.

Telltale Games video game The Walking Dead has sold over 33 million copies around the world and has received over 90 Game of the Year awards. Having played the first season and the first four episodes of season two, I can tell you the story line is emotionally charged, and the game play is good. If you love playing video games and enjoyed the AMC television series? Take a look at this fun and entertaining video game. The choices you make playing The Walking Dead determines the direction the story takes and your ultimate fate. The question is whether you'll survive, or become one of the billions of The Walking Dead?

The Walking Dead Season 2 Finale's Trailer Is a Tearjerker Thu, 21 Aug 2014 12:35:37 -0400 Angelina Bonilla

Telltale Games has released their new trailer for The Walking Dead Season 2: Episode 5: No Going Back and for long time fans of the series, it’s an emotional trailer to say the least. We get to witness a highlight reel of everything Clementine has gone through as a character and when you realized just how much she’s lost it’s absolutely heartbreaking.

Clementine is by far the most realistic portrayal of a little girl that was forced through hardships to survive in this new, ugly, world of the zombie apocalypse.

She’s witnessed those close to her die multiple times and has started to become jaded to the world around her. While she still has the optimism that she had before, it has become darkened by the actions of both humans and zombies. By the trailers Tagline of “Who You Will Become?” it appears that Clementine is going to be making some big decisions in this next episode, ones that will determine who she will become as a survivor. With the emotional ending of the previous Season we can only hope that the gaming communities Darling Clementine will be safe.

Why Clementine From The Walking Dead is My Favorite Video Game Character Mon, 04 Aug 2014 08:12:41 -0400 PencilPusha

As a parent, you want to keep your children safe, teach them everything you can so they are self-sufficient by the time they 'leave the nest', and show them that the world is a beautiful, yet cruel place at times. If you are in the middle of the Zombie Apocalypse while away on vacation and your child or children were at home with the babysitter, how would you feel?

Nobody knows this feeling better than Clementine and her parents from TellTale Games' The Walking DeadThe only tidbits we have about Clementine's parents are that they were a successful couple who went on vacation to the Marsh House in Savannah, GA. They managed to leave a couple of voice messages for their daughter, but Lee ends up hearing them.

The game leaves it up to you to handle the news about Clementine's parents.

At first, Clementine is so fragile that breaking the news to her might diminish her fighting spirit or make her hate Lee. Clementine doesn't see her parents again until the end of the first season of The Walking Dead. She sees her undead parents amongst a horde of zombies and she realizes that her life has changed forever.

Luckily, she has Lee to guide her and serve as a father figure during the first season of the game.

Clementine's seen so much at such a young age, yet she's resilient and strong enough to endure it all with a clear head and solid shooting skills - all thanks to Lee. She can protect herself, survive on her own, think rationally (unlike Kenny) in tough situations, and act accordingly. Of course, she wouldn't be able to do some of those things without our help. But I would think most gamers would want her to survive and thrive during the Zombie Apocalypse.

She's a kid who's had to grow up fast and learn about the world too soon. And this new world that she's been surviving in isn't keen on letting anyone, not even children, live. As the late great Chuck said in Season One:

" gotta prepare the girl. Teach her how to use a weapon and, for criminy, cut that hair."

Chuck believed that there was no distinction between kids and adults anymore; they're all just people trying to survive. And no one wants to witness the death of another person. Unfortunately, Clementine has to get used to it.

Clementine's sweet, kind and fragile in Season One. In Season Two, she's a little cold, but more realistic and helpful than anything. She leaves an impression on you. You want her to do well, and we can probably blame TellTale Games for that. They do so well at instilling emotion with the characters they create and show to us.

With Clementine, you get a lot of different emotions: sympathy and empathy because of her situation, frustration because sometimes she's the only voice of reason among a group of 'adults' who should know better, light-heartedness because she's cute and naïve at times, and the list goes on.

Despite everything she has endured thus far, she's still alive. She has what it takes to survive and at her young age, that's admirable. After all, it's hard to not view her as a little girl. It's hard to watch her kill zombies and witness death all around her.

But it's The Walking Dead, where anyone is susceptible to a flesh-eating life after death, which is one thing we don't want for Clementine.

GameSkinny News Roundup - July 27th Sun, 27 Jul 2014 16:52:15 -0400 Proto Foe

[Author's Note: Production quality will increase, format will evolve. Any suggestions you may have, please do not hesitate to put them forth.]

Welcome to the GameSkinny News Roundup.

This weekly feature highlights 5 articles from the previous week, with the aim to simply bring them to the attention of those who may have missed important or interesting updates due to the ever-increasing influx of games news, reviews, and more.

There will usually be 1 article from the following categories; News, Review, Interview, Guide, and Culture. Some nice, light reading at the end of the week.

Have You Googled "Rumor" Recently?

First up we have the returning rumour, this time confirmed by a reliable source, of Google purchasing This rumour first entered circulation back in May, and had a price tag of $1 billion attached to it.

Alex reports on the VentureBeat detailed report, and ends by asking:

Can Twitch retain its small, non-corporate aura as they climb the ladder of mega-corporation success?

Minor Spoilers Incoming, You Were Warned!

Angelina makes her first of two appearances this week. Firstly with her review of Telltale Games' The Walking Dead: Season 2 episode named "Amid the Ruins", scoring it a very satisfying 9 stars.

Now, I'll admit I am a little behind on the second season of TWD, so I am thankful for the lightly sprinkled review. It has made me want to wait to play the whole season in one big, walker-sized lump. You can read the review right here.

There is a looming feeling of dread on the horizon constantly during this episode.   The future seems murky for the members of Clementine’s group but as for Clementine, she learned a lot of hard but necessary lessons in this episode that will no doubt affect her in the thrilling conclusion of the Walking Dead Season 2.

Angelina on Amid the Ruins

Excuse Me, Mr. President

It's not everyday you get to interview the President of the United States of America, that day came for Angelina, or so she thought. She did, however,  get to interview Richard Nixon. What did they speak about? The end of the world, obviously.

Angelina asked Richard Nixon, the founder of Black Studios, many, many questions. One highlight for me was the straight question of  "Just what inspired you to make a game like After Reset?"

Frankly, I was desperately waiting for the real Fallout 3 that Van Buren should have become. I was disappointed when that one was canceled, as well as when Project 13 was cancelled. Oblivion's mods were able to save memories of true Fallout spirit from extinction.

-Richard Nixon on his inspiration for After Reset

The lengthy, but informative, interview can be read here.

Yes, Yes. Welcome to My Parlour

 Hearthstone has captured many a  gamer's  imagination. It has fused  together their  (read: my) love for  the Warcraft universe,  passion for  collectible card games, and the  need for  simple accessibility. The  result? Heroes of Warcraft: Hearthstone. Not happy with just allowing players to face each other in (im)mortal combat, Blizzard has added a single-player expansion titled "The Curse of Naxxramas". Pretty freaking sweet, right?

Well, yes. However, the fights are rather challenging. Bosses have cards that would make Stu Ungar want to play Snap, heroic sized health pools, and lines that wouldn't make it into a Nic Cage film.

Never fear, Jay, has you covered. Check out his guide to the Arachnid Quarter of Naxxramas.

And Finally...

New kid on the block, TiquorSJ, wanted to share this great video of Minecraft. It's essential viewing for any parent that is thinking of allowing their child to enter this brutal, horrific, savage, world.

The Walking Dead Season 2, Ep. 4: Amid the Ruins: You Just Can't Save Everyone Wed, 23 Jul 2014 09:13:28 -0400 Angelina Bonilla

 Warning Minor Spoilers for Episode 4

Everyone dies someday and in a zombie apocalypse, someday might come sooner than you'd think. Telltale's The Walking Dead has never been afraid to show us the reality of the situation these characters are living in.  This has never been truer than in Episode Four: Amid the Ruins when Clementine and the player are forced to realize that they can't save everyone. The episode starts out right away with the player’s decision from the last episode and it doesn’t slow down from there. 

Your decision whether or not to chop off Sarita’s arm off doesn’t matter because as soon as we saw the bite, we knew she was dead one way or another. The rest of the episodes continues with this sort of tone leaving you wondering whether or not you did the right thing depending on your decisions.

The action in this episode is far more spaced out than in the previous entry but it does leave quite a lot of room for character development.  We were able to get to know the character Jane who we met in the previous episode who does get a lot of one on one moments with Clementine.

This episode does have a lot of quiet moments, but this time the main conflict is the fact that Rebecca’s baby might be coming sooner than we think. The majority of the episode was spent on looking for safe places for Rebecca to have her baby and the conflicts that come with that. The gameplay this time focuses on less sneaking around and more on investigating certain things. Other than the quicktime events most of the episode is based on dialogue between members of your group. Conversations that don't always go well because of the tenseness of the situation.  Party members argue, things get heated and not everyone makes it out alive, but that can be said about any episode of this series.

What makes this episode different is that the moments the deaths happen seem a little less shocking a little more disappointing for the player. It really hammers in the fact that not everyone is fit enough to survive in a zombie apocalypse. 

The adults in this start to act more like children and more often than not turn to Clementine for the solution to their problems. While degradation of the psyche under these circumstances is normal, they are relying on a kid for things that they should be doing and this was the only thing that took me out of this episode.   Clementine is just a little girl and while she’s the most resourceful, competent person in this entire game, she’s still just a kid. A kid that, no matter how hard she or the player tries can’t save everyone.

"Everyone's luck runs out sometime."

 A good way to describe this episode is with a feeling of inevitability. Despite her best attempts Clementine makes at trying to make a situation better, it just gets progressively worse as time goes on. People do their own thing and react shocked when the other members of the party call them out on it.

Not every choice that’s made will turn out well and not everything you do will be the “right” thing. It’s something that I’ve noticed certain fans don’t understand, that while our choices didn’t “matter” as much because certain things happened no matter what, that was the inherent theme in this episode. You will not be able to save everyone, everything won’t be okay. This is the end of the world as we know it and these characters you love may not survive it.  It’s a harsh reality of the situation these characters are living in.    

There is a looming feeling of dread on the horizon constantly during this episode.   The future seems murky for the members of Clementine’s group but as for Clementine, she learned a lot of hard but necessary lessons in this episode that will no doubt affect her in the thrilling conclusion of the Walking Dead Season 2.

The Walking Dead Season 2, Episode 4 Details Revealed Thu, 17 Jul 2014 10:59:23 -0400 Yasmin Curren

First of all I should say... Spoilers!

Telltale Games have teased The Walking Dead fans with an action-packed trailer for Episode 4: Amid The  Ruins. With promise of much more complex choices, character developments, overwhelming zombie hordes and of course emotional scenes that will melt even the hardest of hearts. Just watching the trailer was enough to make me blubber when it ends with Luke asking Clementine, "Are you okay?" and she answers "No."

It's clear to me that throughout this trailer Clem has lost all of her innocence, she doesn't need any protection now like she did when Lee found her up in that tree house, alone and scared. She's transformed into a badass warrior! But other characters are becoming more vulnerable now, with groups beginning to crack under pressure and certain characters *cough* Kenny *cough* showing a lack of hope in this decaying world, it's obvious that Clementine will have a lot of tough decisions ahead of her, and we're there to help her make the right ones. (Poor girl!)

If you're as excited as I am then you'll be happy to know that Episode 4: Amid The  Ruins releases on PC and Mac on July 22. PS3 and PS Vita owners in North America will also be able to play the next chapter on this date. The episode will release globally on Xbox 360 and European Playstation platforms the day after, July 23. The last version of release will be on July 24 for iOS. It will cost $4.99 on it's own.

amid the ruins

The Walking Dead Season Two: Episode Three: In Harm's Way Review Tue, 13 May 2014 22:39:11 -0400 Brian S

Violent. Shocking. Nerve-racking. Visceral, in more ways than one. "In Harm's Way" continues the intense thrill ride of the game/television show hybrid known as Telltale's The Walking Dead. Similar to the first episode of Season Two of House of Cards, or the opening of Mass Effect 2, "In Harm's Way" pulls no punches in letting players/viewers know that the world of The Walking Dead is relentless and unforgiving.

The prison break story is rather cliché--something very out of character for Telltale.

Following their capture and return to Carver's compound inside a warehouse, Clementine and the group of argumentative adults find themselves trapped and forced to maintain the facility.

With a massive wave of walkers on the way, the group must plan their own prison break and slip past the horde lest they join the ranks of the undead. The plot is a bit cliché, and occasionally predictable, as it follows standard prison break tropes, but Telltale weaves the story in such a way that viewers/players probably won't care.

Additionally, "In Harm's Way" is one of the most violent episodes of Telltale's The Walking Dead yet, so be warned. Even with the comic-inspired art style, things can get pretty gruesome--Dead Space-level gruesome.

Clementine is having a bloody good time.

"In Harm's Way" is similar to the previous episode, "A House Divided," in that the episode is relatively short (around two hours, while Season One's episodes averaged 3-5 hours), but the amount of high-quality content in those two hours more than makes up for the episode's length.

Clementine's choices are less significant, but they add up.
Clementine's decisions are far less impactful in Episode Three than those of Bigby in The Wolf Among Us, which is somewhat jarring.  Most of the decisions are smaller choices in your tone, whether Clementine defends someone, or whether she stays silent to hide her actions in the hope of escape.

As with previous episodes of Telltale games, the art style fits the series rather well, but the animations remain a weak point--sometimes the characters' mouths wouldn't really line up with their dialogue, though it was rare. With any luck, animation quality will drastically improve with a potential third season.

Decisions feel much less important than in earlier episodes of the series.

As with its other recent endeavors, Telltale managed to spin a yarn that is engaging and entertaining with "In Harm's Way." The future of The Walking Dead is less clear now than in Season One, but considering Telltale's track record, viewers/players have nothing to fear.

The Walking Dead: Season 2 Episode 1 Mon, 12 May 2014 11:52:30 -0400 Amanda Wallace

Telltale Games has set themselves apart in recent years with a variety of well done, emotionally gripping point and click adventure games. The Walking Dead, now on its second season of episodic goriness, is no exception. 

I'm not a fan of the television series, so I can't speak to the possible connections in either tone or content that exists in the game. 

A few years ago, Telltale revitalized an industry that many thought dead with the first Walking Dead game and it has a lot to live up to. For now, let's settle into some of the particulars. 


Like the first season and the Wolf Among Us series, Season 2 has a distinctive style somewhere near the Borderlands franchise.  It's an interesting combination of real-ish expressions and styles, but with a hand drawn aesthetic. 

Telltale Games is not a big outfit, so the decision to use a style that doesn't require complete realism was wise especially in a game populated with blood & gore, as well as woods and decrepit buildings. Colors are slightly more over-saturated, lines drawn out with thicker strokes than in real life. The effect gives the game a comic-book like appeal, which is true to the source material. (The television series is itself based on a graphic novel series by Robert Kirkman). 

At first, it would seem like this sketch-like style would detract from the game's serious tone. While there are occasional jumps in the animation, overall it was a realistic experience. I would say that it was helpful, while watching some of the gorier and more uncomfortable scenes, to have it done in a more artistic style than having to sit through something like GTA V's much more realistic torture sequence. 


The Walking Dead , like most of the games from Telltale, is a point and click adventure. However, they're managed to create a few systems that allow the game to rise above it's dated style. 

Combat has been greatly improved since the first season, and from the Wolf Among Us as well. Previously there were a lot more precise button presses and motioning across the screen to grab some distantly highlighted object to smash your opponent across the face with. While to a certain extent these things still exist, the amount of potential buttons appeared to be less than previous games and there was enough time to think through decisions. 

One of the more jarring moments in the game involves your character sewing up her wounds with a needle and thread. This scene was far more uncomfortable and jarring than it had any right to be. Most of the reasoning for that is because it allowed the player to control Clementine's actions -- you were the one sticking the needle in her arm. You couldn't squelch away from an uncomfortable situation. Mechanically, this was one of the strongest moments. 

Otherwise, the game features fairly standard "look" and "grab" manuevers, and you can navigate with mouse controls or WASD/arrow keys, whichever is more comfortable to you. Overall, the game doesn't flex too far from the standards of the medium, which makes it easy for a novice or an experienced adventure game player to get into. 


With a point and click adventure, one of the strongest parts of the game needs to be the story. Mechanics are important, but unlike an FPS, they cannot be the brunt of the game. 

The Walking Dead Season 2 features a couple of emotionally charged sequences interspersed with lighter fare -- attempting to find medical supplies or searching through a camp, for example. These searching missions are a decent way to balance out the overall horror of the game. 

You play as a young girl named Clementine. Previous players of the series will remember her as the secondary character to Lee. Playing through Season 1 is advised before getting into Season 2, as they inform each other (both mechanically and emotionally). However, if you don't do that then there is a short prompt that randomly assigns the decisions from Season 1 to your Season 2 characters. 

Unfortunately, the Walking Dead brings back one of my least favorite conventions, which is the "you have to choose."

There are two people and you must decide if you want to save one or the other. It's pretty black and white, and it's also pretty frustrating. More so thematically because Clementine is like 9, and making that many important life-altering decisions is bound to make her catatonic. You could argue that in a world overrun by zombies, there would be a certain level of cruelty, but it's still pretty over the top. 

Emotionally, Clementine gets bounced around like a ping-pong ball at a Chinese championship, and there's a lot of people placing blame on the doorstep of a pretty young child.

Overall, the game is a solid example of the genre, and fans of the series certainly won't be disappointed. You can find the Walking Dead Season 2 (as well as Season 1) on Steam or on your console of choice.