Back to the Future: The Game – Ep1 "It's About Time"


Back to the Future The Game... If you just spent three movies traveling to the past, present, and future to cultivate the perfect life for yourself and your family, would you risk it all to save a friend? Would you risk not only the existence you know but also your actual existence?

That philosophical brain teaser is how Telltale Games kicks off Back to the Future episode 1, “It’s About Time.”

Six months after the events of Back to the Future Part III, the DeLorean Time Machine mysteriously returns to Hill Valley… Driverless! 

While that sounds super heavy, it’s actually more in line with the tone of the movies. These issues could be deep and disturbing but they’re handled with shrugs, side-eye, and chuckles.
Why am I seven years late for this game? Because I wasn’t really interested until it was free on Xbox as part of Games with Gold. As my grandma use to say, “If it’s free, it’s for me.” Continue reading “Back to the Future: The Game – Ep1 "It's About Time"”

Review: Episode Two: Starved For Help (The Walking Dead Game)

Episode Two: Starved for Help [1. This title was provided for review by Telltale Games.] of The Walking Dead is more than aptly named and twice as terrifying as episode one.
I’ll try not to spoil anything from Starved for Help but will spoil Episode One: A New Day. You should have played it by now.

In Episode Two: Starved for Help we find ourselves holed up at a motel dangerously low on supplies and patience with the challenge of not only rationing what we have but also taking charge as an effective leader.
I let Carly die in Episode One: A New Day so I could have humble tech expert Doug around incase we need to rig up a generator or something. Also I liked his meekness rather than over-confident bravado. He, to me, was practical and level headed. Unfortunately, in Episode Two: Starved for Help he just kind of sits around feeling guilty for being alive and being more or less useless.
Curse my soft heart.
This time I wanted to be more calculating. I had a new party member, Mark, who was good at everything, including being the ideal party member! I sort of rescued some high school kids and their teacher and quickly learned that Katjaa is not a doctor.
I felt Episode One: A New Day centered around what kind of person you want to be or, at the very least, the kind of person you want people to think you are. Episode Two: Starved for Help centered around how well you trust and act on your own instincts. It’s more about moral choices than social ones. I can’t say I made all the most moral choices but damn did I have to think deeply about them.
This episode of The Walking Dead is seriously gut-wrenching. Every decision feels both right and wrong; satisfying and regrettable.
My Party for Episode Two: Starved for Help (in order of who I like the most):

Walking Dead - Episode Two: Starved for Help - cast-feature-lee
Lee
Walking Dead - Episode Two: Starved for Help - cast-feature-clementine
Clementine
Walking Dead - Episode Two: Starved for Help - cast-feature-doug
Doug
Walking Dead - Episode Two: Starved for Help - cast-feature-kenny
Kenny
Walking Dead - Episode Two: Starved for Help - cast-feature-lilly
Lilly
Walking Dead - Episode Two: Starved for Help - cast-feature-katjaa
Katjaa
Walking Dead - Episode Two: Starved for Help - cast-feature-duck
Duck
Walking Dead - Episode Two: Starved for Help - cast-feature-larry
Larry

Keep in mind this game is not as playful as many games. It’s deep an heavy and people die and it’s still fun in a sick and empowering way.
[Rating:4]
(It’s on my shortlist of rations receivers.)

Now I’d like to visit Spoiler City to discuss and validate my decisions in Episode Two: Starved for Help:

1. I chopped David’s leg off. I didn’t really feel like I had a choice. I guess I did but I’d have rather have given in the option of being shot or one-legged. Instead it was leave him to die or hang out and hack his leg off. Fuck that was an unpleasant experience.
2. I fed Mark (what a waste!), Kenny, Clementine, Duck, and… I think Katjaa or Myself. I didn’t want to be light-headed and feeling the effects of choosing not to eat. Feed the kids because, duh. Kenny is my homeboy and I wanted Mark to stay forever… should have known random awesome new guy was too good to be true.
3. If I remember correctly, there were some bandits that I avoided rather than engage.
4. I waited to hear Jolene out. She was way crazy but she was making sense and those dairy farmer’s were definitely hiding something. Unfortunately Danny did not want to hear Jolene out and their wonderful little operation.
5. I tried really hard to keep Clementine from eating the food and somehow through my clumsy slow-motion gameplay I managed to stop her in the nick of time.
6. I’m apparently an asshole but I helped (did it myself) kill Larry. That fucker was a loose cannon waiting to go off and  he was going to turn into a zombie! An angry racist (?), judgmental, zombie!
7. I killed Danny. He sucked so very much and was quite dangerous. I know Clem was watching but he wanted to eat people slowly over days and was an overall evil monster.
8. I “spared” Andy knowing he’d be fucked on his own so, really I saw it as a choice between quick death and slow death.
9. I’m the greed dick who took your supplies. Who leaves their car full of awesome valuable just laid out like a trap except with no trap?! I assume you’re already dead; and if not, you deserve to be looted and I hope you learned a valuable lesson.
[/wpspoiler]
 
 
 

Finally! | The Walking Dead – Episode Two: Starved for Help

With such an amazing Episode One of The Walking Dead I was growing more and more devastated every day that Episode 2 didn’t show itself. Well, The Walking Dead – Episode Two: Starved for Help has finally come out of hiding.
As promised, this episode will feature all new scenarios and decisions. New characters will be introduced and old characters– if you didn’t see them to their death– will return.
Rather than dealing with the immediate aftermath of the zombie outbreak, Episode Two: Starved for Help deals with the group trying to settle in to life in the post-apocalypse. Food is running low and desperation is running high.
[wpspoiler name=”Check out the summary video for Episode One: A New Day (it’s Filled with SPOILERS):” ][/wpspoiler]
[wpspoiler name=”If you’ve already played episode 1 and you don’t mind seeing SPOILERS for Episode Two, check out the launch trailer.”]

[/wpspoiler]
Details from the Telltale Games Press Release
 
[wpspoiler name=”Details from the Telltale Games Press Release” ]
The Walking Dead is set in the world of Robert Kirkman’s award-winning comic book series.  Lee Everett, a man convicted of a crime of passion, has been given the chance for redemption in a world devastated by the undead. Players experience life changing events, meet new characters and familiar ones from the original comic, and also visit locations that foreshadow the story of Deputy Sherriff Rick Grimes. The Walking Dead offers a tailored game experience – player actions, choices, and decisions affect how the story plays out across the entire series.
The Walking Dead: Episode Two – Starved for Help is the second in a series of five episodes. Each episode is available for 400 Microsoft®Points on the Xbox LIVE Marketplace for Xbox 360® and for $4.99 per episode or as a $19.99 season pass on PlayStation®Network. The Walking Dead is also available as a $24.99 five-episode season pass on PC and Mac from the Telltale Online Store and other digital outlets.
The Walking Dead: Episode Two – Starved for Help is rated ‘M’ (Mature) for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, and Strong Language by the ESRB.
[/wpspoiler]
 

This week in the real world

First of all, sorry for being absent as of late. I just didn’t have anything to say and so I didn’t say anything.  But I have been busy. Not buying a house like Char or getting good grades like Ann. Mostly I’ve been playing video games and reading comic books and I got a new phone (almost immediately after, my work phone died).
While its always important to plan for the worst the current situation can’t. Come second. Sometimes that means making steak for dinner instead of hardtack. Or just going for a drive because its nice out. However you can keep in the back of your mind all the lessons you’re. Learning while doing these things.
What I’ve learned from the pre-apocalyptic world: Continue reading “This week in the real world”

Review: The Walking Dead – Episode One: A New Day

Episode One: A New Day definitely has places to be and paths to take you there but to say it’s on rails would be doing it a huge disservice. Maybe a choose your own action adventure on rails would be most accurate as it is most accurately not of any specific genre.

Episode One: A New Day of The Walking Dead[1. A copy of this game was provided for review by Telltale games.] is finally out and it has all kind of expectations to live up to. The comics, the show, and what’s current in action adventure gaming today. Telltale Games set out to please everyone and no one. For the game to be successful it must stand on its own but still make sense within the The Walking Dead universe.
We’re introduced to The Walking Dead universe in Episode One: A New Day at the kickoff of the zombie apocalypse rather than weeks in as we are at the start of the TV series.
Immediately, we’re introduced to our main character, Lee Everett[2. A black man in the back of a police cruiser. Le Sigh.] and we get to decide what kind of person he’s going to be based on how he completes conversations–or doesn’t.  Not saying anything is an option, it’s also the default when you time out.
See, in the story summary video below there are choices being made that bring to along to those places and those conversations–those outbursts aren’t standard. Lee rarely says anything without your consent.

The game definitely has places to be and paths to take you there but to say it’s on rails would be doing it a huge disservice. Maybe a choose your own action adventure on rails would be most accurate as it is most accurately not of any specific genre.
However, to get a bit more specific, Episode One: A New Day offers some first level game things that should be noted.

The gameplay mechanics of Episode One: A New Day:


As is to be expected from a choose your own action adventure on rails, the game quickly introduces the method for choosing. The method is pushing the button that corresponds with your choice.
If you have the hints on, you might be notified after making a choice that you’re now seen as a nice guy, or an asshole, or a sketchball. It depends on what you decide to say.
Conversation choices need to be made quickly (sort of) or you’ll be stuck with the default or your choice will be “silence.” Saying nothing can sometimes say a lot about you.
Action choices, while they need to be made quickly can also be left to inaction like saving This Guy, That Guy, or neither. Though often in action choices you must choose.
Objects also must be found to complete a number or scenarios… So maybe this is a choose your own action adventure puzzler on rails. Anyway, a small number or items are kept in your inventory to be used either on people or thing to either solve them or win them over.

The story of Episode One: A New Day:[3. Of course, I get a little butthurt about the black man being carted off to jail for murder as an introduction, though it’s heavily tempered by my happiness that a mainstream game is actually staring a person of color as a regular person rather than a shaman or witch doctor or gang member or rapper.]

I was immediately engaged in the story presented in Episode One. The officer in the car is transporting Lee to jail but doesn’t believe he’s truly guilty. Out the window you–you’re allowed to look around as much as a real neck would allow– might see shambling people, and car accidents.
Eventually, you hit a person (zombie) and it knocks the police car into a ditch. Sorting yourself out at the bottom of this ditch is where you sort out how to control the character, interact with your environment, kill stuff and really do all the basic tutorial stuff. Lee comes to grips with the fact that something terrible happened and people are all fucked up.
Making your way through a neighborhood, Lee finds a house and is charged with making a friend or three to eventually get himself out of the suburbs.
Lee’s murdering past comes up often as a kind of haunting character motivation piece. Thankfully there aren’t any flashbacks.

Overall Episode One: A New Day:


1. The art style is great. It’s not intended to be Mass Effect-real or straight up cartooney. There’s a great mix of comic art and animated effects. To me, it felt new and worked well with the game.
2. Nobody is perfect. I hated something about every character, which to me is good because it means they’re not trying to make super familiar likable characters. Everyone, felt really regular and realistic. I think they did a better job of humanizing characters than the TV show did[4. Sorry, can’t help but compare.]
3. Maybe because I’m a nerd and I love graphs and stats, but I was geeked to see the comparison at the end of the level about who made the same choices you did. Were you among the majority? Did other people stay silent when they could have spoke up?
It’s a great feature that ads a bit of perspective and community to an otherwise solitary experience.
4. It’s not as heavy as the chow or the comics. People die and impactful decisions need to be made but they don’t unsettle me. I feel like playing through some of the decisions  in the show and the comics would have been really difficult.
5. There can be a lot of hurry up and wait. It’s urgent to get to X or to do Y but you can spend eight years searching a room for the A or you have to talk to every singly person before you can progress. I don’t care about some people and their motives
6. In order button mashing is how you fight. So, a zombie attacks and the screen flashes “x” and you tap it and then it flashes “b” and you tap that and you can win, lose or not die but not really win. Personally, I like being in full control of a hit stuff button.
I’m having fun playing and so excited to find out what happens next in Episode Two.
[Rating:4.5]

Remember, the full five episode season of The Walking Dead for PC and Mac is available for purchase via the Telltale Games Store (http://www.telltalegames.com/store/) and other digital distribution outlets as a season pass for $24.99.  Once launched on Xbox 360, each episode will cost just 400 MS Points, and on PlayStation 3, each episode will cost just $4.99, or $19.99 as a season pass.

Telltale Games' The Walking Dead Video Game!

Ohmigawd, Ohmigawd, Ohmigawd! I’ll try to breath, but, it’s finally happening. No, not the apocalypse. The Walking Dead video game. They said it would but after waiting so long (at least it felt like so long) I thought, maybe it was just an idea that wouldn’t really come to full fruition.
Then, one day, I saw the AMC choose your own adventure motion comic game thing, Dead Reckoning, and thought that was the game. I mean, it was awesome but not what I expected from Telltale Games. They make games not promotional content. (By the way, check out the AMC promotional games for The Walking Dead, they’re generally awesome.)
Finally, today, I got the press release  along with the video for the “Choice Matters” trailer:

Tellale explains the details in today’s press release:

Telltale Games and Robert Kirkman, the Eisner Award-winning creator and writer of The Walking Dead for Skybound Entertainment and Image Comics, announced today that the first episode of the game series based on the critically acclaimed comic book series, The Walking Dead, is now available for download.  Players can purchase the PC and Mac versions from the Telltale Games Online Store, as well as Steam and other digital distribution services.  The first episode is also available for download now on PlayStation®Network for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, and will be available Friday, April 27th on Xbox LIVE® Arcade for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft.

Every system (except the Zelda/Mario/Exercise console)!
Continue reading “Telltale Games' The Walking Dead Video Game!”