The Walking Dead: The Telltale Definitive Series offers a new way to relive Clementine's often-brutal journey through the zombie apocalypse.
The Walking Dead: The Telltale Definitive Series is a bittersweet release. However, it's also a gaming miracle. When Telltale Studios shuttered its doors in the middle of working on the series' Final Season, fans feared they would never see it completed. However, Skybound Entertainment finished the saga and brought the franchise's story to a satisfying close.
When Telltale Games released the first episode of The Walking Dead Season 1, the company changed the face of the gaming industry forever. It's safe to say that Telltale wasn't the first developer to use a branching narrative. It's arguably the first studio to show what kind of storytelling was possible by creating something that appealed to players on a visceral level. It also stayed faithful to its source material, while often transcending it.
Telltale's The Walking Dead, inspired by the Robert Kirkman comic book series of the same name, drops players directly into the zombie apocalypse and then tells them that every decision they make will have consequences. Instead of focusing on more familiar characters, though, it introduced new characters into this brutal zombie-ridden world, including a scared eight-year-old girl named Clementine. It is Clementine that is at the very heart of the story throughout all four seasons of Telltale's The Walking Dead.
In The Walking Dead: The Telltale Definitive Series, players finally have a chance to play through Clementine's eight-year journey in one sitting. This collection also lets them explore the beginning of the zombie apocalypse through the eyes of other characters in The Walking Dead: 400 Days. The Definitive Series also includes The Walking Dead: Michonne, which explores the world from the eyes of a more familiar character from the comic books and TV show.
For those unfamiliar with Telltale's gameplay, The Walking Dead: The Telltale Definitive Series might require a bit of a learning curve. Gameplay revolves mostly around dialogue, where the player must choose what to say. Choosing wisely is crucial because each statement will affect much that comes after it. For example, choose one statement, and players will rally around the main character. Say something else, though, and the main character suddenly has enemies that were once friends. In some situations, there is a time limit on choosing dialogue, so it's a case of speak now or forever hold your peace. But saying nothing also comes with its own set of consequences.
There are also other important choices to make, and they are often, quite literally, choices between life or death. Navigating the world of the zombie apocalypse leads to a hard life, and sometimes one must choose who lives, who dies and who gets left behind. There is also some combat, although it mostly requires pressing certain buttons promptly. Everything in this game matters, though, and playing each episode back-to-back in the Definitive Series makes it all that much more intense. Players will catch themselves feeling plenty of emotions throughout each episode.
The Walking Dead: The Telltale Definitive Series also brings a graphics upgrade to each season. Seasons 1-3, along with 400 Days and Michonne, have never looked better, with crisper lines and brighter colors. Each season now has the "Graphic Black" art style that was used in the Final Season, and 'it's a definite improvement. This art style even enhances the more gruesome scenes, of which there are many. There are also some performance improvements, including better character movement and lip syncing. The voice acting for this series was always stellar, and that is the one thing, fortunately, that Skybound hasn't changed in this edition.
That's not to say that The Walking Dead: The Telltale Definitive Series doesn't have a few issues. Although the UI got an upgrade, it is still a little awkward, particularly on console. For example, there are moments when a character might leave a room and walk into the next room, but the reticle will still focus on items in the previous room. This gets annoying at times, particularly when trying to choose something with the reticle and accidentally clicking on the thing you just looked at, making you watch the same cutscene again. There is also a weird issue with previous dialogue repeating during loading scenes.
These problems, though, are minor, and the improvements made to each season more than make up for them. The Walking Dead: The Telltale Definitive Series also includes a few bonuses for players. There's a music section that allows players to listen to music from each episode. There are also some excellent commentaries for each episode, giving players behind-the-scenes details from the game's creators, as well as its voice actors. This edition even includes an art gallery and 3-D model viewer.
The Walking Dead: The Telltale Definitive Series is a must for fans of the franchise, but it's also a good buy for those who have not yet played a single episode of the series. For the first time, gamers can play through the whole story and watch Clementine as she grows from a scared little girl into a capable young woman. Telltale's The Walking Dead is a series with some of the best storytelling in the industry, and for those who aren't squeamish about a little blood and gore, this is a must-play.
The Walking Dead: The Telltale Definitive Series is available on September 10, 2019 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. Screen Rant was provided a PlayStation 4 digital download code for the purposes of this review.