I finished the game Friday. I want to play it again, differently this time, but I can bring myself to restart the game.
I've had videogames effect me emotionally before, but never this strongly. I teared up during the big death scene in Gears of War 3, and was left feeling gutted at the end of Mass Effect 3, mainly from the gut wrenching deaths of more than a few characters throughout that game. That being said, never before have I had a game push me emotionally through every stage. The instances I cited, were short and once done, they were largely over and I could begin to move on. That wasn't the case with the Walking Dead.
There are moments when Clementine looks at you, and she breaks your heart. People die and it's like getting punched in the stomach because you don't see it coming. And the end...I'm not sure I can put it into words.
Sure, there are parts of the game that are clunky. A few times throughout the game, the facial expressions don't match up with how the character is actually responding, though it becomes less of an issue as the game progresses. I'm not sure if I stopped noticing, or if they simply got better. Either way, it's a minor part. The game is fun, trying, and the story hits every mark it aims for, often surpassing those goals.
As far as storytelling in games is concerned, The WD, has to be near the top of any list, which is an achievements all on its own. Forget that the game is fun to play, looks uniquely stylized, and is fully fleshed out. The mere fact TellTale achieved a story on par with anything the Tripple-A studios have done, speaks volumes, not only about their capabilities but where the future of story telling in games can and no doubt will go in the next generation.
It's not only the best game I've played this year, or in recent memory, it may very well be my favorite game of all time.
I hope there is a Season 2.
Of the choices I can recall, right off hand...
I saved Duck.
I sided with Kenny most of the time.
I saved Carly in the drug store.
I held Lilly back, while Kenny killed Larry.
I killed both the cannibals, which Clem witnessed.
I took the food.
I left Lilly behind.
I took Clem with me to Crawford.
I told everyone about my past and later forced Ben to come clean to Kenny about what he had done.
I later let Ben sacrifice himself.
I told everyone I had been bitten, asked for their help getting Clem back, and had Krista cut my arm off.
I killed the stranger and later had Clem shoot me.
Part of the way through, I realized I had to change how I was playing the game. I was trying to interact fairly with everyone, as best as I could to keep all my options open. When Carly died, or rather was murdered, I realized that I had only one goal, to keep Clem safe at all costs. It no longer mattered what I had to do or who I had to cross in order to protect her. Making sure she survived was the only goal because ultimately I think the overall story is about redemption.
From what I saw, Lee regretted not only the circumstances that led to his incarceration, but also those that took him away from his family, particularly when you're in the family drug store. Perhaps this is my own spin on things, partly because how I chose to play the game, but I very much felt like keeping Clem alive was the price he had to pay to Lee to atone for the things he had in his life.
I will agree, that I think it's important for Lee to tell Clem to shoot him at the end, as a sort of final lesson. The story builds up the fact that she's learning to take care of herself and in those last chapters, she becomes an important member of the team, often helping with things the others can't accomplish. Forcing her to kill Lee, is the last step in everything she has learned throughout the entire series.
I would like to see the next season, either pick up directly where this one left off, or begin several years into the future with Clem now out on her own.