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Good story, but think before you buy the game at full price.
I'm going to spoil a good bit, so don't read any further if you don't want me to spoil the game.

This game has a great story, it has new characters and since none of the characters are mains on the show (though some cameo), it has both an "anyone can die" and an "anyone can live" feel. It actually got me to care a lot more than both the comics and the tv show.

Here's the main spoiler, yes the game has interactive moments, but the truth of the matter is most of your choices either don't matter, change a couple bits of dialogue or just make superficial changes to the story. This does NOT undermine the story the game is trying to tell. It DOES undermine the fact that this is a game. Yes you can decide who lives and dies, but the game eventually kills the people who you choose to save. It makes sense from a story perspective, but when I realized no matter who I save in the beginning, both still die, the game factor dropped for me. If I am going to invest my time in a game like this, I want some more interactivity. At the final episode, we get the same ending no matter what we do, so why should I invest my time in playing it when I could just watch someone else play?

What we have is in my opinion five very well written TV episodes with interactive features. They have good characters and good drama, but in the end, I didn't feel like it was a game. This is an issue because, although I don't mind buying five episodes, I don't want to pay $5 USD for a TV episode (If the price permanently drops then feel free to laugh at me and disregard this entire review). If you want it, wait until there's a Steam sale or the like. It's a good story, but I felt like I didn't get my money's worth for the price.
In case someone didn't pay attention to the spoiler (which would be a shame) I might be even more explicit about story elements at points

Normally 'it's not a game' is my rant button, but you've put it quite interestingly. I disagree that it's 5 TV episodes, because I think the story wouldn't be good enough to be on TV and in TV form most people who consumed it would think it's fairly crud. It would feel tired and very manipulative and cliche. We have A Little Girl for empathy, whose existence is basically to twig emotions in the most obvious ways, we have cannibals, "humans are the real monsters", control freak, leadership disputes, utilitarian dictatorships made out of youths. Raiding, empty buildings. Characters get introduced and then killed off quickly, very few people aren't annoying, deaths seemed forced... and so on. Basically The Road did all this and did it better years ago.

But people are (rightly) hugely praising the story and I think this is the Heavy Rain affect (which had a much worse story again but still came off as compelling) that gameplay in its most basic form has a huge emotive affect on people. The makers of this game really understood this and they used the choice and the player protagonist to build up emotional connections and shocks that wouldn't have happened non-interactive. And they conveyed a lot of emotion through fake choice, guilt, responsibility, pressure. Think of the rationing scene, which was pointless, but now think of the emotions it created when you did it the first time, unaware of that. And now imagine if you just saw it? Would you care? Heck no. There'd be some intellectual and emotive curiousity at how it affects relationships, but you wouldn't have felt the agony of having to divvy it up because non-interactive fiction is too distant from the recipient.

So I think that we're getting an experience that would be impossible in non-interactive form. I'm interested that you felt like it was worth less though. I'm curious, would you mind explaining what you were expecting and what would have needed to be added to feel like it was worth the money (and why?)
comment #17600 TomWithNoNumbers 7th Jan 13
First, apparently I didn't realize the game is actually 50% off on steam right now. Second, you make a good defense of the interactive features, and I really do need to try Heavy Rain. My idea of what would make it more worth the five dollars would be to allow Lee to take an active role. When Lilly starts getting paranoid about everyone, I wanted to have the dialogue option to tell the others that Lilly's going overboard, or the like (if there is one that I missed, then my bad). A lot of the action lee takes is reactionary. My personal favorite moment is Lee teaching Clem how to shoot. More moments like that (and the opening where you meet Clem) would leave me with a feeling that I could be more proactive. I understand it's an apocalypse, so I may not be able to change much, but so much of the game came across to me as "Lee, we need you to do x." I liked these characters and really just wanted to interact with them. Again, if I just missed a lot of these points, then that's nobody's fault but mine.
comment #17601 fenrisulfur 7th Jan 13
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