Tag Archives: telltale games

Through Her Eyes: Impressions On Playing As Clementine In The Walking Dead Season 2

All good stories need a strong and compelling main character––someone who makes you think, act, and feel exactly how anyone would in any given situation they’re thrown into. Telltale Games has succeeded in crafting playable characters who we actually care about as we, the player, gets to decide what choices and course of action they should take.

The Walking Dead Season 1 had us play as Lee, a man coming to terms with his dark past while taking care of a little girl named Clementine, as if she were his own daughter from the Walkers. Every decision Lee makes is usually for the good of everyone involved and Clementine. As an adult, you make tough choices in life and hope what you’re doing is right. But what happens when you have to make adult choices when you’re only a child? That’s a question The Walking Dead Season 2 poses when you play as Clementine.

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“The Wolf Among Us” Review — A Crooked Mile (episode 3)

So this morning I played the third episode of Telltale Games’ The Wolf Among Us, and I’m still recovering. It is by far the best episode of the series yet. Proceed with caution, though — it’s hard to talk about this series without giving away spoilers!

The first episode, “Faith,” has Fabletown Sheriff Bigby Wolf (a.k.a. The Big Bad Wolf of fairytales) joining up with Snow White to investigate the murder of a call girl. It’s a point-and-click mystery adventure, which I reviewed on my blog here. The first episode leaves you with a cliffhanger, and I couldn’t wait for the second episode to begin.

However, after playing the second episode, “Smoke and Mirrors,” I just couldn’t find the inspiration to write a review of it. After how much the first episode sparks, “Smoke and Mirrors” just felt lacklustre to me. The story in episode two progresses at a slowed pace, with a little too much time spent throwing things around the local strip club just for the hell of it.

I also felt like I had less agency in the second episode. In “Faith,” your decisions result in a main character either living or dying, and you decide which suspect to arrest while letting another go free — for the time being. However, in “Smoke and Mirrors,” decisions are more along the lines of how-mean-do-you-want-to-be-to-this-character, and it feels like things will work out similarly no matter what you do. I suppose the big difference is in what information you get. This is a series where it pays to pay attention to every little bit of data you glean from suspects and witnesses.

ep_3_bigbyIn any case, episode three, “A Crooked Mile,” empowers the player with major decisions, just as it did in episode one. Some of the choices are how Bigby responds to the people around him, but these moments feel much more important than before. With more murders happening and Bigby hot on the heels of someone directly involved in them — possibly the killer himself — both Fabletown and our protagonist are at their breaking points. That means confrontations, and every dialogue option has the potential to piss somebody off. I personally loved an argument between Bigby and Holly — the latter grieving for her murdered sister — because it played on how Bigby interacted with Holly in past episodes. (Basically, Holly hates my Bigby.)

The episode also clips along at breakneck speed. There’s a meeting happening between the prime murder suspect and a mysterious witch at exactly 2 AM, giving Bigby and Snow just a few short hours to track down who this witch is — and where she is. I usually get stressed out when there’s a timer on missions, but in this case, it works for the suspense.

You have three places to investigate, but there’s only time to visit two of them before 2 AM. There are also unexpected turns of events when you arrive. For instance, you might show up somewhere to look through someone’s things, but you can’t anticipate who is going to be there or what information they are going to give you if you handle them right.

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Best of all, the scenes get a little emotional. The beginning of the episode has Bigby crashing a funeral. Later, while investigating a murder suspect’s belongings, he has to sneak around the grieving Holly who is subdued and half-asleep from pain medication. Though I could have had Bigby announce himself to her, I kept him quiet while Holly (who hates him, remember?) rambled on about him. There was a touching moment toward the end of that. And during the last fight scene, Bigby morphs into his wolf form, is shot several times, and has to fight just to stand up and keep going.

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It gets intense. The series seems to be heating up, and I can’t wait to see how the story wraps in the next couple of episodes…

— Ashley

 

 

Everyone Deserves A Second Chance: Impressions Of Bigby Wolf From The Wolf Among Us

Stories of redemption or second chances, if told and done well, are attractive for most people for a number of reasons. Just like when we enjoy seeing the good guy win in the end, we like to see who we think are formerly irredeemable characters turn a new leaf and walk the path of good. There are struggles the character undergoes to either forgive himself or herself for the sins of their past, while also changing the minds of those who don’t believe the person can truly change. Whether the character really does change or not is another part of the journey that’s worth waiting to find out.

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Going With Your Gut Instinct in Telltale Video Games

If there’s one thing I love most about Telltale games, it’s that when I play them, I often regret my snap decisions.

In these story-centric, episodic games, you’re presented with dialogue options that include a timer bar, which gradually depletes as you start running out of time to make your dialogue choice. If you don’t make your decision in time, you’re stuck with a default choice (or, like, silence). The games give you a ton of other decisions too — who will you save from the approaching zombies? to whom will you give the limited food rations? will you torture the criminal or try to bribe him into talking? — and they often have time limits, too.

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In other words, it’s a lot like real life. We face decisions every day, and we have to think fast. We don’t have five minutes to review dialogue options before we carry on with our conversations. We have tough choices to make, and we don’t always know which is “right” or “wrong.” As much as I love my Mass Effect games, life doesn’t give us color-coded responses to hint at how others will perceive them. We go into life blind, we make snap decisions, and we have to live with them.

Similarly, there are no easy take-backs in the Telltale games. Once you make a decision, you’re stuck with whatever consequences unfold — whether they’re good or not. I don’t look up anything about the episodes before I play them, but afterwards I love checking out other people’s playthroughs and seeing what could-have-been. But I don’t replay the episodes. Not right away, at least. I have to play through the entire game first, living with my first decisions even when I regret them pretty much immediately after I make them.

The-Wolf-Among-Us-episode-21An easy example is in the first episode of The Wolf Among Us, when you get a chance to name your prime suspects in a serial murder case. I named Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum as my prime suspects. Minutes later, I had Tweedle Dee and the Woodsman (another suspect, though a little more downtrodden and less likely, in my opinion) in a bar, and they were both making a run for it. I had to act fast — who was I going to chase down and arrest?

Given that I had just named Tweedle Dee one of my prime suspects, I should have gone after him. But I didn’t. My immediate reaction — not my brain, but my gut instinct — was to run after the Woodsman.

As soon as I made the call, I realized what a dumb thing I had just done. Why hadn’t I gone after the more suspicious guy?! He was getting away! But that’s the beauty of Telltale games to me. The games force you to make quick, instinctual choices and then live with whatever happens next. It’s almost like giving the reins to your unconscious mind.

I might replay the Telltale games again, but I’m not incredibly motivated to see every possible decision’s outcome. Even when I make choices I regret, my canon playthroughs feel right to me. My brain might not be very happy about my decisions — some of them are pretty silly — but they belong to me even more because of that. They’re not over-thought. They don’t come from the part of me that tries to manipulate video games or strategize through every single detail. When I play Telltale games, it’s just me, thinking on my feet like I do in real life, and then seeing what comes of it.

— Ashley

Video Games: What I’ve Been Playing Lately

The past couple of weeks have been pretty busy, but that just makes me treasure my video game time more than usual! Taking an hour or two to dive into a favorite game has been my retreat. Here’s what I’ve been playing lately:

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Kharjo, my newest follower...
Kharjo, my newest follower…

I’ve played Skyrim a couple of times before, but I’m vowing to keep my new character as my main and try to level up much more with her than I have with past characters. She’s a Khajiit named Sabe, and at the moment she’s around Level 22. I got the Hearthfire DLC last weekend and purposely jumped into the Dawnstar quests (“Waking Nightmare”) so I could become thane of Dawnstar and build the Hearthfire mansion in the Pale. It’s the snowy location, and on a clear day you can stand in a tower and see Dragonsreach in Whiterun, which is pretty cool. But now that I’m building, it makes me want to get out there and complete some more quest lines so I can decorate the house!

Also, can I just say that this new playthrough has been tiding me over until Elder Scrolls Online comes out… =)

Fire Emblem: Awakening

fire-emblem-awakeningWhen did I first start playing Fire Emblem: Awakening? According to my blog, it was sometime last March — which means I’ve been playing it for almost a year! And that’s the same playthrough. Which is crazy. It is an RPG, and it is long, but the real reason it’s taking me so long to play to the end is that I keep picking it up and putting it down. It actually works well that way. I’m savoring it as long as it lasts.

The Wolf Among Us

the-wolf-among-us-1With the second episode of Telltale Games’ The Wolf Among Us out this week, I’m super excited to be playing through more of the story tomorrow morning. It took what felt like forever for this episode to be released, but I don’t want to replay the first episode quite yet. I want to have one playthrough — no chance to go back and “fix” mistakes or try things a different way. As with The Walking Dead games, I like to have one canon playthrough before I redo any single episode!

I really enjoyed the first installment in this series. The Telltale Games format works really well with a mystery, and I love the art style of the series. I’m reading the Fables comics (The Wolf Among Us is based on them) this month to learn a little more about this world.

And speaking of Telltale, I’m looking forward to playing The Walking Dead season 2, too! I might wait until all of the episodes are out and play them all at once, though. Waiting so long between The Wolf Among Us episodes is hard enough!

Game of the Month…

I’m also getting started on my New Year’s Resolution to play and actually finish one new game a month from now on. (I’m going to say one two-hour episode of The Wolf Among Us doesn’t count!) I have a few possible games in mind, but I think a Phoenix Wright game might win this month… I will keep you posted on my blog and publish a review when I’m finished with the February game. =)

What’s everybody else been playing lately?

— Ashley

A Week in Gaming – The Wolf Among Us: Episode One

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This past week I got around to purchasing the season pass for Telltale Games’ newest series The Wolf Among Us. I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect when I started playing. I mean, I played through Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead series so I was familiar with the style and all that but was otherwise clueless as far as general content and narrative goes. For some reason I like to know as little as possible when going into most games. I like to see the initial concept, watch the announcement trailer and some view some of the art for the game but I really like to remain a bit in the dark so that I can form my own opinions of the game at hand without outside influence. The only exception is when I don’t know anything about the game and am not sure if I even want it. Before I get too off-topic, let’s get into the point of this post – my initial impressions of the game.

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The Wolf Among Us is based of DC comic book series called Fables, a series which I haven’t read yet (emphasis on yet). The game takes place 20 years before the first comic book in the Fables series but obviously follows the same basic premise – The fables we know and love such as Snow White and Ichabod Crane have been forced to leave their homeland and live in ours. Thanks to some magical stuff called Galmour certain fables such as Mr. Toad can hide in plain sight without the humans noticing anything suspicious, allowing the fables to live in the depths of New York City in relative peace. If they stop taking Glamour they revert back to their natural form which has been made illegal. I suppose that is understandable though, it would be odd to walk down the streets of New York City and see a 4-foot-tall talking toad. These fables all have to work together since they are kind of an inclusive club and are the only ones who know about one another, but obviously it doesn’t always work out and that’s where Bigby Wolf (or more mythically known as the Big Bad Wolf) comes in. Bigby is the Sheriff of Fabletown and is tasked with the job of keeping everyone from killing one another. It seems like a hard job, to be honest.

The gameplay is a lot like that of Telltale’s The Walking Dead in that it features small sections of exploration, large dialog sequences and lots of quick-time events. One new feature though is the addition of more action-oriented gameplay. I was super surprised to find myself actually dodging attacks and throwing some punches myself. That being said, it’s obvious that The Wolf Among Us has a much darker spin on it than The Walking Dead did. There are some seriously sinister themes as well as an overabundance of cursing and blood. There were many choices to make in conversation which shaped the story, one of the most ingenious parts of any Telltale game series in my opinion. There are plenty of ways in which your choices shape the narrative and I honestly plan on playing through it a couple of times to see some things play out differently. The experience overall though was a big departure from The Walking Dead, which I really do want to emphasis. It’s not just like playing the same game with different characters, it’s a whole new and wonderful experience.

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I know that some people are choosing to wait until all five episodes are out to start playing, but this is too good to pass up. I recommend all of you who have yet to play this to get on that immediately. The season pass is $20 and includes all planned episodes or you can buy them all separately for $5 a pop. The Wolf Among Us – Episode One “Faith” is out now on Steam, the PS3, and Xbox 360. It will soon be out on the Vita though along with The Walking Dead, which is really neat for you handheld lovers. It’s great stuff, I’m telling you!

My Darling Clementine – Speculations For The Walking Dead Season 2 Game

A few weeks ago, it was announced by Telltale Games CEO Dan Connors in a San Diego Comic-Con panel that Clementine will “definitely be a part of” the second game of The Walking Dead and the fate of another major character in the game, Kenny, will be explored as well.

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