Editor's Choice: The Walking Dead - A Telltale Games Series

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Release Date: 16/05/2013

Editor's Choice

The Walking Dead A Telltale Games Series on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC at GAME

We normally associate zombie games with simply smashing up waves of the undead who want to chow down on our brain stems (hello, Dead Island!). But Telltale Games' zombie series (based on the superb comic book) has actual brains - plus fantastic characters and a gripping story.

Previously an episodic download release, all five award-winning episodes have now been brought together in one over-the-counter pack. Sounds perfect, right? Well, we do have to get some caveats out of the way first. If you're looking for a run-and-gun fest, then really, don't bother. And if you're hoping for the latest in graphic technology and silky smooth frame rates, run away screaming because from a technical point of view, The Walking Dead is no masterclass in Jon Carmack-style programming - it can even feel decidedly creaky at times.

But if you're looking for a game that thrusts you into a world with characters that you will care about, scenarios that will engross you and a setting that is harrowingly believable, The Walking Dead is a classic. Unlike this year's earlier shooter The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct, its premise is not directly based on the hit AMC series; instead it's set in the same world but with a raft of new characters trying to survive the zombie apocalypse.

You play as Lee Everett who was being taken taken to prison for murdering his wife (did he though?...) but ends up fleeing from the zombie hordes instead and unexpectedly ends up charged with looking after an orphan, Clementine. With her, you'll join up with a ragtag group of survivors and go on a journey that will take you from... actually, we're not going to put any spoilers in here whatsoever - but be prepared for an emotional rollercoaster.

The Walking Dead A Telltale Games Series on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC at GAME

The gameplay itself is a stripped-back third-person graphic adventure that sees you exploring locales, solving intelligent, imaginative puzzles and indulging in Heavy Rain-like 'QTE' events. Plus many of your actions and decisions will be remembered by your companions - and will have serious ramifications for your character as opinions and alliances are formed... and enemies made.

For those of us who do enjoy burying a spade into the odd zombie's brain pan, fret not - there's plenty of those but used sparingly enough so that the undead remain unnerving through out instead of simply becoming pulseless trailer trash to plough through (hello again, Dead Island!).

It all adds up to a bona fide classic; one which shows that games can be so much more than mere adrenaline rushes. This is a series that illustrates games can engage you on an emotional, personal level and make you care about stuff like, you know, character and story. Without the need for the introduction of, say, flamethrowers as a major plot twist...

Ultimately, The Walking Dead offers an experience that is still in tragically short supply in videogames. In an age of IAPs, cover mechanics and an industry seemingly obsessed with gun fetishisation, gaming desperately needs titles like Telltale's to secure its position as a true creative force to be reckoned with.

Need we tell you then that The Walking Dead was one of our games of 2012? Obviously not - but without a doubt, it should be one of your games of 2013 if you haven't already played it.

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