Monday, 29 February 2016

My Favourite Telltale Games

Anyone who follows me on Facebook or Twitter will probably realise by now that I love Telltale Games. Although I had played Tales of Monkey Island and Sam & Max beforehand (and enjoyed both), my love of this company really came to fruition upon the release of Season 1 of The Walking Dead.

Whilst The Walking Dead remains my favourite, I am still enjoying each series they are releasing lately. Due to this, I decided that perhaps it is about time I wrote something about them. So, in order, here are my favourite games from this 'interactive storytelling' company.

 8. Sam & Max 

As anthropromorphic private investigators Sam and Max, players get to solve cases in each episode. A lot more puzzle-based than the newer editions in Telltale Games' library, Sam & Max let players solve a bunch of puzzles whilst discovering clues to put each piece of the case together. 

Based on characters created by Steve Purcell in 1987, these two characters occupy a universe that parodies American popular culture, as well as creating its own fun spin on the classic noir detective stories.

7. Back to the Future 

The Back to the Future film series are up there in my favourite film list, so of course I was pleased when I found out that there was going to be an episodic game based on them. Set six months after the events of Back to the Future Part III, the DeLorean Time Machine returns to Hill Valley, driverless! Marty must go back to 1931 to enlist the help of a budding inventor, the teenaged Emmet Brown in order to save 1985's Doc from death. 

At times the game falls a little flat and as with a few of Telltale Games' earlier games, it suffers from some framerate issues (the anniversary edition irons this out a bit more though). However, on the whole, Back to the Future The Game is a brilliant expansion into the Hill Valley universe. As a little added bonus for fans, the original cast movie members Christopher Lloyd (Doc), Tom Wilson (Biff), Claudia Wells (Jennifer Parker) and a special cameo appearance from Michael J Fox (sadly, not playing Marty, but he shows up to play a few of the McFly relatives) have returned for voiceover duties.

Originally released for the Playstation 3, Wii, iOS and Android devices, the game earned a revamped re-release to coincide with the film's 30th anniversary last year.

 6. Tales of Monkey Island

Tales of Monkey Island still makes it into many of the best 'point and click' game lists. An excellent puzzle game that has the perfect level of humour and silliness blended in, Tales of Monkey Island puts players in the shoes of Guybrush Threepwood, who inadvertently infects the entire Caribbean with his arch-nemesis, the evil pirate LeChuck's voodoo powers, which starts to transform them into pirate monsters. 

And so, Guybrush sails off in search of La Esponja Grande, a legendary sea sponge with voodoo-expelling abilities (I told you it was silly), but little does Guybrush know that his quest is about to get embroiled in a sinister plot.
5. Game of Thrones

Based on the hit HBO TV series, Game of Thrones - A Telltale Games Series tells the story of House Forrester, based in the North of Westeros. Caught in The War of the Five Kings, the Forresters must do everything they can to prevent the house from meeting its doom.

The series has its slow moments, but on the whole, it is a faithful accompaniment to both the series and the books. Familiar faces make an appearance (such as Tyrion above), who are each voiced by the same actors in the show respectively. Choices make quite a difference here, so be cautious when making any decisions! Like the books and TV show, the Telltale Games episodic adventure will see a lot of people meet their untimely deaths. Nobody is safe!
4. The Wolf Among Us

I was already a fan of the DC comic series Fables, upon which The Wolf Among Us is based, so I knew I definitely had to pick this up once it was released. The Wolf Among Us puts players into the shoes of Bigby Wolf, the humanised version of the 'Big Bad Wolf' from the Three Little Pigs fairytale. As with all the other characters, Bigby has been exiled from his fairytale home, and forced to live out his days as a human in the Big Apple. 

Here, Bigby is given the job of a detective, ordered to keep the peace among the other Fabled inhabitants whilst ensuring that their magical cover is not revealed to the normal humans. A bitter chain-smoker with a chip on his shoulder and perhaps a little crush on the Mayor's assistant, Snow White, Bigby soon becomes embroiled in a twisted serial killer case.

As Bigby, players get to choose their actions and help him to uncover the secrets behind each crime. The noir-esque detective gameplay works a treat here, whilst paying a fitting homage to the comic series. For me personally, it made me love Bigby even more (he's up there as one of my favourite characters), whilst Telltale Games did a fantastic job of creating a colourful yet bleak world. 
3. Tales From The Borderlands

Developed in conjunction with Gearbox Software, Tales from the Borderlands is set after the events of Borderlands 2. It focuses on Rhys, a Hyperion company man who dreams of being like Handsome Jack, and Fiona, a Pandoran con-artist who is setting out to create the biggest swindle. 

The unlikely dueo are thrown together after falling into danger whilst looking for a Vault key. With a common goal shared, the player must decide who is telling the truth, who is lying and more importantly, how to get to the end. There are two sides to every story, so out of Rhys and Fiona, who do you believe? Well, Tales From The Borderlands lets you decide this as you play through each episode. 

Incredibly faithful to the Borderlands series, it combines the gameplay into a point-and-click adventure with the same visuals, vault hunting and hilarious moments.The game earned rave reviews, and I definitely agree with them.

2. The Walking Dead, Season 2
Continuing the story that began in Season 1, players this time control Clementine. More grown up and experienced than last time, Clem's story is effected by the decisions you made in both Season 1 and 400 Days, whilst new decisions also shape her arc. On her travels, Clem encounters new and old faces as she struggles to survive. Sometimes, it is not always the dead that you have to fear...

Full of tough decisions as well as a few light-hearted moments, Clem's new band of people are just as strong as those she hung around with in Season 1, and you genuinely feel gutted when any of them meet their untimely doom. Although you don't have to, I recommend playing Season 1 and 400 Days first before you play Season 2, to get the full experience.

Season 2 was excellent, but the ending never quite reached the heartbreaking heights of Season 1's climax. However, this is purely because of the relationship between Lee and Clem-something which cannot be repeated...:(. I look forward to seeing what Season 3 is like! 

1. The Walking Dead, Season 1

Surprise, surprise, The Walking Dead Season 1 made it to the number one spot! This five-part game really got me into the Telltale Games collection in a pretty big way...maybe it helps that I absolutely love The Walking Dead in the first place too. 

In Season 1, players take charge of Lee, a murderer who fails to make it to prison after the police car that is taking him there hits a stray walker. The beginning of the game is set immediately after the zombie outbreak starts, but as the game develops, months go by. In the first episode, Lee meets Clementine, a cute little eight year old girl who is seeking revuge in her treehouse whilst her undead babysitting roams about inside the house. Taking her under his helm, Lee does everything he can to protect the little girl. Their bond grows significantly as the game progresses, making Lee appear to be her adopted father. 

The game puts you up against some really tough choices. Who will live and who will die? Do we cut his arm off or not? The game draws to a heartbreaking conclusion when Lee is bitten by a zombie whilst searching for the kidnapped Clem. Clem is left at the end with the saddest decision in the whole game (in my opinion) - does she shoot Lee, or leave him to turn into one of the walking dead? There must have been someone cutting onions nearby when I was playing the last episode for the first time, as my eyes couldn't stop running! 

Honourable Mention

400 Days - This brief chapter offers only a quick glimpse into some survivors that Clementine runs into in The Walking Dead, Season 2. It doesn't hang around long enough to really explore each of these characters in depth, but as a fan waiting for Season 2 to come out at the time, it was a nice treat to return to the series briefly.

Playing Next
I played through Episode 1 of The Walking Dead - Michonne upon its release on the 23rd February. Michonne is one of my favourite characters from The Walking Dead comics/TV show, so I'm looking forward to exploring more of her story when Episode 2 and 3 come out. I also picked up Minecraft: Story Edition for cheap, so I shall be working through both of these! 

I also never finished 'Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People', so I intend to get through that at some point.

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