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    jp's The Walking Dead: Episode 1 (PS3)

    [December 10, 2012 05:49:53 PM]
    It seems kind of strange for me to have two separate entries for a game I played and finished in one (not so long) sitting.... I guess that's a good thing!

    As I was playing this game the first thing that popped into my mind was how similar it is to Heavy Rain (a game I really enjoyed). This game is the low-budget version of Heavy Rain, and I mean that in a VERY positive way. So, what happens when you have less budget?

    (1) The visuals take a hit - but clever teams choose an aesthetic that works well. In this case, the characters are rendered like cell-shaded caricatures. They're really interesting to look at, colorful, and compelling in their own unique way.

    (2) The complexity of the non-linear narrative is much less. It doesn't take much for a non-linear narrative to explode in complexity, so it may seem like TWD:Ep1 has gone too far towards simple. It may have, but it's still worked in some interesting aspects - especially with how different characters will react to you based on past interactions. The "major" branching events are much simpler. There are a few occasions where you must choose between A or B (save A or B character). I was curious as to whether I should play it again (choosing B instead of A) just to see what changed - a quick read on gamefaqs set me straight, the characters are mostly interchangeable, they'll say pretty much the same thing (e.g. Why did you save me and not the other character?), and thus aren't that meaningful in the big picture sense of the word. Now, this may change in the later episodes (saving B might have changed things a lot in the future?), but so far it all seems pretty inconsequential. That's not a bad thing - it's mostly recognizing the fact that this isn't a huge production.

    (3) Fewer interactions. In Heavy Rain there's lots of little things you can mess around with just for the sake of interacting with the world (and creating empathy, understanding it, bla bla bla). If you don't have the budget (extra programming, animation, etc.), you cut the non-essentials. In this game I spent a fair amount of time trying to "find everything" - but there wasn't that much to do. It's probably a good thing too, since it kept things moving along decently.

    So, I'm actually REALLY interested in the other episodes...
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    [November 23, 2012 12:58:44 PM]
    The PSN membership is not a bad deal. You get a bunch of free games - many of the games you wanted to play but wouldn't have otherwise bought. At least that's been my experience so far...(and I still have 230 days or so left in my yearly sub).

    The Walking Dead (Episode 1) is one of those. I've been reading the comic for years (years before the TV show even), have enjoyed the tv show, and I'd heard great things about the game. So, last night I booted it up hoping that 3 hrs would be enough to get me through about half the game, or at least a significant chunk of it. I finished it. The whole thing.

    It's a good game, and I really enjoyed it. But as I sat on the couch I was somewhat bewildered. First, I was surprised by how short it was. That isn't a bad thing, but I was surprised in terms of the (presumed) price. Part of me was thinking, wow, I hope this game didn't cost $20, what a rip off. And then, almost at the same time, I started to wonder what the hell was wrong with me. I have no idea how much it actually costs (and Sony's PSN website is pathetic, you can't buy the games nor see how much they cost - trying to buy links to a PSN card on Amazon!), but I guess I should find out.

    Anyways, in the back of my mind I was going, that's not bad value if it was a $2 app on itunes (it's actually a $5 app, I just checked). But for 3 hrs of entertainment? Here's the strangest thing - I'm happy to pay $12 (or so) for the trade paperbacks when they come out, and I think it takes me less time to read those. So, why the shock?! Shouldn't I think that paying $12 for a paperback I read in less than 3 hours is also a rip-off?

    It's no news that videogame pricing (and what is a perceived fair price) is in flux. It easy to get used to different price points for different platforms and overall experiences (e.g. $1,00 for 1 minute of playtime in an arcade is fine, no?), but when the same game starts to appear everywhere - it all sort of collides. Or at least it did so in my head last night.

    The biggest surprise came a few minutes later - when I tried to play the 2nd episode I got a message saying that it was "coming soon". Apparently it's been out for MONTHS (on PSN even...). What a trainwreck...

    (the game's pretty good, but more on that later)
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    jp's The Walking Dead: Episode 1 (PS3)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Thursday 22 November, 2012

    GameLog closed on: Monday 10 December, 2012

    jp's opinion and rating for this game

    Really enjoyed it, and looking forward to the rest.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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