The Walking Dead (TWD) is a multimedia phenomenon that's taken the worlds of comics, television, and video games by storm. The series wrapped up its ninth season in 2019, and there have been hundreds of issues in the comic line. That's a lot of storytelling, but one particular medium stands above the rest, and it might surprise you to learn it's a video game series by Telltale.
The choose-your-own-adventure style game is unique in the TWD universe, and it offers some of the most compelling storytelling of the entire series. There are a lot of reasons why the game is better than the show, and that's only becoming more apparent as new Walking Dead annoyances rear their heads. The show is a long way from its heyday, with Season 9 premiering to record-low ratings. There are tons of bad decisions from Walking Dead characters, and the survivors seem to be stuck in an endless loop of fighting off the same types of villains.
The game, on the other hand, is widely considered to be a masterpiece of its genre, praised by critics and gamers alike. Breaking down its nuances proves The Walking Dead by Telltale Games is the best version of The Walking Dead, period.
Unlike the show and comics, Telltale's TWD is a fully immersive experience that puts you in the driver's seat. The game is built around all the different decisions you can make, and major narrative choices are up to the player. Your decisions influence who lives and who perishes, and it really feels like you're under pressure to make the right choices. The characters in the show make these choices for you, and sometimes those decisions just don't make any sense.
In the show, it's easy to forget most of the cast is supposed to be from the South. That's not the case with the video game, as the environment plays a major role in the storytelling. The Telltale series is aware of the characters' backstories and relationships to the setting, and it uses the Georgia landscape as a canvas to tell powerful stories.
Even fans of the show can admit that TWD could use some help in the pacing department. Story arcs stuck to one location can go on for seasons, and filler episodes are as epidemic and mind-numbing as the zombie virus. The show should take a hint from the Telltale series, which never stays in one place.
There is always pressure to keep moving, and your journey takes you throughout Georgia and other parts of the South. While the show characters are often chatting idly while they wait for the action to come, the player gets to dictate the conversations without stopping the plot in its tracks.
Dumb kids can bring down any series, and TWD's Carl is no exception. Whether he's getting himself shot or bumbling directly into Negan's camp, plenty of fans have pointed to some of his decisions as objectively stupid. This is in huge contrast to Clementine, who is widely regarded as a rare example of a well-written kid character. Even as Telltale was forced to close its doors, the people behind the scenes knew fans needed to have a satisfying ending to Clementine's story. She is that important of a character, and it's not hard to see why.
Clementine is both capable and naive, mature but friendly, and always evolving. Her story is the heart of the game, and players can't help but care for her.