The Walking Dead, PlayStation Euphoria’s Best PSN Game of 2012, has hit the Vita and overall, TellTale Games has succeeded in bringing this story focused title to the portable platform but there are a few disappointments such as the game engine freezing between segments of the story and the lack of a cross save feature.
NOTE: This review will be focused on the Vita’s port of The Walking Dead. To find out more about the game, please refer to the PlayStation 3 reviews of The Walking Dead and The Walking Dead: 400 Days.
Firstly, TellTale Games in this package will be including all five episodes of The Walking Dead and The Walking Dead DLC, 400 Days for the price of $19.99 which is a fantastic deal for those who have never played The Walking Dead. The main game will take you around 10-12 hours to complete with one extra hour provided within 400 Days which is a bargain for $19.99. As well as the long period of gameplay, there is so much replay value within the complex multiple path storyline and the new touch screen controls, The Walking Dead is worth getting for that price point.
Keep in mind, on the other hand, that the TellTale Games does not have the PS3 gamer in mind when it comes to the Vita port. As of right now, The Walking Dead does not feature a cross save function and while I would usually omit this fact, The Walking Dead truly suffers because of the game’s gripping story driven nature. With The Walking Dead you will not want to put it down and with cross-save, the Vita version could have fulfilled these wishes. With the recent release of The Walking Dead: 400 Days, I was hoping to continue my current save from the PS3 but sadly, you cannot do this on the Vita so if you wanted to purchase this version because it already has 400 Days within it, you are out of luck. While this could be altered in a future patch, it truly is disappointing to not have this feature implemented. The positive, however, is that trophy loving players of The Walking Dead can be rewarded a second time for another play through while experiencing the new touch controls.
Speaking of touch, The Walking Dead with the Vita’s OLED touch screen works perfectly and controls more intuitively than it’s PlayStation 3 counterpart. You can touch with analyzing every object which has a highlighted circle, moving the camera around and choosing what response you want Lee to say. This game was made for a touch screen as The Walking Dead is a point and click adventure and in my opinion, the new control scheme on the Vita version is better than it’s console counterpart. In addition to that, touching/swiping the screen in quick time events feel much more natural and extend the sense of interactivity within The Walking Dead. Also, it is much more intuative to use the touch screen when analyzing specific objects within the map. Rather than walking up to a specific point and then selecting it with the right analog stick and x, all you have to do is touch the marker on screen and Lee walks up to it. The only issue I have with the touch screen controls is the rare occurrence of the touch screen camera becoming somewhat unresponsive in tight areas. With so little space, it is hard to move your finger around the screen and get an accurate look at the area. If you’re not a fan of touch, you can also choose the style of control seen in console gaming as well but other than a few camera issues, I would recommend playing through The Walking Dead with touch screen controls as it adds so much to the initial experience.
While The Walking Dead isn’t as graphics intensive as other PlayStation Vita games such as Gravity Rush or Uncharted: Golden Abyss, the original cel-shaded look from the PS3 version still shrines through. The wrinkles on every character’s face, the facial expressions and the dark world around them still is impressive for an independent studio like TellTale Games. Just like the PS3 version, however, there have been a few hang ups when the game loads. In particular cutscenes, the game freezes for five seconds before the action ensues and much like before, this freezing sections really divert the tension away from the player.
Overall, The Walking Dead is a must have for the PlayStation Vita with it’s new intuitive touch controls, splendid value proposition and PS3 level graphics but it is disappointing to not see cross-save or fixes for the technical hiccups being added.