It’s still a little surreal to think that not only did Telltale’s The Walking Dead reach the finishing line following the infamous closure of the studio, but that it also received the ending it deserved with a beautiful farewell. Clem’s story is over, but that doesn’t mean her previous adventures can’t still entertain.
The Walking Dead: The Telltale Definitive Series aims to be the complete compendium of all things The Walking Dead, it coming with every piece of content from the series as well as some really quite excellent extras. Though Skybound may want to recoup some of their money from the acquisition, this is anything but a cash grab.
All of the seasons have been brought more in-line with the art style of The Final Season, a lovely, dark comic book look inspired by the comics themselves making the now aged first season seem brand new. This, in combination with the animations from The Walking Dead Collection, help Lee’s apocalypse become even more vivid, and, I’m not ashamed to say, affecting. It’s been seven years, yet it still doesn’t fail to punch you square in the gut.
Even the more recent A New Frontier looks like a new game, some of the strange shininess of the season’s character models being smoothed out to make for a far more noir experience. While perhaps the weakest season overall (I jump between it and Season 2 in my estimations, which was rather lightweight until its final episode), A New Frontier’s fresh lick of paint earns it a second chance. Javier is a great protagonist, but the fact that he’s just not Clementine (and has kind of an annoying family) might have soured some unfairly on him.
The extras bundled with the Definitive Series are what most Telltale fanatics will likely come for, especially as the aforementioned The Walking Dead Collection will already be in the library of those who pre-ordered The Final Season. They’re a love letter to not only the fans, but also those who made the games, even in the toughest times.
Most eyes will probably be drawn to the documentary revolving around the franchise’s resurrection, which includes input from Robert Kirkman, The Walking Dead’s creator, as well as Melissa Hutchison and a bunch of people who have the series close to their heart. There’s a moving juxtaposition at to be found in the doc: one of the driving forces behind the series is almost close to tears as he recollects how Telltale’s end came so abruptly with Hutchison then being overcome with joy and relief as she realises it’s received the ending it deserved.
Another highlight of the extras is the ability to play around with pretty much every character in the series in a model viewer and make them say lines while doing animations. I personally enjoyed making AJ burp while holding a gun, but I also couldn’t resist making Ben scream at Kenny before switching to him dead at the bottom of the clock tower. We all have our vices.
Concept art and a music player are additionally included in the package, the former offering some insight into the creative process (and how much some changed from their initial designs) with the latter giving you some time for reflection and maybe a bit of a melodic cry. All of the extras when combined with every single piece of The Walking Dead (even Michonne and 400 Days) amount to one really complete package for fans.
Unfortunately, it seems that I am a bit of an outlier with a pretty serious bug which renders Season 2 unplayable on my PS4 Pro. I go to select it from the main menu and just get greeted by an eternal back screen, hence why I haven’t been able to put together a review just yet. Judging from what I’ve been told, the issue is pretty much confined to just me, so I will be uninstalling and reinstalling to see if it persists and reporting back. Failing that, I will update this when/if it gets patched.
There are other, less critical issues with The Telltale Definitive Series, though I am again not sure if they are reserved to just me. Some audio lines have a weird habit of repeating, and character models tend to miss some frames and have an odd skipping effect outside of conversations. Twitching heads are also commonplace, making it eerily look like the old aesthetic is trying to force its way out of the new. A patch was deployed on launch day, so these small things might have been tidied up.
Though its appeal might be lessened by The Walking Dead Collection already being owned by many fans, the extra flourishes will be what make this catalogue of heartbreaks an essential for collectors and true devotees. I’ll miss you, The Walking Dead.