The Walking Dead (PlayStation Vita)
Developer/Publisher: Telltale Games
Released: August 20th, 2013
Telltale Games have been a staple of adventure game fans for quite some time, but they took the entire industry by storm with their release of The Walking Dead in 2012. There were plenty of naysayers leading up to it as well.
“No one plays adventure games anymore!” they cried. “It’s just a downloadable game, and a licensed one at that!”
None of that mattered, as it collected one Game of the Year award after another.
Since then, the game has found its way to a wide variety of platforms, culminating in a PlayStation Vita release. We already know that the core experience has the chops, but how does it hold up on Sony’s portable?
Right off the bat, players will be pleased to know that one price gets them all five episodes, as well as the 400 Days DLC — you can find that review here. PlayStation Trophy aficionados can further justify the $20 price point, as it includes a separate (but identical) Trophy list from the PS3 release, and replaying it on Vita will net them another easy Platinum.
From there you’re presented with the option to control the game via the buttons or the front touchscreen, as you would on the iOS version. If you played one of the console versions prior to playing on Vita, you’ll likely be more comfortable with the buttons, but touch control is adequate as well; I opted for the buttons.
On a technical level, the transition from console to handheld is a bit checkered. Aside from some noticeably downgraded environmental textures, the cel-shaded visuals look true to the original release. However, there are unwieldy loading issues throughout all but the 400 Days chapter, which seems to have been better optimized than the rest. Going from gameplay to cutscene almost always leads to a jarring pause in-between, sometimes making you wonder if your system has locked up. It never got to that point, thankfully, but it’s definitely enough to pull you out of a moment.
Everything else, though, is intact. If you’re able to hold it together between the stilted loading issues, you’re still presented with one of the most emotionally affecting stories ever put into a video game, with masterful voice acting to match. Even the most tangentially involved characters are well-developed, and seemingly minute interactions and decisions can have a major impact on the story later on.
Still, out of all of the available renditions of The Walking Dead, the Vita version is far from the best way to experience it. It does fine in a pinch, where perhaps you don’t own any of the other machines that it’s available on, or you really want to take it with you on the go. Otherwise, do yourself a favor and opt for the home version.