Title: The Walking Dead
Developer: Telltale Games
Available On: Nintendo Switch
Version Tested: Switch
Official Site: Skybound
Release Date: Jan 21st, 2020
Where To Buy: Nintendo eShop, Any store outside with games
The Walking Dead brings some of the best storytelling in gaming from the last decade to the Nintendo Switch. Find out why this might worth a trip to the ol’ Eshop.
You get all of the characters that you love and hate, along with all of the achievements and some issues that the series brought.
The battery life here on a handheld is pretty good, lasting well over 4 hours on the revised Switch. I almost wondered if my console joined the undead at times with how long it kept playing the titles. Let’s not have you wondering anymore and give you the rundown of what to expect here.
The Gang’s (mostly) All Here
Playing the earlier seasons on the Switch didn’t have the stuttering and framerate drops that were there originally. In fact, season one and two looked better than they have in other iterations.
Then I get to The Final Season, and it carries some serious framerate drops and load times that I don’t remember being that bad in the PS4 version. Usually, I would say these don’t detract from the experience, but I was taken out of some pivotal moments from reported issues.
The game also lacks touchscreen support, which boggles the mind considering, even the Vita version had this support. It’s even more confusing since the Telltale Batman game on the console supports this feature. Luckily, the quality story remains intact.
Season one is a masterpiece with head-scratching puzzles, tense choices, and an unforgettable story. There’s not one character hear you won’t feel strongly about one way or another. You play as Lee Everett, a man with a troubled past trying to raise a young girl named Clementine while trying to keep his group alive another day.
The 400 Days DLC is some excellent content that tells short, exciting tales of characters that will play the next season. This narrative is experimental in the way it tells the non-linear story but also has some mechanics that haven’t appeared since.
Season two makes for an excellent follow-up and is more of what I loved from the first entry. This features an excellent story continuing Clem’s journey from the original and adding some twists that’ll make a 90’s straw jealous.
The New Frontier is the weakest entry by far. While this is still good, it feels so disconnected from the series. The level of writing for the characters and story writing is inconsistent at best. You’ll play as Javi, a disgraced baseball player whose family drama still follows him to the end of the world.
My biggest gripe with this entry is how it feels like your a passenger rather than a driver. People’s responses to Javi can come off; they are having a different convo or puzzlingly go from 0 to 100 in an instant.
Guys with crazy spouses can relate when they say “you look great” and get the classic response of “go tell that to your other women.” That same what-just-happened reaction is also one you’ll often make here when a character’s response doesn’t line up with the chosen dialogue.
The Last Ride
The Final Season on Nintendo Switch has some significant issues that yank you out of the experience. You are now a part of a camp of kids fighting off the dead as well as the living. Long load times that can occur major in-between scenes to framerate slowdowns at moments that’ll make you think you’re in The Matrix.
There’s even a weird bug where a character is doing a serious monologue with one eye closed. This had me wondering if they got injured in the previous battle. Then, it became clear this was not intentional when they randomly opened both to have Steve Buscemi’s Crazy Eyes look.
I am aware of the turbulence from the final season’s development, but after a year, some of the issues should have been fixed in the Switch release. Another problem encountered in the last two entries is the move from the classic adventure style. The brain-teasing puzzles are either gone reduced to the point of redundancy, making for less a varied experience.
One of the best aspects of this series is how your choices carry weight from season to season. Anytime a “(insert name) will remember this” pops up, that anxiety will take you over for the rest of the playthrough, wondering when that will come back to bite you.
Sometimes there is no right choice, and you have to pick what is best for you or your group. That’s what great about these as they subvert the whole good and bad morale system to give you something much more rewarding. It feels more dynamic than it actually is, but that only shows how well-crafted these Telltale titles are.
The music here is somber; you feel the heaviness of each scene when those strings start playing. The score is fantastic every season, rivaling anything seen on the big screen. “Alive Inside” is basically synonymous with the series; anytime it plays, you know you’re in for a “feel trip”.
I Can’t Quit You
Verdict: This series is on virtually every platform, so this recommendation comes with some catches for the Nintendo Switch. If you’ve never played the Walking Dead games, the handheld/docked mode makes this a good buy. Docked looks great on the big screen, and if you don’t care about the portability, then it might be better to get other versions of these games.
These games are technically not released as a single collection on the Switch. So, let’s go individually a rate them game by game. The Walking Dead Season 1 is a 5/5. Season 2 is a 5/5, A New Frontier gets a 3/5 and The Final Season receives a 4/5.
Season’s 1 and 2 are must-buys on the Switch since they are possibly the best-looking versions on any console and run well. A New Frontier runs decently, but The Final Season has longer load times and glaring performance issues that sadly held this down from a higher score.
Regardless, these games are a great time to play in a group or solo and definitely make a great addition to any Switch library. The phenomenal story, great score, and engaging gameplay make for a combination that’ll keep any player hooked.
- Excellent Story
- Great score
- Rewarding choice system
- No touchscreen support
- Later titles have annoying bugs and framerate drops