Telltale Games had been around for quite some time before it deployed the first instalment in its episodic The Walking Dead tie-in way back in 2012. The Californian company had previously enjoyed varying levels of success with its Sam & Max series, but was still looking for a smash hit at the time. That changed when it introduced the world to the tale of Lee Everett and his adorable sidekick Clementine. The game – a series of five heart wrenching episodes, and a further sixth add-on – would go on to win a plethora of awards, including a bevy of Game of the Year gongs.
And that’s seen the title release on pretty much every system aside from the Wii U – it even has an Ouya outing – with the PlayStation 4 the latest platform in the title’s ever increasing portfolio. Given that the game has never been a particularly smooth performer, many hoped that the transition to next-gen hardware would finally allow the developer to wring out any remaining bugs and technical issues – but such desires have only been partially fulfilled.
We’ll begin with the most common complaint: frame rate issues. While the title’s dialogue heavy scenarios don’t necessarily demand a steady refresh rate, frequent bouts of slowdown have detracted from previous versions – and, fortunately, they’re less pronounced here. This is a welcome enhancement – especially seeing as the lighting appears to have been pushed a little harder, too, improving the title’s overall visual style.
Unfortunately, old problems persist. For example, there are still a number of typos present in dialogue trees, suggesting that the studio hasn’t even bothered to delve into the source code and clean these minor mishaps up. Worse still, lip sync issues are irritatingly present across all of the included episodes – even in the added 400 Days expansion, though it seems less frequent there. The characters still convey plenty of emotion, but these technical shortcomings can obstruct the impact at times.
In core content terms, though, this is the same heartbreaking adventure that you may or may not have experienced before. For those who’ve spent the past couple of years braving a zombie apocalypse, the title focuses more on the relationship between survivors, rather than encounters with the undead. If you’ve never played the game before, it’s well worth experiencing – and with no word on a save import feature for Season Three, the existing fans among you may yet have to work through it again anyway, if you want to convert your progress to the PS4.
The PS4 version of The Walking Dead brings absolutely nothing new to the table other than the fact that it’s now playable on Sony’s shiny new console. There are fewer performance problems, but this isn’t quite the overhaul that we were hoping for. That said, if you’re still yet to experience Lee and Clem’s escapade, this is the best version yet. And if you’re already familiar with Telltale Games’ post-apocalyptic journey, then ultimately you’ll have to decide whether it's worth the double dip.