There’s already been a Telltale’s The Walking Dead collection, and every series has already had at least one physical release. But this is the definitive series.
If you don’t already own any series of The Walking Dead, then The Walking Dead: The Telltale Definitive Series is undoubtedly your best choice. In one package, it contains all four seasons of the game, along with the 400 Days DLC and the Michonne miniseries. Packed with numerous bonus features and a striking new visual style to boot, it truly is definitive.
Called “Graphic Black”, every series of the The Walking Dead has been enhanced with a new visual style. It’s designed to make the action look even more like a traditional comic book; there’s more contrast between dark and light, with blacks being darker than ever. It’s quite a stark change from what you’re used to. It took me a little while to adjust to Graphic Black, but it’s hard to go back once you’re used to it. Thankfully, it can be toggled on and off at any time in the game’s options.
The expansive extra features are a nice touch, too. There’s a character gallery that lets you browse through every character to feature throughout every season. You can pose them and hear them say various lines of dialogue. A number of behind-the-scenes videos will give you a glimpse into the making of the games. There’s also a music player, featuring over 140 tracks from across the seasons, and an art gallery, allowing you to gander at concept art from each season. As to be expected, there’s some really stunning pieces of work in there.
Apart from their unique style of storytelling, there was one other thing that Telltale games have always been synonymous with: jankiness. From framerate drops to poorly synced quick time events, every single release has had its fair share of annoying bugs and issues. With numerous gameplay improvements, The Walking Dead: The Telltale Definitive Series has tried to eradicate that. And… for the most part, it has. But it’s still not free of some signature Telltale issues.
Framerate issues and stuttering have largely been eradicated. Playing through each season of The Walking Dead is an altogether more pleasant experience thanks to how smooth it is. Cutscenes transition flawlessly and quick time events are much easier to take control due to how responsive the game is. I’ve encountered a few hiccups, however: occasional instances of framerate drop have stood out even more considering the majority of the game is so smooth. And while playing on Xbox One X, during episode three of season two, the visuals completely failed to load. Audio and on-screen prompts were there, but set against a black screen. On two different consoles, we got the same result.
This is a pretty serious bug, as it deems that episode unplayable from that point forward. I somehow managed to get through a quick time event without seeing a thing, in the hope that a scene change would bring the game back to life, but no luck. We checked the PC version, and can confirm it’s not present there, so we can only hope it’s quickly patched out on the Xbox One version.
That glaring issue aside though, it’s business as usual in terms of gameplay in The Walking Dead: The Telltale Definitive Series. If you’ve played even one episode of the series before, you know exactly what to expect: interactive storytelling through and through. Other than those performance tweaks and the new visual style, each game is exactly how it was the first time you played it. Handily, you can jump into any season and any episode; so if you’ve played before you can just relive your favourite chapters, if you’d rather.
Of course, playing through from start to finish is how The Walking Dead: The Telltale Definitive Series wants you to experience it. This is Clementine’s story in one complete package; from the first season, when she’s a scared little girl taken under Lee’s wing, all the way through to the final season, when she’s a fierce warrior with a group of her own to protect. Especially considering the uncertainty of existing Telltale properties following last year’s collapse of the company, it’s a real treat to be able to experience it all over again.
If you’re an achievement hunter though, you’ll be disappointed to know that the entire collection only has 1,000 points on Xbox. It’s a stark contrast to the Walking Dead Collection, which had 4,000 – a full 1,000 points for each game included in the collection. Here, each game has a measly 200.
But it’s hardly a deal-breaker. Assuming those few bugs get ironed out, The Walking Dead: The Telltale Definitive Series is without a doubt the best way to play and own these now-classic games. The visual and performance improvements are clear to see, and even if you’ve played the games to death, the special features alone make the collection a tempting purchase.