Review: The Walking Dead (Playstation Vita)

Let’s get something out of the way, right away.  The Walking Dead: The Game on the Playstation Vita is just that.  Nothing of major consequence has been changed – the story is the same, the visuals are the same, the gameplay (in general) hasn’t changed.  It’s the same game that you know and (more than likely) love.  Now it’s on the Playstation Vita, which allows you to take it pretty much everywhere.  So be prepared to explain to everyone else that a game is making you sob uncontrollably on the bus and that you were so into it that your stop was three stops ago.

That being said, if you’ve already played the game on the PC, Xbox 360 or Playstation 3, I can’t see too much of a reason for you to pick this one up again.  Unless you’re looking to score some more trophies, in which case there’s a new set of trophies for an easy platinum, or if you’re just looking for more games for your Playstation Vita.  Or unless you’re a fan and simply must own every version available.  If you’re none of those things and this is honestly your first time picking up The Walking Dead and you happen to have just picked up a Playstation Vita, then absolutely pick it up or are looking to pick up a Vita so you’ll be prepared for all of the awesome things it has coming up, then the bundle would be a good buy too.  The game itself, which includes the 400 Days DLC is a pretty good bang for your buck.

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The Vita edition of the game has a new take on the controls.  You can choose from the more traditional console controls to a bit of a mashup of the much maligned iOS version.  The game can be played through touchscreen alone, by dragging your finger across the screen to move and flicking left and right to move, and tapping to interact with objects.  It’s much like The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass and that other one that I didn’t care enough for to remember.  The Legend of Zelda…Pan Flute?  Whatever.

If more than one option is available, the different options will be displayed at the bottom of the screen.  Touch one of the options to perform the action.  So let’s say you want to give Clementine a candy bar.  You tap on the indicator near her and then the ‘give candy bar’ option at the bottom of the screen.  Easy, right?  Well in touch screen mode, everything is sped up.  You need to do things quickly and make your dialogue choices speedy.  If you’re not a fan of the touch screen mode and prefer to go a more traditional route, you can switch between the control schemes in the main menu.  Unfortunately this means that you will have to exit the game you’re playing and head to the main menu, switch the controls, and then go back to your save file.

Now for more bad news.  I wish I could say that this was the definitive version of the game – the version to own above all others.  After all this time, it should have been perfect, right?  Well, it pains me to say that it is not.  And since I absolutely love this game, this is incredibly painful.  The Vita version suffers from some pretty serious lag before and after cutscenes and during busy moments in the game.  Now that’s not so bad, until you take into account how often the game breaks away for a cutscene.  The lag wasn’t very noticeable at first, but the more I played it, the more apparent it was.  If you’re expecting something to happen and flicking your finger around to look at a certain thing and it’s not happening?  Not good.  I tried restarting the game completely to see if this would diminish the lag, but to no avail.  I did find, oddly enough, that the lag was reduced a little bit when I used the traditional control scheme.  However, that could just be some wishful thinking there.

The swipe to look that I had mentioned before could use a little tweaking as well.  I would often wind up missing my target when swiping to look and then having to swipe back the other way, missing the target again.  There doesn’t seem to be an option to adjust the sensitivity of the swipes, and when you’re in a frantic  who do I save?! moment, gentle swipes just don’t happen.

I absolutely love The Walking Dead, and these issues are some unfortunate disappointments.  However, they’re not deal breakers.  As I had said before, the game is still the same The Walking Dead that you’ve grown to love.  If an update or patch is provided to fix the lag and the overenthusiastic head turning, the game would be pretty much perfect.

7/10

               
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