TellTale Binge

Here in Southern California, we’re in the middle of a heatwave. Triple digits for the last few days, and from forecasts I’ve seen, that’s to continue until the weekend. The house I’m in doesn’t have central air, so the swamp cooler does what it can, but it’s really not enough. My computer is suffering as much as I am, as it’s only air cooled (no fancy water cooling system), and as a result I was reaching almost-critical limits just idling. As a result, I’m not really able to game on my computer until it’s late enough to cool off a bit. I mean it’s 9 p.m. at night and it’s barely dropped below 90 degrees outside.

So I’ve been staying away from the computer mostly. This has given me the ability to catch up on my PS3 backlog (which is actually worse than my PC backlog). I have too many games that I’ve started but not finished, and others not even touched that I picked up during sales. Back in April there was a flash sale on PSN in which I netted several games for $1 each, and there were three TellTale titles on that list. You all know I’m a fan of the company, you can read up on my play-thrus of The Wolf Among Us and The Walking Dead over here if you missed those. The titles I got on sale were the Tales From Monkey Island, Back to the Future: The Game and Jurassic Park: The Game. I’m the type of person who will typically go through games in a chronological order if I can help it (and I just listed them in the proper order), so of course I started with Monkey Island.

Here’s the twist: I actually started playing this one back in April. I was used to the newer format of TellTale games, being sort of “on-rails” and having QTE’s and “important” decisions to make. Monkey Island is nothing like that. I mean, yes, you control your character in a similar way and there are dialogue choices, but it’s more adventure game than interactive story. I’m going to also put myself out there by saying that I am not a fan of the IP. I never played any of the “classic” Monkey Island games, I’m not overly obsessed with pirates, and really I just don’t care for the storyline. I was also in the frame of mind that these games would be “easy plats,” in that they would be walk-in-the-park games to pad my trophy level, so I figured I could overlook the things I didn’t like just to say I played them. Turns out none of the games have a Platinum trophy, and all have missable ones. With Monkey Island, there was just too much about it that I didn’t like, so it was uninstalled and I moved on.

Picking back up in the present, I started playing Back to the Future. Going into it knowing the differences between it and modern TellTale games actually helped. I knew I’d probably miss trophies, and I knew it wouldn’t play exactly how I’d expect. I didn’t care. And I was pleasantly surprised. I’m not going to say that the Back to the Future movies changed my life, but I have seen them all and they were rather enjoyable. The game is basically a mixture of all the tropes from the movies, and the constant back and forth between time eras is rather entertaining. There aren’t QTE’s but the puzzles are easier to figure out especially because when you get stuck there is a hint system to help you out. Parts were annoying, just because if you do something wrong you have to watch full animations and dialogue to get back to where you can try again. However, the overall appeal of the game wasn’t lost, annoyance aside. There aren’t any major choices to make, just puzzles to solve so this is more adventure game as well, but probably the first I’d consider to be part of the “new crowd” of TellTale games. You can see the development process evolving between Monkey Island and this game. I’d recommend BTTF to Walking Dead/Wolf Among Us fans. They should be able to stomach it. The ending was a kicker too, and you’d think there would have been a second season, but it seems they didn’t really do that much before Walking Dead, aside from the Sam and Max series.

I started playing Jurassic Park today. The further evolution of TellTale’s style is on full display, sort of bridging the gap between this game and The Walking Dead (they’re only separated by a few months). In Jurassic Park, you aren’t in control of only one character, you take turns playing as many. It’s still on rails and you don’t get much choice as to what happens, but you sometimes play the bad guy, the hero, his daughter, some mercs, and probably more I haven’t seen yet. Also, instead of being able to freely move around areas, they introduced a system where you press a button to show options for different places you can go, and then you automatically move there. This is also how you switch between characters who are in separate spots. QTE’s are in full force in this one, and it seems to be a bit on the overkill side, because some are ridiculous, and with the way the game moves from scene to scene, sometimes input lag will fuck you. It seems that some trophies are based on being able to get through these flawlessly, along with making it through whole episodes without dying. Needless to say, I have missed trophies. Still, I like having the QTE’s as it adds to the tension, whereas the previous games were kind of boring at times. The storyline feels a lot like the story from the original movie, though Hammond (the old dude with the hat/beard) is already long gone (at least to the point I’m at) and you don’t see any other main characters from the movie. It does split away from the movie timeline rather quickly, I just thought it was odd that they chose to use that. I’m guessing it means that it’s all happening at the same time as the movie’s story. I’m ready to start the 3rd episode (of 4), so I’ll probably finish the game up by tomorrow.

Overall, The Walking Dead is still my favorite game from the studio, with The Wolf Among Us a close second. Still, if you happen to catch these other titles on sale, they’re worth the few hours of enjoyment. Besides Monkey Island. Unless you’re into that sort of thing. I’ve been prodded by J3w3l that I’m supposed to be playing Sam & Max, but as it’s older and an IP that I have no interest in, I’m guessing I wouldn’t be into it. Next stop, Tales From the Borderlands and Game of Thrones: Iron From Ice.

#telltale #jurassicpark #backtothefuture