At one time, point and click adventure games were all the crazy. However, somewhere along the way they just seemed to take a backseat to more action heavy title before fading out of the limelight all together. That is until a resurgence, frontlined by Telltales catalogue of almost 30 titles, came rushing back to claim their place by showing a new generation that there is so much value in a good story. Let’s take a look at some of the best titles that helped Telltale near monopolize the genre.
5. Game of Thrones
Out of the modern TT games, this one is the most flawed but it is still worthy of a playthrough if you are a Thrones fan (and you should be). Known for storytelling where you get to dictate the path your adventure takes, TT dropped the ball with GoT. Your choices initially feel meaningful but ultimately lead to the same linear path you were always destined to take. That doesn’t mean that it is not worthy of your time though. The story itself is the exact tone you’d expect from reading/watching George R.R. Martin’s work. It is brutal, conniving, and downright malicious. This game, if anything, proves Telltale can take any franchise and tell a great story. It doesn’t hurt when you make one of your main antagonists one of the most hated people on the show, Ramsay Bolton. With some tweaks in regards to some major cell shading issues throughout the game and having your choices mean more than they do, GoT Season 2 could be a contender for best TT game in the near future.
4. The Walking Dead – Season 2
Much like GoT, Walking Dead Season 2 suffers from following a linear path but it’s definitely not as noticeable. That’s because if you are emotionally invested in the main character some of the choices you do have to make are devastating. They will heavily mould her into the person you want her to become. Based on your presumed playthrough of TWD S1 (because why would you skip a whole season?), you’ll be inclined to treat her like an adult because as you’d know, she’s been through some stuff! This is the first time I’ve ever come across a media outlet that had no qualms about showing violence towards children. It’s nothing that’s truly heartbreaking though because of the setting in which you will be playing in. Danger in the form of violence from walkers and humans alike are plentiful but often random, inconsequential to the overarching story. This game does take some steps back from the first season with storytelling and some unlikeable companions but makes up for it in great voice acting and some quality action scenes.
3. The Walking Dead – Season 1
In my eyes, this title was the beginning of Telltales rise to fame in storytelling. There were a lot of titles prior to this but none more compelling and brutal. The story is told exceptionally from front to back. It took our love of some characters we know from the show and gave them even more of a backstory and it brought forth some of the most heart-wrenching feels I have ever experienced in my gaming career (yes, I consider it a job sometimes). While the QTE in TWD S1 can be considered bland and uninspired today, at the time of its release they were easily the best in the genre, bar none. It was quick paced, somewhat unforgiving, and incredibly detailed. The father/daughter-like dynamic of the main protagonists is filled with incredibly tender and devastatingly gut wrenching moments, rivaled only by The Last of Us. The graphics still hold up well (the beauty of cell shading), and the voice acting was top notch. TT will unlikely be able to top the level of emotion they put forth here but I wish them luck if they try. I’d love to be able to experience this type of emotion in gaming again.
2. The Wolf Among Us
Here’s another title that shows TT can take ANY franchise and make it playable and awesome. Prior to this game, my knowledge of the Fables comics was very scarce. Playing through TWAU took my childhood memories of fairy tales and smeared them with gore, death, adultery, and everything in between. From seeing notable characters like Snow White beheaded, Beauty working as a teller for prostitution, and one of the little pigs as a full out degenerate, TWAU grabbed hold of my life for 10 awesome hours and never let go. It was an amazing ride that continued to intrigue and inspire throughout, constantly refreshing my memories of innocent and perfect beings from my past and truly humanizing them to the rigors of what I assume is everyday life for criminals and degenerates. It also took the scariest fable from my childhood and brought it to life to successfully haunt my dreams once more. Bloody Mary in her true form is the best character model TT has ever created, even to this day. Using a notably bad character from the fairy tales as your likeable playable character was a stroke of genius. It allowed your ability to make decisions feel more broad, yet accurate, as you could truly play the character as you see him, good or bad. TWAU is a treasured game in my catalogue that will always hold a special place in my memory. Great story, great QTE, and excellent voice acting, if you let this one pass you by, you are truly missing out.
1. Tales from the Borderlands
At the top of my admittedly modern Top 5 Telltale games is without question Borderlands. Most will be surprised to see this over TWD S1 (let alone TWAU). To each their own I say, they are all quality experiences. This game is completely different from the dread and doom of all the previous titles on this list. Where Borderlands lacks the emotional and heart-wrenching storytelling, it more than makes up for it as being one of the most fun, entertaining and hilarious games I’ve ever played to completion. This explosion filled comedy show is braced by its stunning graphics and incredible QTEs that are easily above and beyond what any company, including TT, had done in the past. They are quick, intuitive, and very much compliment the type of story being told. The choices are fast paced, fun, and feel like they will have dire implications on how your story will go. Where Borderlands excels above all other games though is having the BEST cast of voice actors I’ve ever heard in one game. Nolan North, Troy Baker, Chris Hardwick and the almighty Patrick Warburton are the most notable names in a cast that dominated their scripts front to back. It was a weird feeling struggling to make a decision on who I wanted to live or die based on the voice actor, not story implications. Unlike TWD and GoT, there is no need to know the franchise the story derived from to fully enjoy this game. The story is approachable by anyone, and I urge you to do so, don’t let this one slip through the cracks.