Unless you have been living under a rock for the past 10 years I am sure you have heard of Telltale Games. It is a studio built from former employees of LucasArts and their main focus is Graphic Adventure Games of popular licensed properties that are loosely based around the good old fashion point and click adventure games.
I say loosely because there are elements there but over the years, Telltale Stories have evolved into something of its own. Everything is created using their in-house engine, Telltale Tool, so all they need is a setting, story and characters. This allows for some pretty quick turnarounds on titles but in recent years the engine is becoming a little dated with it affecting the overall quality of the games. It is not all bad though as I feel Telltale have produced some of the best story driven content, especially in the last generation of consoles. So with that in mind, here are my top 5 games to be churned out of the Telltale Factory;
1) Tales from the Borderlands
This one may cause a few problems as I know people who love this entry (like myself) and others that hate it. It is primarily down to whether you like the humour present in the Borderlands series. It is dark, dry humour that does not suit everyone but I felt that Telltale managed to capture everything that makes Borderlands what it is – even down to the twisted nature of the characters that you meet. If you have ever played a Borderlands game (and enjoyed it), you will know that it focusses solely on the Vault Hunters going around killing everything in their path to get some loot.
Tales from the Borderlands looks at the world from a different angle. It doesn’t matter where you are, there are always people doing your basic jobs – cleaning, office worker etc. So why should it be any different in Borderlands?
The story follows the misadventures of Rhys, a Hyperion employee on Helios & Fiona, a con artist as they travel the dangerous world of Pandora in search of a Vault using the Gortys Project, a holograp hic mapping system developed by Atlus to locate all Vaults on Pandora.
The adventure that takes place during the five episodes is just wonderful. You really become invested in the characters with some of the choices you have to make along the way being rather difficult to do. What also helps is that the voice cast was brilliant and they put a lot of feeling into their performances. The main feature of this series that makes it stand out from the rest for myself were the set pieces. The Telltale Formula is to press buttons during a QTE to emulate action. Even in some of the better games, these QTE can feel tedious and boring. In Tales from the Borderlands this changed dramatically. The set pieces were thrilling and edge of seat action – missing a QTE could result in something quite unexpected or even a game over screen. Instead of just watching your story play out, you get to be part of it and this is why Tales from the Borderlands takes the number one spot.
2) Wolf Among Us
Wolf Among Us used the episodic model perfectly. Each episode had it’s own mini story going on but the overall story constantly loomed over you every step you took. It was dark, gritty and has some of the best twists I have seen in a Telltale Story to date. The game managed to tell the stories of all the characters involved in the game without it feeling like too much on the player. Every decision you made felt real. You really feel like you let some one down due to a choice made three episodes ago.
The winning factor is that the story started pretty much straight away – no fluff to fill gap present here. Just solid story from beginning to end. To this day, fans of this series are screaming out for a Season 2 but nothing has said yet.
3) Walking Dead Season 1
I am sure if you checked out any list like this The Walking Dead Season 1 will always sit very high. It was the one that started it all for Telltale. There were games before this, some were good but overall each one felt childish but The Walking Dead was very different. Based upon the comic world (not the TV), each episode follows Lee & Clementine in their quest to survivor in the zombie apocalypse. Along the way they meet different groups of survivors and have to make some pretty difficult decisions that will change how the game plays. Some of these decisions would be difficult to make in real life (especially the last one) & Telltale got it spot on. Everyone was a timed situation only giving you a few seconds to work out in your mind what the best choice would be. There is never a right choice but whatever happens your character has to live with that for the rest of the game.
This is one game I would highly recommend anyone to play as it balances story and character development perfectly. The ending is powerful and moving, showing that even in a video game you can be strongly connected to a character.
4) Back to the Future
Back to The Future The Game felt like one of the last Telltale Games to incorporate the original model from the adventure games developed at LucasArts. It followed the same path of solving puzzles with items before moving onto the next area. The style encourages you to look everywhere in the world and try to combine all the items with everything that you see. It is something that has been lost in the more modern adventure games and I do miss it. Playing this brought back a lot of good memories from my childhood playing point and click adventures on my home PC. I also thoroughly enjoyed the time twisting story and how it differs to that of the movies. Even though the movies did not fully grasp and idea for time travel, it is always good when they have fun with it. Characters personalities changing due to a minor occurrence in the time stream always make me laugh especially when it is the polar opposite to what you know. It is a great game for fans of the movies and of adventure games. There are some great puzzles to solve with some ok character development. And as always, full of the good old Telltale bugs and quirks.
5) Puzzle Agent
I only played this one the other month and even though it was very short at 3 hours, it managed to jump up to one of my favourite gaming experiences. Puzzle Agent follows Agent Nelson Tethers, the sole member of the Puzzle Research Division of the FBI as he is sent out on his first case. You see, the factory that creates the Erasers for the White House has mysteriously stopped production with contact being met by strange puzzles. When you arrive at the location in Scoggins, Minnesota you find that every resident is obsessed with puzzles and to work out the reason behind the mystery you must solve the puzzles thrown at you. On the face of it the story seems a little quirky but as you dive deeper into the mystery you will find that it becomes stranger very quickly.
What makes Puzzle Agent stand out for me in vast collection of Telltale Games are the puzzles. I adore the Professor Layton games on the DS/3DS but that style of game is quite difficult to come by. Puzzle Agent is like playing a mini Layton game in both the puzzle and story department. A fun quirky story mixed in with well designed puzzles – what more could you want? So I advise that any Layton fan should give this one a go.
Feel free to post your favourite Telltale Game in the comment below or on one of our Social Media pages and stick around as my top 5 Worst Telltale Games is just around the corner.
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Mad Scientist with a passion for gaming!