There is no other choice for best adventure game of the year. Not only did The Walking Dead revive a dormant and stagnated genre, but it shifted the focus from clicking on objects and solving puzzles to telling a great story that plays out like a choose-your-own-adventure book. You play as a Lee Everett, a convicted killer who escapes imprisonment at the dawn of the zombie apocalypse and befriends a little girl named Clementine. You band together with a small group of survivors and try to reach the coast, hoping to find a boat and someplace safe. Along the way, you are forced to make tough, split-second decisions with life-and-death consequences. Telltale Games’ episodic, interactive drama features acting and writing that is arguably better than the TV show. As a video game, it raises the bar for storytelling in the medium. I truly cared about the characters and would do anything to protect Clementine. And like many gamers, I got a little teary-eyed during the finale. When you factor in what The Walking Dead also did for downloadable, episodic games, it is a serious contender for overall game of the year.
-Jeff Derrickson, Podcast Host
Runner-Up: The Book of Unwritten Tales
While it is hard to argue with The Walking Dead as the best adventure game of the year, its purposeful exclusion of traditional adventure game tropes in favor of a strict focus on narrative and character building could be seen as one of its downfalls. But whereas The Walking Dead can be used as an argument for that type of game design, The Book of Unwritten Tales can be used as an argument that adventure games can still deliver fantastic story and gameplay using traditional tropes. The game features a smart and funny story mixed with intelligent puzzles that encourage exploration of the game’s lush environments. Everything in the game makes logical sense, including the wizards playing an MMO moderated by a monkey.
-Chris Scott, Reviews Editor