Why Platforms Matter with The Walking Dead

PC or PS3? The decision changes a lot about the game.

Let me preface this by saying that I’ve never played The Walking Dead on PC. I’ve only ever played it on the Playstation 3 and can speak to my experience with that platform. Everything that I talk about in relation to the PC version of the game comes from gameplay on YouTube.

From the beginning, one difference to make note of is the change in colors from each platform.

dialogue pc
Hershel’s place on PC 

This is about a half hour into episode one when Lee and Clementine stay the night at Hershel’s farm. Here you can see that the colors vibrant, nothing’s muted or washed out. It gives an overall beautiful look to the game because these are colors that really pop out and make each character distinct from each other.

Another thing to look at is how the dialogue options look. They’re all on top of each other, allowing the player to see them all in one place and not really have their eyes darting around the screen while trying to make a decision. The use of the mouse also makes it a little easier to choose one of the four options you’re given. It doesn’t allow for you to accidentally choose something that you didn’t want because you suddenly mixed up which button was where. It gives the play full control to actually hover over options and then make a decision.

If the dialogue options were longer then it might look like it’s too cluttered, but because the designers thought to make them as short as possible and the general idea of the line that’s about to be said, it doesn’t feel that way at all. It gives the player all the information that they need to know about what they’re going to say and not give them the wrong idea about what they could possibly say because each option is so clear.

 

The way the dialogue options are written stays the same on the Playstation 3 version of the game. But then a lot of other things change.

dialogue ps3
Hershel’s place on PS3

Even with just the one frame, there’s a lot that’s different from how The Walking Dead is on PC. The immediate thing is the dialogue options. It’s working with the what the Playstation system is giving the game, but it changes how the player sees things. Each option now has their own area and assigned button in order to prompt it. In my opinion, this makes the screen look more cluttered even without stretching out what each prompt could be. It feels cluttered because of the inclusion of the buttons for each option. Everything sticks out more and takes up more of the screen because of that. Also, this isn’t one of the instances in the game, but when the pace of a conversation is speeding up and intensifying, it allows for the player to suddenly pick something and then immediately regret it if they’ve hit the wrong button. I think this removes a degree of the player’s control because they have buttons assigned to them and if they were to suddenly panic, forget where something was, pick something they didn’t want, and then want to change it, they can’t because it would require playing everything up until that point from the last autosave, which is frustrating.

The other immediate difference are the colors. If you look at the two images you can see that in the PS3 version Hershel’s green shirt isn’t as bright as it is on the PC version. Lee’s shirt also becomes darker from PC to PS3 and his skin tone also changes. The colors on the PS3 are very washed out and add a darker tone to the atmosphere. That would make sense in the context of the game, but in the end it’s another thing that adds to the player’s experience. They can either have a zombie game with a bright atmosphere to take away from some of the spookier elements or they can have a zombie game with a dark atmosphere which amplifies the mood of the game.

There’s a lot more to talk about, but that would probably turn this into an essay. These are just my opinions on what I’ve seen in my experiences, so I’m curious to see how other people have experienced it. I guess I kind of want this to be is sort of like a springboard for people to talk about their experiences with The Walking Dead and if they saw any differences if they’ve played across platforms or just watched videos online, so feel free to comment!

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