The episodic game genre, a story spread across a number of episodes in a choose your own adventure format, has seen a surge in popularity in recent years. I am a big fan of these games and today I would like to share my 5 favourite episodic series. Just a warning, you are going to see a lot of games from Telltale on list. *SPOILERS AHEAD*
- The Walking Dead
One of the first games in the sub-genre’s resurgence, Telltale’s Games spin-off set in the same universe as the highly successful comic series and television show is a true masterpiece. There are two seasons of five episodes and in season 1, you play Lee, a convicted murderer whose first encounter with a zombie sets him free on the way to prison. You then become the guardian of a young girl named Clementine and help her try to get to Savannah to find her parents. In season 2, you take control of Clem as you simply try to survive. This is a game that mixes drama, horror and personal relationships into a well-balanced story and character driven game.
- The Wolf Among Us
Based on the Fable comic book series, this five episode Telltale game has you take control of Bigsby Wolf, the sheriff of the fairy-tale community in New York. When women start turning up dead, it is your job to delve into the deception and corruption of your hidden community to find the truth. The Wolf Among Us has a grittier tone than some of the other Telltale games and is far more action orientated. Despite this, it keeps you hooked and, as with all Telltale games, forces you to make some particularly difficult game-altering choices.
- Blues & Bullets
This is a new addition to the market. In Blues & Bullets, you play Elliot Ness (Mr Untouchable) who know runs a small diner 20 years after the peak of his fame. You are approached by your old nemesis, Al Capone, and hired for one last case. Rendered in black and white, it combines the hard-boiled noir atmosphere of the 1930s with the neo-noir art style and feel of films such as Sin City. Only the first episode is currently available but it draws you in with an interesting mental map of the case.
- Life is Strange
Action and intrigue not your thing? Then try this charming 5 episode game from Square Enix. You play as Max Caufield, an unassuming photographer student in Oregon who is caught up in the chaos around her when she discovers she has the ability to manipulate time. Not only does this game show the everyday struggles of a young adult in a particularly isolated community, there is also the added bonus of the consequences of playing with time. Not only do you dialogue options affect your game, but your use of time travel affect your playthrough significantly. As the title suggests, life is strange.
- Tales from the Borderlands
Borderlands and Borderlands 2 are totally insane cel-shaded action RPGs in which you explore the chaotic planet of Pandora. In Telltale Games’ spin off episodic adventure, you play a disgruntled employee of the evil Hyperion Corporation and a Pandoran con-woman whose fates become interwoven across the course of 5 episodes. In their signature style, Telltale respects the source material and maintains the insanity and cel-shaded graphics of the original games. If pure insanity with wry humour is your thing. Tales from the Borderlands is the game for you.