Five Non-Telltale Games that will Help Scratch That Itch
So you’ve finally done it! You’ve played all of developer Telltale Games’ most recent games from 2012 and don’t wish to venture back beyond season one of The Walking Dead – Don’t worry I don’t blame you! But what if you’re craving some more of that juicy story-focused, narrative-driven adventure game goodness that the guys at Telltale Games has been so good at as of late? Fear not, the boys at IGCritic have got you covered with our top picks on some games that you should enjoy if you enjoyed all the games by Telltale Games.
Whether it’s via multiple story paths, differing dialogue trees or just generally wandering around a level in the hope of interacting with that lamp, many games have been developed and released after and long before Telltale claimed the respective adventure game crown. The following games each evoke a certain degree of the experience Telltale Games regularly presents the player, placing a great amount of emphasis on dialogue, intrigue and plot.
Categorising itself as an “interactive drama action-adventure game”, Heavy Rain was a film noir murder mystery adventure released initially for the PS3 but can now also be purchased on the PS4. The brainchild of Quantic Dream creative director David Cage, and rather expectantly it’s brilliant. Much like the Telltale experiences most players are used to, Heavy Rain lets players take control of a character that requires you to interact with either an environment or object in order to progress. Honestly though, the gameplay is more riveting than it sounds.
Firmly placing a central mystery at the forefront with a near-limitless number of branching paths, Heavy Rain would evolve and adapt specifically to your own gameplay decisions, even going so far as to kill off one of the main protagonists should you choose the wrong one. It’s a generally fascinating game that you just can’t seem to put down by the end, and thankfully because unlike a Telltale game it isn’t episodic, you won’t have to!
Life is Strange
Life is Strange is a game that very much takes a leave from the old Telltale guide, “How to make a game with 5 episodes and make it awesome”, Life is Strange was a nice shake up for developer Don’t Nod, being a time-travelling tween adventure that seeks to test the true power of family and friendship. In the role of Max, Life is Strange let you make all of the usual earth shattering decisions you’d expect from this type of game, except this time giving you the power to rewind events and see how aspects could possibly play out from the other perspective.
Whilst many players would be right to question the lack of impact a gameplay decision such as this would normally result in, the developers were clever with when and where they allowed you to use this power, never letting you abuse the system when things matter most. Backed up by an epically awesome licensed soundtrack, Life is Strange is in some ways a much prettier game than the typical Telltale fare, being a great adventure game that shows off it’s much higher production values.
Until Dawn is campy, schlocky and at times cringe inducing, but don’t fret as this is all part of the “cabin in the woods” horror-style set up that makes the game so great and well designed. It’s a narrative set-up anyone with a passing interest in cinema will know, and if there’s another thing other than the aesthetic developer Supermassive Games absolutely nailed, it’s the simple implication of a cause and effect system known as the butterfly effect.
Depending on all of the various decisions you make, the story path and narrative direction will change accordingly much like the concept dabbled with in most Telltale games. The subtle difference in Until Dawnis that by picking up a series of collectable totems that give you a glimpse into each possible future, you always feel that there’s a fighting chance to keep each teenager alive!
Murdered: Soul Suspect
If you’re old enough to remember the movie Ghost and wish you could have played the part of Patrick Swayze, well then Murdered: Soul Suspect is the third-person adventure game you’ve been waiting for all of your life. Taking place within the historically ghostly town of Salem, you play detective Ronan O’Connor who seeks to solve the mystery of his own murder, exploring areas and discovering clues as you do so. Sound familiar? You bet it does.
Whilst a little basic and creaky from a gameplay perspective, Murdered: Soul Suspect manages to weave a fairly intriguing narrative that while linear has its fair share of twists and turns. The perfect double bill to go alongside Telltale’s The Wolf Among Us, Murdered: Soul Suspect is a solid mystery game that is nothing short of entertaining.
A side-scrolling narrative adventure game that also places a large amount of emphasis on dialogue, Oxenfree not only shares a leaf with Telltale in terms of the gameplay department, but also shares a lead writer in Adam Hines who also wrote the standout series Tales from the Borderlands. Like that game, Oxenfree progresses a lot like a movie, with dialogue and plot developing through a series of thought bubbles in the midst of the action instead of a cut scene.
Oxenfree also has it’s fair share of in-game puzzles that while not difficult or challenging, definitely succeeds in shaking up the formula much like a Telltale game traditionally would with a shooting section or quick time event. If great story and dialogue are the things that matter most to you, Oxenfree is the game for you.