Posted on November 21, 2012 AT 07:00am
I just finished the last episode in The Walking Dead and the only word that came to mind was “wow”. Telltale Games really hit a a nerve with the gaming community and they also created one hell of an experience.
Episode 5: No Time Left opens with Lee and his group back in the morgue looking for Clementine, still under the impression Vernon took her. Within five minutes players will be faced with a tough decision and one that made me cringe and squirm helplessly. If you have played the other four episodes than you know that this one will not end well nor happily. Grab your tissues because you will need them. Okay, at least I did. I actually started tearing up. It was a heart wrenching episode. I know I have said that before but every time I think Telltale couldn’t make things worse emotionally, I am proved wrong. My only regret is that this episode was much shorter than the others.
It’s hard to do a review on a game like this because every little incident is a spoiler. Some things will obviously have to happen or else the story cannot progress, like Clementine will be found. But I can’t go into anything else because I would hate to give away who the abductor is, where she is found, what happens during the search for her, and after it’s all over.
The writing is still a masterpiece of fiction and some major decisions you have made in previous episodes will rear their ugly heads and come back to haunt you. Haunt you in an unexpected way! As I sit and type this up, I find myself wanting to replay it and see if other decisions have a different impact on how the story plays out. Ultimately, I don’t think the end would change significantly but the process for getting there might.
The voice talent used throughout the series is just that, pure talent. They were well chosen and did such a wonderful job creating the personalities of each and every person within the game. You learned to love, or perhaps hate, the characters. That kind of emotional response cannot be pulled from players unless they can relate to the characters in some way. Just having a good story is not enough to do that. Fortunately, Telltale managed both here.
Replay value is high for the games series as a whole. With so many different choices, it’s easy to go back and try playing out the story in a new way, or even just choosing to replay a certain chapter or episode. With such a masterfully crafted game, it would be easy to replay it over and over, just to to see how every single thing ends. Telltale said from the beginning that choices will effect your gameplay experience. They weren’t kidding.
Other than a minor bug I encountered in Episode One, I can find no fault with The Walking Dead. The simplistic control scheme lends to the experience, the ability to really get into the story, since you are not trying to run-and-gun your way through zombies. The Walking Dead game has a distinctly human feel to it and maybe that is why I, and many others, are so taken with it. We end up putting so much of ourselves into the decisions or timed choices that have to be made, it’s hard to not love the experience as a whole.
If you have been on the fence about getting this game, it’s time to get off. Go buy it. It is arguably one of the best games of the year and a unique experience as well.
Do it for Clementine.
The Good: Everything. Seriously. The story, the voice work, the artwork, the controls, the whole thing is amazing.
The Bad: Minor gameplay glitch in Episode one that did not repeat itself. Episode 5 was a little short.
The Ugly: You read the review, right? Nope, no ugly here.
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