In most circumstances, Telltale Games has taken great stories and turned them into innovative and compelling video games. With the release of The Walking Dead, their latest episodic rendition of a popular comic book franchise, they were able to bring their twist while creating new characters in an intense, horrifyingly beautiful world.
Episode 1: A New Day was a great introduction to our protagonist, Lee, a teacher turned convict, whose situation turned south as the zombie infection took hold of the world, and it placed Clementine, a little girl, in his care. Episode 2: Starved For Help was an intense experience that caused you to make some difficult choices that caused friction between Lee and other survivors in the group, which has been an ongoing feature throughout the episodes. Episode 3: Long Road Ahead was more tragic, bringing some tough lessons for Lee to learn. With Episode 4: Around Every Corner, we finally start to see events and situations take a turn for the worse, which makes this adventure game worth playing overall.
What makes Around Every Corner special is that Telltale finally shows you how all of your decisions in past episodes affect the overall outcome. While taking you through the story of Around Every Corner, things just can’t seem to go right for Lee, Clem, and our cast of characters, as they seem to get hit from every direction with bad news. However, there is a glimmer of hope that brings a bit of relief, at least until the cliffhanger that will leave you wanting more. With one episode remaining, Telltale does something that they haven’t done in past episodes: they don’t tell you what’s coming next. Frankly, that’s one of the best decisions they could’ve made at this point.
There are a couple of small details that Telltale has polished in this episode from previous ones. The FPSQTE (First-Person Shooter Quick Time Event) they introduced in Episodes 2-3 has improved in Episode 4. While it wasn’t a desired feature and didn’t function properly, it actually works well in Around Every Corner. Another nice feature is that some of the intense chase scenes between Lee and the zombies actually make decision-making a lot more fast-paced, and it accurately expressed the dire stress of the situations at hand.
The graphics and mechanics haven’t been changed much from previous episodes, so there’s nothing new to really say. Yes, the graphics are gritty, colorful, and beautiful, and that hasn’t changed in this episode. However, there’s a mechanic that hasn’t been fixed, but has been lessened in terms of usage. The click-and-point cursor option in QTE events has been shortened in place of automatic button mashing. While button mashing can be tedious, it works properly and is a better change and feel from moving a cursor to the area in question.
Overall, with Around Every Corner, we are finally getting to see a compelling game take form. While Episode 5‘s release date hasn’t been announced, expectations are that No Time Left should be out before or on December 4th when the complete game hits retail outlets. From the four episodes that have been released so far, the $25 dollar asking price for 5 episodes of a compelling, intense, heart-wrenching story makes The Walking Dead by Telltale Games one of the best works they’ve done so far.
This review is based on a review copy of the PC version of The Walking Dead by Telltale Games