|The Walking Dead: Around Every Corner
|Platforms||Windows, OSX, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, iOS|
|Genre||Point and... make it stop!|
|Buy from Amazon|
The penultimate episode of the first season of The Walking Dead brings our group of survivors to the edge with seemingly no hope for a happy ending. While I’ve certainly enjoyed the previous three episodes quite a bit, I feel like everything has finally clicked for me in Around Every Corner. There’s a great sense of dread, urgency, and horror as you progress, and it successfully caps off the previous three hours with a heart-stopping finale.
Telltale Games wouldn’t have been my first choice for a Walking Dead game, as a popular graphic novel and the most successful show on cable television, the intellectual property owners should have had their pick of the litter when shopping their game. Could Call of Duty: Black Ops II have sold even more with a fully licensed Walking Dead zombie mode? Should the /games/dead-rising developers been tapped? Capcom for their Dead Rising experience? Valve with Left 4 Dead? EA for their gobs of money?
But Telltale’s interactive drama experiment has been a huge success, at least critically. There are bound to be more Walking Dead games in the future, but this will certainly set the bar high. Here’s my review of episode four: Around Every Corner.
This episode may be remembered as the one with the most disturbing imagery in the season, from the zombie in the attic to your friend’s body in the sewer, along with the bell ringer at the school and the final scene that leaves me dreading episode five. It takes a creative mind to even think of these situations, a bold producer to greenlight them, and a great art team to execute the vision on screen. At times, The Walking Dead is just a mediocre, linear point and click adventure with too many quick time events, but you forget all that the moment you see a gaunt, five year old zombie boy trying to stand up unsuccessfully. Disturbing stuff.
Since the cast of survivors was almost halved in the last episode, we meet up with who are seemingly the last people alive in Savannah, Georgia. Their introductions are well done and it’s made clear how each set of survivors have lasted this long since the initial outbreak. I really liked meeting the group in the fallout shelter until I failed a 50/50 choice and was shot, having to restart the scene. I’m still unsure whether this design decision was a good one, as it was an unexpected action during a conversation that brought me to my temporary demise.
I haven’t talked about the controls much beyond mentioning the quick time events, but I’d like to point out that it took me until episode four to understand what one of the QTE on screen indicators meant. There’s one where these two arrows merge into the middle of the screen and I couldn’t tell if you were supposed to make them meet or not. I figure I’m a pretty quick button tapper with 20+ years of practice, but it was never clear to me whether I was actually helping or not, and having to press another button when they finally did meet didn’t help much either. Did I have to press the button because I failed the tapping sequence or because I had succeeded. Well, I can tell you now with 100% confidence that you want the arrows to merge and press that second button!
I’m keeping these as vague as possible to avoid spoilers, but I’ll probably go full out in my final episode review after a proper warning. These episodes are so drama heavy that going into any detail could be a detriment to the spoiler-averse gamer. But if you’re still reading this and haven’t played the game, I would highly recommend it, even without having played No Time Left.