The Walking Dead: Long Road Ahead was such an emotional affair that I would understand if players decided to share their feelings with a psychiatrist before continuing the story. One couch and a dozen unresolved issues later, Telltale Games releases Episode Four meaning the Season One is quickly coming to a close.
The fallout from Episode Three achieved exactly what a cliffhanger ending should; it created questions for your brain to ponder while giving you reasons to find answers to them. Reeling from the revelation that Clementine has been talking to a stranger on her walkie-talkie (for how long, no one knows), the group arrives in Savannah on their quest to find a boat to safety and to discover the fate of Clementine’s parents. Kenny is desperate to reach this goal and has a one track mind about it, which can be annoying enough to want to find another alternative.
The suspense is heavy in this episode, requiring you to explore Savannah with the feeling that you are being watched. Besides the weird markings all over the city and uncovering the secret behind the neighboring city Crawford, Around Every Corner has Lee treading through a zombie infested sewer, making sure a fortified house is safe from infestation, and searching the streets for a quarter (play the game for more info) with the threat that anything can happen at any time. Honestly, the gameplay in some areas reminded me of the survival horror classic, Resident Evil. Telltale Games also isn’t afraid to interrupt your gameplay with an unexpected event, a surprise zombie attack, or when a character wants to literally drop in to say hi. Unfortunately the game hiccups when loading the intrusions making the scene come across telegraphed.
Speaking of Crawford, the story behind this community that takes the “only the strong survive” concept a little too far reminds you what humanity will do to protect itself and how some acts can never be forgiven no matter the situation. The back-story is told by finding recorded messages and interaction with a new character named Molly. I enjoyed this part of the game and hopefully Telltale Games expands on this sub-plot somehow in the future.
Written by Gary Whitta (The Book of Eli), the group are more comfortable in their roles and isn’t shocked by everything that happens around them. They act like an experienced group of zombie apocalypse survivors and they seem less like victims as the episode progresses. Protecting Clementine can be nerve-racking however, because she takes a more proactive role in wanting to help Lee. It’s scary to see her doing something dangerous without your ok, but treating her like a liability makes her one in a roundabout way.
The ending to Around The Corner will stick in your brain well after you put down the controller. There are so many ways that this new revelation can play out, and I’m sure there won’t be a dry eye in the house when the credits roll after Episode Five.
The Walking Dead: Around Every Corner is a deliberately paced and suspenseful chapter that keeps you on your toes while perfectly setting the season up for it‘s dramatic finish.
The Walking Dead Episode Four: Around Every Corner
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Platforms: Mac, PC, Playstation 3, Xbox 360
Released: October 9, 2012 (Mac, PC, PlayStation 3), October 10, 2012 (Xbox 360)