Alex Lynch Reviews: TellTale's THE WALKING DEAD Episode 5; "No Time Left"
In the highly-anticipated season finale of the critically acclaimed video game series, does TellTale's The Walking Dead's last outing live up to the hype or does Lee Everett's fifth adventure fall short? Find out my take after the jump.
It’s still hard to believe that it’s finally over. TellTale Games have finally finished up with the much-anticipated first season of The Walking Dead video game series, and it was absolutely the best episode yet. Yes, I know it’s cliché and I’ve said it a lot, but the company pushes themselves to one-up the past episode each and every time without failure. With nominations in six Spike! Video Game Awards categories, the developer has finally got the attention that they deserved before The Walking Dead with games such as Back To The Future, Jurassic Park and Sam & Max. The developer took the formula from all these great games and kept improving it each time until the narrative masterpiece of The Walking Dead was born. It’s arguable to say that Glen Mazarra or Robert Kirkman could take a page out of Telltale’s book. And now that the finale is finally out, was it worth the hype?
Episode 5 picks up with Lee’s desperate trek to find Clementine, the girl who he swore to protect since the first episode. Her character is exceptionally written, forcing the player to get emotionally attached to her presence. For me, I’d do anything to protect Clementine from not only the (un)dead, but the living freaks who would want to hurt her, similar to the likes of ‘The Governor’,’Negan’, or even ‘The Hunters’ from Robert Kirkman’s comic book. Even though the threat of the ‘walkers’ is very important to the property, Telltale put the perfect balance of adding a living, breathing enemy within the world of ‘walkers’ to their story, something I feel that Kirkman does not do (at certain times) in the graphic novel. This episode perfectly conveyed that balance, and from front-to-back you won’t know what life the ‘walkers’ could take, or what could happen to Clementine at the hands of the man on the walkie-talkie. Lee’s journey since meeting ‘Clem’ has led up to this final adventure within a walker-infested Savannah, determined to save the last person that he truly cares about before his time runs out.
Sean Vanaman (the creative mind behind the series) brought the perfect closure to the characters that deserved it, and the characters that didn’t, as well. Almost every choice made by the player (spanning far back into the very first episode) comes back to haunt Lee. For the first time in a video game series, I was afraid to confront my past. I’ve made some pretty morbid decisions, I’ve killed people and I’ve left people to die, but not once did I think that those decisions would come back to attack me in ways I couldn’t expect. The finale takes it upon itself to resolve plenty of sub-stories beyond Lee’s main troubles, and wraps up most of the character arcs. We certainly don’t know where the second season will take us, or whether or not it’ll have the ability to top the masterpiece that Telltale have already created.
The game suffers from very few technical bugs, although I have seen some game breaking bugs from other users that I’ve yet to encounter (except for save corruption). When it was introduced in the third episode, the shooting mechanic was very frustrating and confusing at times, almost forcing me to “rage-quit”. However, by the finale they certainly improved on it offering user-friendly controls and aiming for when Lee and the group needed to take an armed stand against an incredibly deadly wave of walkers. Overall, Telltale clearly took fan feedback and tried to improve the game at all costs.
The Walking Dead is undoubtedly a masterpiece with perfect pace, characterization and storytelling. It combines the simple medium of a point-and-click adventure game with a superb voice cast to create one of the most emotional experiences you’ll have from the medium, and its property. As a fan of TellTale Games and a fan of The Walking Dead, I can say that their next production (based off of DC Comics’ Fables) has huge shoes to fill, a feat which is not quite easily done.
A masterpiece in storytelling, voice acting and gaming, The Walking Dead is a hard contender for Game of The Year that ensures one of the most memorable experiences you’ll have. I firmly believe that Lee Everett and Clementine’s name will soon become famous in the gaming world.
5 out of 5 stars.
Vote for The Walking Dead as Game Of The Year in the Spike! Video Game Awards.
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