The Walking Dead: Episodes 1-5

Episode 4: Around Every Corner




Genre:   Adventure

Developer & Publisher:    TellTale Games

Released:  November 2012

PC Requirements:  

* OS: Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7
* CPU: Core 2 Duo 2GHz or equivalent
* RAM: 3 GB
* HDD: 2 GB free disk space
* Graphics: 1 GB Graphics Memory
* Sound Card: DirectX 9 Compatible
* DirectX: Version 9


Episode 5: No Time Left






by flotsam


Well, itís over, at least until the teased at Season 2 comes around. I thought the end was perfect - the one that came before the credits - and didnít need the bit that came after, but I get why it was there.

I have previously reviewed Episode 1, and then Episodes 2 and 3 as a pair. I then waited until all episodes were available, and played the whole thing through from the start. I finished this morning, and this is what I thought.

The Walking Dead remained strong throughout, slowing towards the end as it built up to its brutal crescendo. Chapter 4 seemed to meander a little, and added characters rather than relationships, but was probably the perfect counterpoint for what came next. Choices to be made, retribution to be had, there is an undeniable inevitability about an end coming, just not what that end will be.

As we got towards the end, the game seemed to rely more on me and my choices as it ploughed relentlessly on, and it also revealed more of what I had done at other times. While some of that impression is clearly a result of the pace at which things happened, it certainly made me feel as if I contributed to the end result.

How much I did so wonít be apparent until I play again, and itís certainly a reason to do so. I had thought this time through I might have been able to prevent a death in Chapter 3 by doing things differently early on, but if itís possible to get that event to play out differently I didnít manage it this time. I did though manage to get rid of the only annoying character in the group, and truly did find myself at one stage wondering whether there was a way I could sacrifice him for the good of the group, or even just sacrifice him. Which I will reflect on at some other quieter moment.

Without giving too much away, some might think that the punch line is a little deflating, that the struggles and the effort deserved something more, but I thought it hit the mark. There were never going to be unicorns and rainbows, and you push on to simply stay alive. Plans are good, goals essential, but they are the means to keep going, not the end. I never doubted an end like this, and am glad I wasnít disappointed.

The on screen action picks up through the last chapter and the puzzling drops accordingly, but it doesnít become an action game. Dialogue remains important. Lee teeters between defiance and resignation, between re-evaluating past choices or standing by his decisions, but he never wavers from his mission. Which is one we can understand, given what we have taken him through.

The story remains the thing, and it is wonderfully told and believably delivered. The voice acting, the characterisation, the sound and the comic style graphics all come together to create a powerful piece of entertainment. You could claim there arenít enough puzzles, that at times it felt like an interactive novel, that some of the keyboard pecking was annoying Ė none of those things mattered. Even allowing for the fact I had played the first three chapters, The Walking Dead grabbed me and didnít let go till the end. I kept stopping, but found myself coming back soon after, like a book you canít put down.

I advised in an earlier review that you shouldnít get too attached to anyone. I donít know how many characters you can end the game with, but I was shocked more than once when I lost someone I hadnít anticipated. I will keep telling myself they got away, and I will come across them down the track when I least expect it.

It is brutal, as it needs to be. It is also tender, all the more so given the framework within which that tenderness occurs, and a host of other emotions. Haunting was the one I was left with.

I choose to record some TV series, and to not start watching until I can watch it all the way through. For other series I canít help wait, and have to watch each episode as soon as it screens. The first avoids the frustration of having to wait, but also diminishes the exciting anticipation of the next episode being available.

Some demand both. I am watching The Walking Dead now, one weekly episode at a time, and will then watch it through from the start. This game is the same. It delivered short sharp powerful chapters, and a full and satisfying whole. I might have felt a little let down by Episode 4 if I hadnít been able to go straight on to Episode 5, but it would only have been by comparison. This is a stunning game, and one that deserves to be experienced.


I played on:

OS: Windows 7

Processor: Intel i7-3820 4GHz

RAM: 12GB Ripjaw DDR3 2133 Mhz

Video card: AMD Radeon HD 7800 2048MB 

The Walking Dead series can be purchased via download from Telltale Games.


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