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
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
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