The Walking Dead Episode 4 Review – The Saddest Moment In Gaming History?
In a world where zombie games are about as common as bread and water, Telltale’s adaption of The Walking Dead in video-game form has been a breath of fresh air, ditching the “kill everything to survive” mentality of other titles featuring the undead. The strong focus on moral decisions that actually change the story as you go along has not only been a nice selling point for the game, but has become a necessary function for the series thus far. Following on from an episode that lacked depth, Episode 4: Around Every Corner not only picks up the slack, but delivers the most important episode of the series thus far.
The story picks up as the gang makes it to Savannah, a large city where they hope to find a nice luxury yacht and take it out on the high seas to safety. Of course nothing ever goes according to plan; the city has been overrun by “Walkers”, Omed takes a fall that leaves him wounded and in need of medicine and Clementine is understandably wanting to look for her parents who were staying in Savannah at the time of the outbreak. Staying true to the formula laid out from the previous episodes, Around Every Corner has you managing the group, making moral decisions that effect the outcome of the story and dealing with the day to day tensions that arise from living during the zombie apocalypse.
“If you don’t cry or at least feel sick during the final moments of this episode, you’re either lying to yourself or you have no soul.”
Around Every Corner creates a nice combination of action and exploration, something that the last episode severely lacked. Lee has a chance to really flex his muscle as you face off against more zombies than we’ve ever seen and solve some pretty interesting puzzles. Sure, they won’t challenge adventure game veterans, but they keep the story moving at a nice pace and give players a break from the action-heavy combat sequences.
Moral decisions have always been the cornerstone of The Walking Dead series, and while they are certainly present once again in this episode, they don’t seem to hold any substantial weight on proceedings. Perhaps it is the action heavy situation that Savannah provides, but it could also have to do with the fact that we are introduced to an entirely new cast of characters during the three hours of gameplay on offer.
All of the new cast members who breeze through the new episode are an asset to the dwindling population of our original heroes. While all of them offer interesting introductions, due to the short nature of the game we don’t have an opportunity to really appreciate the fantastic performances put in by the writing and voice acting teams. Here’s hoping some of them make a return in the finale.
Around Every Corner is full of combat opportunities. There are several instances where Lee will have to deal with a pack of zombies with the help of his trusty firearm. Some of these sections turn into a first-person shooter perspective, which was delightful the first time it happened, but by the third instance it feels like a cheap gimmick that takes away from the excellent adventure game on display.
While the art and audio departments are still of a high quality, the writing in this episode is head and shoulders above those that came before it. The story offers little in the way of twists and turns, but when the bombshell finally hits during the final act it becomes intense. If you don’t cry or at least feel sick during the final moments of this episode, you’re either lying to yourself or you have no soul.
The Walking Dead Episode 4: Around Every Corner delivers a chilling blow at the end that makes the lack of moral responsibility seem worthwhile. The combination of exploration, action and puzzle solving is right on the money this time, delivering a varied and exciting three hours of gameplay before reaching the end. I hope Telltale delivers the next episode sooner rather than later, because I'm going to lose sleep over this.