Warning the following review will contain some minor spoilers. You’ve been warned. I do highly recommend buying this episode for those turning away to avoid spoilers.
The Fourth episode of The Walking Dead from Telltale continues throwing obstacles in the path of these characters while emotionally punching the player in the face. As with the past episodes of The Walking Dead there are plenty of poignant characters moments and tough choices to make. It can be quite the battle to make it though the episode without blood on your figurative hands and a clear conscience.
Lee, Clementine and the rest of the survivors have arrived in Savannah in the desperate hopes of finding a boat and getting away from the zombie filled lands of the USA. There is also the lingering issue of the strange man on the radio promising to reunite Clementine with her parents as well as several new characters that get introduced during the episode.
Episode four Around Every Corner feels like the biggest episode yet with several long set pieces and a variety of dangerous situations. It also brings the relationships you’ve cultivated with these characters to a head by the end, with some of them deciding to help with Lee’s situation while others abstain.
Watching the choices you’ve made begin to put a strain on Lee’s relationships with others is such a fun and dynamic element of the series that really isn’t present in other video games. Mass Effect does offer plenty of choice but not with the same culmination of consequences. The Walking Dead makes me feel emotions that I generally do not experience playing video games, namely regret, compassion and sadness.
There were a few moments of frustration, especially between the lack of conversation between Lee and Clementine. Due to the pacing of the story it is understandable that there wasn’t a lot of downtime for these two characters to talk but when some stranger is trying to lure a little girl over a walkie-talkie Lee should have been able to take the time and explain how dangerous it was to her.
It also felt a little heavy handed having Ben screw up so much to culminate in a save him or leave him for dead scenario. I did however like Ben’s attitude of feeling like problem and not worthy of living. While the option to vote on him staying or going from the group felt organic, saving him from death just seemed like a way to gauge the player’s morality. I do think the kid is a screw up but the thought that he would actually remove the axe that was barring the door seems a little farfetched. Did he not see the horde of zombies on the other side of the glass door? Ben has demonstrated in the past that he was a coward. I believe that he would be too scared to even approach the door and get that close to a bunch of zombies.
The episode gave plenty of interaction between Lee and the other characters as well as several gut wrenching choices but it also offered tons of puzzles and the most action we’ve seen in any episode yet. There were several instances of the camera switching to a first person view with Lee shooting the heads off zombies that did feel very tense. It really illustrated how the slow shambling zombies can quickly overtake one person with a firearm. I also enjoyed the variety of puzzles that were added in episode four even if they were fairly straightforward.
The end of episode four has really left our survivors and more importantly Lee Everett in a very interesting position. I’m excited to see how the rest of the story plays out in the next episode but also scared of the choices Telltale Games will force me to make. I hope that The Walking Dead video game has been a big enough success for the company that they continue with the series past the fifth episode because I can honestly not get enough.
This review is based on a downloadable copy of the 360 version of The Walking Dead: Around Every Corner.