The Walking Dead: Episode Four – Around Every Corner|
Welcome back for my review for The Walking Dead: Episode Four – Around Every Corner; the fourth installment in the 5-part interactive drama from Telltale Games. Rather than cut and paste the same six opening paragraphs from the first three reviews, I’ll assume by now you know how the game works and my particular love of the genre, so let’s jump right into the meat and potatoes of this particular installment – or at least as much as I can talk about without revealing any spoilers.
After the mind-blowing and cast-trimming events of the previous episode, our group of survivors finally reaches Savannah, which has been pretty much reduced to a ghost town. They setup a base of operations in an abandoned house, complete with its own horrific revelations, before setting out to find a boat. Along the way they meet up with a few new characters including Molly, a girl who can navigate the city with amazing agility and a group of cancer survivors who have been purged from the main camp of survivors known as Crawford where only the strongest are allowed to stay. If you are sickly, old, or a kid, you are cast out into the city to fend for yourself. As for that mysterious voice on the walkie...he's back stirring up conflict with our group even if it does appear he may be trying to help...at least at first. His true motives are still a mystery and will hopefully be revealed in the final chapter.
As always, the missions are merely the backdrop for the human drama and the painful choices Lee must make. In previous games I have been fairly confident in my choices, even if the timer has forced me to act impulsively. But for the first time in the series I really started having doubts, but I held fast to my rule of not reloading or replaying the episode. I will live with those decisions until the bitter end. Relationships strain to the point of snapping as Ben continues to prove his worthlessness and Kenny seeks solace at the bottom of a whiskey bottle. Even your relationship with Clem starts to unravel as she continues to put herself in danger despite your attempts to protect her, both physically and emotionally.
The action and puzzle parts of the game are nicely integrated into the city that has you exploring the streets, your safe house, along the pier, in some spooky sewers, and inside a large school building and surrounding structures. None of these locations seem out of place or placed just for the sake of gameplay. They even integrate immersive plot points into the story like having Clem reminisce about her school days as they hide inside an abandoned classroom. None of the puzzles are particularly challenging. You almost always have any inventory required to solve any immediate puzzle and your available options are usually within a confined area to keep you from wandering around or getting lost.
As always, your critical choices are compared to those of all the other players out there, but the new addition to the post-game stats screen this time is a new page that graphically shows all possibilities of surivors that will be going into the final episode and the percentage of players who will also be taking those characters into the finale. It's a revealing stat screen, as prior to seeing it all laid out, I had no idea there were that many possibilities of who would be moving on based on the choices made during and at the very end of the game.
With only one episode remaining, this fourth chapter ends in what could possibly be the biggest cliffhanger of the series; so huge I had to remove a few screenshots from this review at the last minute. It’s going to be a painfully long wait for the final chapter – even if it were to come out this month. Thankfully, the new season is about to begin on TV and we have the new FPS game coming from Activision, so we should have plenty of Walking Dead material to keep us going until we can get our hands on the final chapter and see how this epic saga ends…assuming it even does.