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Published September 23rd 2012
Walking Dead: Episode 3 Continues The Amazing Series
One of the pleasant surprises this year in gaming has been the cohesive, well structured series developed by Telltale Games. The Walking Dead series contains five separate episodes that all piece together to create one unique narrative driven adventure. The first two episodes in the series have blown gamers away, with their well crafted addition to The Walking Dead series and their focus on character development and a well realized emotional story. The emotional aspect of the series has been touched on before, but it really comes to the forefront in Episode 3. Telltale has established strong connections between the player and all the characters involved in the series thus far, with Episode 3 bringing some of the toughest and emotionally draining decisions to the table. Episode 3 is able to keep the amazing track record of the series so far, whilst adding in some varied gameplay and massive story twists.
Walking Dead has never tried to revolutionize the gameplay aspects of the action-adventure genre, you still move around with the W, A, S & D buttons, you still use your mouse to click action points, it's the tried and true method at its basic form. Episode 3 starts off by adding a fresh action-oriented vibe to the gameplay, though I was sceptical action paced moments could work well in the series, I was surprised to find they felt great. This section is fast paced, as you try to take down a horde of zombies that are attacking your friends. Though this section was short, it proves that Telltale can pull off action moments very well, which leads much speculation as to what they could pull off in the last few episodes.
The main reason Walking Dead resonates so well with many, is because of the excellent narrative presented. We meet our survivors holding out in their Motel fortress once again, with the debate of leaving becoming stronger within the group. Once their stronghold is overrun by bandits and zombies alike, they have no choice but to take the RV and hope to find salvation somewhere new. This was a much needed change of scenery for our group, as their Motel fort was becoming weaker by the minute.
As I spoke before, Episode 3 should be called "The Episode Where You Cry". Emotional moments are sprinkled throughout the story; most of these are utterly shocking as you don't see them coming at all. The group is at breaking point, with the speculation someone from within was helping the bandits who raided their camp. With tensions high, people show their true colours and these scenes will also force you to make some snappy-harsh decisions as you really start to make your adventure unique. Even though the world is breaking around you, Telltale is able to still add in some of their unique humorous charm throughout. To easily balance being the most emotional episode, alongside being the funniest yet, is downright absurd but they find a way to continually impress with their take on the series.
What keeps me coming back to this series with such anticipation for every Episode, is the emphasis on your own unique tale. When you have large decisions to make, a small timer will appear at the bottom of the screen, just giving you just enough time to read and make the judgement you feel is best. With the game forcing you to make these big decisions in such a small amount of time, these decisions feel true to how you want your story to unfold. The first-reaction based system forces you to act exactly how you would in real life, there is no time to go and think it over before making a choice like the Mass Effect series, and it brings out your true feelings. You see I don't see myself playing this game with Lee Everett, I see myself being Lee, playing the story how I would personally act if I was having to make these life changing decisions. This connectivity with the relationships between characters, the natural dialogue and the likeable aspects of each character, make this game an absolute delight.
Once again the game does not come without its problems; the sad part is these are the same issues that have been a problem since the first episode. Is this because Telltale are so hard at work at producing the next episode and shipping it out the door, that they do not have the time to fix the problems that continue to arise? Now sure these issues are nothing that breaks the game or even makes me not recommend the series, but they are there. You will notice that jittery-lag effects will occur when each cut scene transitions, this happened almost each time and it did take you out of the immersion that this game excellently provides. Not only that but there were stages where characters were literally phasing through environments, like I said these are not severe issues but they are quite noticeable where everything else is sublime.
Telltale has once again been able to encapsulate the true meaning of The Walking Dead franchise, with another Episode of excellent narrative and some of the biggest emotional moments and choices in the series, this is one not to be missed. Your decisions from every episode prior are now starting to have more effect on how your story plays out, this system works and truly makes every story unique. Though repeating small issues continue to arise, these issues never make the experience a displeasure. This series continues to set a brilliant standard for gaming, one that itself is finding ways to improve upon with every Episode. Telltale have been able to make one of the best gaming experiences of the year, one that continues to confidently be entered into the Game of the Year conversations, with great reason.
Excellent review, I have not played this game myself yet I have been watching a lets play series on youtube and even though im not playing i get attached to some of the characters myself. very intense at parts and very hard decisions. Really hope to get this soon.