Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Review: The Walking Dead Episode 4: Around Every Corner

As horrible as The Walking Dead continues to be, for some reason I anticipate every episode. Even when I know right from the title screen that the horribleness will stretch as far as the eye can see, I dedicate 2 - 3 hours to play from start to finish. Episode 4: Around Every Corner not only lives up to it's subtitle (and horribleness), it also expands into other territories: Up in the Attic, Inside the Sewer, and Back to School. The latter, unfortunately, without Rodney Dangerfield.

That's too bad because Around Every Corner could have used just a bit of levity, which is something the previous episode injected (thankfully) at regular intervals. This episode is relentless.

If it's not dead dogs, people getting torn to intestinal shreds, or literal piles of bodies, it's the awful implications of the conclusion, which is a perfect setup for the series' end but until then there's no let-up, no cessation of, "Oh God, no!" moments.

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I won't explain any of them here if only to afford you the surprises, but the one thing that does break up the tension slightly are "first person" moments. There are a few instances of the action switching to a first-person perspective so the protagonist Lee can gun down a group of zombies. It's forgiving in that the aiming doesn't need to be precise; the player just has to hit the general area of the head to drop a zombie. Departing from the "point and click" trappings is just fine because it never drags on too long. A handful of seconds and Lee's on to something more terrible than the last thing he came across.

Shooting zombies isn't quite the tension reliever that a bit of comedy can provide.

There's the appearance of a new character that lowers the tension ever so slightly. She's like Heidi, if she were a climbing axe-wielding acrobat. Though she's kinda glib, it's definitely not enough to tickle a funny bone.

Around Every Corner is about 3 hours long and it definitely felt like the longest episode yet. And I can't wait until the next one. As terrible as things get, I can't wait to see how it all ends.

- Aaron Simmer

The Good:
- Great episode overall
- Tension only cut with more tension and a little gunplay

The Bad:
- Game locked up on me three or four times, which hasn't happened before
- Why was there not a Left 4 Dead 2 crossover?

Score: 9.0 / 10