Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Review: The Walking Dead Episode 5: No Time Left (PC)

At the conclusion of the penultimate episode of the Walking Dead, Around Every Corner, you just knew nothing good was going to happen in the concluding episode, which ends just the way you expect it to: the worst way possible.

No Time Left moves the proceedings along quickly by stripping out the puzzles and offering plenty of action (quick time events and shooting) right up to a confrontation scene in a hotel where Lee locates the kidnapped Clementine. That's where it slows down and starts hitting the player in the emotional groin.

There's a slow deliberate conversation at the hotel that hit me hard, and actually did a good job tying together a lot of the pivotol choices over the course of the five episodes. That actually made the conversation have more impact because the responses resonated more.

"Oh, man, I remember that. That was AWFUL!"

It also "helped" that at that point of the episode, Lee is two shades away from gray of becoming a walker. After all he's gone through to get there, he's still going to make good on his promise to rescue Clementine.

I can tolerate the disjointed opening action of the game, with at least one meaningful conversation break because of the way the hotel scene bookends the story.

There's a little more to No Time Left, which concludes Lee's story, and really starts Clementine on her own path. Unless Telltale takes a different approach, I can see Season 2 focus on Clementine's story because when "The Walking Dead" title card appears she's far from safe. Actually, she's in more danger than probably any other point in Season 1.

You will not doubt notice that I've awarded a 10/10 to No Time Left. I'll be honest, this is a reflection on the entirety of Season 1. While the individual episodes "scored" pretty well and this last episode wasn't so hot (to start with), taken as a whole, The Walking Dead Season 1 had more memorable moments in a video game than anything else I've played this year. There are scenes and bits of dialogue that I will remember for years to come. Mercifully, I didn't experience the kind of awful technical bugs reported by some -- aside from a Groundhog Day bug during Episode 3 -- so my judgement is definitely effusive even on the technical front as well.

Walking Dead isn't just Game of the Year material, it's one of those touchstone games that will continue to be referenced years from now.

- Aaron Simmer

The Good:
- Ties up Lee's story really well
- A touchstone game
- The scene in the hotel is real highlight

The Bad:
- Running, shooting, and QTE's at the beginning of the episode don't sit well with me

Score: 10 / 10