When there’s no more room in Hull, the dead…. no wait…. that isn’t right at all.
Anyway, I get my hands on the PC iteration of the third episode of Telltale Games’ Walking Dead series for the guys at SquareGo.
Originally posted Here.
The Walking Dead – Episode 3
There’s a lot riding on Telltale Games zombie-filled adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s Walking Dead comics. The bar, which was set high in Episode One, rose the narrative stakes and cranked up the tension so substantially in Episode Two that it seemed almost impossible that the series could maintain itself at this high level any longer. In the best possible way, the makers of the game have realised this as well. Which is why this bridging episode, the keystone of the narrative, is a the turning of the tide in a number of different ways.
Depending on the choices the player has made during the first two episodes, the character interactions in the episode will vary vastly. The friction between the diametrically opposing characters Lily and Kenny have now reached breaking point, tensions are high and despite the supplies issues of Episode two being resolved, there are new issues breaking out including suspicions of theft, collusion with the enemy and all round thoughts of treachery. What’s more the question of staying at the motel or moving on in the RV can’t be put off much longer. Everything is hanging by a single thread that threatens to be cut by a thousand knives.
Long Road Ahead opens to a pyrrhic moral conundrum while Lee and Kenny make an impromptu raid on the drug store from Episode 1, looking for any last supplies. Opting to move a little slower than in previous episodes, the narrative then takes over as Lee has a fair bit of puzzling and chatting to do. If that’s what floats your boat then there are plenty of opportunities to do a bit of schmoozing or arguing with the group before… well… It’s almost impossible to even broach the topics that come up in this third episode without spoiling some of the ‘possible’ events from earlier episodes, but suffice to say that eventually the crew are forced to take to their heels under alternate hails of bullets and gnashing of undead teeth.
What’s surprising about Episode 3 is that so much happens in terms of plot events and narrative exposition that it’s easy to forget how long each episode lasts. In fact by the time the bitter and exhausted survivors reach a partially derailed but repairable train, it’s natural to assume that the episode is all but over, in fact it’s less than half of this segment’s story. There are still new locations to see and new characters to meet and potentially fall out with in the later part of the episode. More problematic situations and more conundrums to face our team of mismatched allies.
What continues to amaze is the simple writing and characterisation of the characters in this series, the sweet and believable surrogate father-daughter relationship growing between Lee and Clementine is as heart-warming as it is worrying. More than once in this series we’ve found ourselves thinking, “can I afford to get this attached to these characters?” They exist as an emotional centre, and after three episodes it’s clear that this relationship is the heart of this game. But the ultimate question becomes, can Lee keep her safe? Where will this all end? Who will make it that far and how emotionally stable will they be when they get to the final credits. If we’re only halfway there, then it’s going to be a hell of a ride.