Release Date: November 20, 2012
Developer: Telltale Games
Platform: PS3 / X360 / PC / iOS
After a multitude of replays in order to correct previous decisions, months of waiting with bated breath for the next chapter, followed by shoving my money down Xbox Live’s throat upon the new installment; the moment has finally come. My feelings on the matter should have been ecstatic because the audience for this franchise would finally be getting closure to a wild and crazy ride. But upon seeing how everything came to a close in the final installment of The Walking Dead, all I felt was rage. This emotion didn’t come about from feeling unsatisfied, though. In hindsight, it was simply my mind trying to cope with what had just happened.
The Walking Dead Episode 5 picks up where the previous one left off: addressing the detrimental dilemma that Lee has on his hands. He must push his fear aside in order to tackle another problem, which is to rescue Clementine. The group had previously decided to return to the hospital which they suspected the culprit had retreated to, only to find it empty. Also, Clementine hadn’t been taken by the suspected assailant. Now Lee must go on a wild goose chase with no clues, and with little time to do so.
TellTale Games had given us the illusion of choice; after finishing the game I realized that all those decisions were merely spoils used to fatten us before the slaughter. By making choices, Telltale gave us power. We chose who lived and who perished, whether it be friend or foe; we were given tasks which displayed the daily life of a survivor in a post-apocalyptic world; and Telltale bestowed to us a main character with the potential to be a great leader or a villain among his group. Regardless of his words, though, the course for their fate had already been predetermined.
This type of choice was recently seen in another game and was used in a similar fashion. But rather than being praised by fans, it caused a huge controversy among the gaming community. We know this game by the name of Mass Effect 3. Both titles had in an impossible mission with little hope for success. Both were also known for offering the power of choose. One could even say Mass Effect had a wider spectrum of this choice. So why were the reactions so different? The Walking Dead was a bit more honest.
There seemed to be an unspoken understanding between the developers and audience that the player had no say in the story itself; only on the characters within the constraint of the story. Mass Effect 3, however, had various ways in which the player could end the game. The whole basis of the franchise was the ability to potentially change the impossible. But these promised choices ended up being no different from one another. This seems to be the reason as to why Mass Effect 3’s endings received the reaction they did and why The Walking Dead franchise is now acclaimed.
In addition to the power of choice, it seems the developers honestly listened to the critiques of their fans. Throughout the franchise, there have been small imperfections here and there. The most recent imperfection had been Lee’s lack of facial expressions throughout the series and his inability to be human due to his role as a leader. The last episode was finally Lee’s time to shine and experience emotion. We saw his frustration from the situation that was thrust upon him. We lived through his grief of losing someone and saw his courage to persevere despite it all.
I think it’s been mentioned enough, but I’ll reiterate: The Walking Dead has impeccable acting and delivery that is hard to match by any game. It draws you into the story with its emotional impact and easily causes your heart to race. It makes you believe in the characters and their goal of survival. The atmosphere’s mood solidifies this game’s credibility as well. Alas, TellTale’s The Walking Dead has drawn to a close. It was an exciting run and I’ll be sad to see it end. But with talk of a second season, I know I’ll have more to look forward to in the future.
- Ending is memorable and shocking
- The acting is amazing and draws you in
- Pacing never falters and keeps you engaged
- Full of suspenseful situations