- Platform: XBLA(reviewed), PSN, PC
- Published by: Telltale Games
- Developed by: Telltale Games
- Genre: Survival Horror
- ESRB Rating: M For Mature
- Number of Players: 1
- Release Date: October 10th, 2012
So far the Walking Dead series by Telltale Games has been really well done, the story has been engaging, the characters have been interesting and the gameplay has been pretty tight as a whole. A lot of times as a game reaches close to its climax we start to see a bit of a lull or a bit of stretching by developers to drag the game out just a bit longer, would that be the case for Episode 4 Around Every Corner?
The Walking Dead games have been a surprise for me this year, I’ve loved each one more than the last, but this game was lacking in a lot of ways and the game didn’t play to its strengths like in the past. I was actually wishing the game would end far before it did, the thing that made sticking it out worth my time was the final ten minutes of the game, the climax is heartbreaking and I applaud Telltale Games for not giving us a happy ending, but rather the only real ending we could expect to get. I don’t want to spoil any of the plot, but the last ten minutes are just earth shattering, and you’ll want to see and experience it all for yourself. Don’t get me wrong, the game isn’t terrible, but it’s not in the same category as the other episodes in this series.
One of the biggest complaints I have for this episode is that you shoot a lot more than the previous episodes combined, if there was a weakness for this series, it would be the shooting mechanics. This game just wasn’t meant to drop you into a first person perspective, and it’s incredibly awkward when they do put you in this mode. You can’t really aim that well and if you miss just once you’ll end up zombie food for sure. One of the other issues I had was with something that wasn’t really a problem at all in the first three episodes, and that is the camera angles, in this episode you have to crawl through some tight spaces and walk down some hallways and you have no control over where the camera looks, it gets quite clunky at times, luckily for most of the game it’s not even an issue, but when it is an issue, you’ll get pretty frustrated like I did.
There was also no real conclusion to this episode like in past episodes, you spend the entire game looking for a boat and boat parts, but you never actually end up in a boat. Granted there are good reasons for this, but this chapter felt incomplete to say the least, the new characters that you picked up at the end of the last episode aren’t very fleshed out either, you don’t spend any time getting to know them, they are just there. I do enjoy the feeling that nobody in your party is ever safe, basically everyone is a red-shirt from the original Star Trek series. I wouldn’t get too attached to anyone, even the new characters introduced in this episode don’t end up in your party, no matter the choices you make throughout the game. Now some of this could just be me nitpicking a little bit, I’ve come to expect great things from the past chapters and this one let me down a bit, but it’s still a pretty solid experience as a whole.
The story is still interesting and a lot of the dialog between characters that we’ve had since the beginning are heart wrenching to say the least. There are a lot of powerful and intense moments throughout the game, and the house that the survivors stay in is very familiar, it definitely reminds me of the mansion from the first Resident Evil game. The lines on what is considered good and bad are as blurry as ever, on one hand you want to trust some of the new people you will meet on your journey, on the other hand it’s probably not a good idea to be too trusting. You’ll also want to help out your friends when they are in danger, but that could cost more lives in the end. Even some of your answers to questions can come back to haunt you, they give you so little time to respond that you might make a bad decision, so stay on your toes at all times. One of the saddest parts to the game is that you really feel bad for Kenny, I won’t spoil anything from previous episodes, but if you’ve played them, you’ll know why it’s very heartbreaking.
Even though I was a little disappointed with the game, the last ten minutes really pay off, its one of the biggest WTF moments in all of gaming and the surprises just keep coming. You could argue that we didn’t get a payoff as to who was on the other end of the walkie-talkie, or that there was too much Ben, but at the end of the day the game was still solid from start to finish, with just a few minor issues. It looks like Telltale Games is setting us up for an epic ending to this particular series and with these particular characters. I’m really excited to see how it all ends, I have a feeling after playing through Episode 4 that it can really only end badly for all concerned. It’s definitely worth picking up, even as the weakest link of the series it still delivers important plot points and its a good example of emotional storytelling at its finest.
FINAL SCORE: 8/10