The Walking Dead: Episode 5 review

Five months ago, Lee Everett was a convicted man heading to serve a lengthy prison term for a murder he may or may not have committed. How time flies. After five months of trying to survive against an ever-growing zombie horde, his story is finally drawing to a close, or so it seems. Telltale have already promised a new game set in the Walking Dead universe, so will his story meet a neat conclusion or will gamers be left on tenterhooks waiting for the next visit to this disease-ridden world?

A Missing Child

Episode 5: No Time Left begins with a dilemma. Clementine has gone missing. She’s been taken by a stranger, who to the rest of the survivors is just a creepy voice at the other end of Clem’s radio. You’ve kept Clem safe all the way through the previous four episodes and you are determined to rescue her at all costs, even if that means that you don’t make it out of Savannah. Will they be able to find her alive?

The story throws players straight in at the deep end with one of the most difficult decisions that you will have had to make so far. The reason why the decision is so difficult is because you have no idea whether it will make any difference to the overall outcome of the episode. Do you succumb to the inevitable and make the rest of the game easier, or do you cling on to that slither of hope but make the rest of the game much harder? This is one of the few decisions where I realised that either choice could lead to a completely different experience.

Despite this, Episode 5 has a definite direction. Whereas previous episodes are filled with new characters and distractions to keep you occupied, that doesn’t happen here. This episode is all about Lee, Clem and the rest of the survivors. Although there is the odd puzzle solving element, the majority of this episode hinges on quick and poignant decisions. As a result, you’re made to care more about the outcome, not just for Lee and Clem, but for the rest of your small party too. The decisions don’t get much easier than the initial dilemma. I can guarantee that the emotional rollercoaster is likely to leave you reaching for the tissues at some point during the game.

The Sound of an Invasion

There is not a lot more I can say about the graphics that hasn’t been said previously in my earlier reviews of this episodic experience. The zombie invasion does not get any prettier. The soundtrack, however, seems much more noticeable and fitting this time around. This becomes much more obvious during one moment where Lee is left to face a zombie horde armed with just a butcher’s cleaver. As the blade sinks into zombie after zombie, the music makes you feel like you are watching one of those glorious slow motion action sequences taken from a film like 300, where King Leonidas charges through a horde of Persian enemies.

What Happens Now?

Although I won’t spoil the ending for you, there is one thing that I really must stress. DO NOT SKIP THE CREDITS AT THE END OF THE EPISODE. I made this mistake at first and missed the brief cutscene that gives players a little bit of optimism for the direction of the next game. Don’t get me wrong, there are still loose ends, but you’re left with a little ray of hope after the doom and gloom of the situation in Savannah. Only time will tell whether the next game is episodic or whether we will be treated to a much longer one-off release, but Telltale has already confirmed that they will be returning to this world in the future.

Looking back at the game as a whole rather than five separate episodes, I am glad that I got to experience this journey. As a point-and-click it is a little weak, with easy puzzles, little exploration and a heavy emphasis on quicktime events. However, as a story-based game, you will struggle to find a better candidate for this year. In this current world of gaming, a strong story-based campaign is becoming rarer and Telltale must be applauded for their success.

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I'm an avid gamer across many platforms, and I love to write about them. I'll try most games once, but I draw the line at fighters and racing sims.
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