Disclaimer: This may include spoilers for previous episodes of The Walking Dead. Haven’t played the other ones? Then why are you here?
Playing The Walking Dead by Telltale Games, is a lot like reading a book. For any youngsters out there that are wondering what I mean, don’t worry, I will indulge you. Anyone who has ever read a good book will know what it’s like to be glued to it until completion. Page after page, time flies as you progress through chapters and you feel yourself completely engrossed in the story. The feeling is unique as you find yourself deeply invested in the story and characters, having to put it down can be a challenging task. For the first time since probably The Last of Us, I felt this way rather strongly while playing The Walking Dead Episode 3. I did not feel like I was just playing a game, but as if I were reading it directly, or even at times as if I was there with the group. The feeling of complete immersion was achieved with nothing more than incredible writing; it didn’t take impressive graphics or a huge screen to immerse me, the powerful writing alone was enough to completely draw me in. Everything is pieced together like a puzzle and the way the story creates a bond of empathy and comradery with the characters is splendid. It is also heart breaking when you have to live through a loss.
Episode 3: In Harm’s Way started off rather quickly. The situation that we were left in from the last episode was fresh on everyone’s minds and the pain that the characters recently experienced was still real and palpable. The humble group of survivors that had split off from Carver’s group has been recaptured and are being herded back to their camp. Carver is a powerful villain that is a combination of attributes between the Governor from the comics and the governor from the TV Show. He maintains a semblance of peace and order, yet is ruthless and merciless and will kill at a moment’s notice just to make a point. He treats the fellow survivors as prisoners and has enabled a type of class system, where you can fall from the graces of others and be kept in isolation, slaving away during the day; play your cards right and you might work your way back into favor and be able to boss the others around all day. The Authoritarian Regime that he has set seems to have a blinding effect on its residence. Some people seem to respect him and ignore the bad, almost like a form of Stockholm Syndrome. This lifestyle of course is in stark contrast to what Clementine and her friends are used to, so they resort to ingenuity and rebellion to try and find a way to escape. I won’t spoil the rest for you, so please play through this episode, I don’t think you’ll regret it!
Like it or not Telltale has truly changed their game style over the years. Gone are the days of Tales from Monkey Island, where puzzles were everywhere and literally the way you would progress in the game. Now Telltale has taken a more cinematic approach similar to the likes of Quantic Dream games where it is more of an interactive movie. That may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it enables a great way to drive forward the story and truly makes it more of an immersive experience. While puzzle games are excellent, I feel that in this series it would keep people from getting quite as involved. I clearly like puzzle mechanics but when I look back to the first season and remember trying to figure out how to start a train for 20 minutes, I am glad that I am past that. I have changed my opinion over the past few months, but I like the direction that Telltale is taking this game. Ultimately it means more content. You are still spending two hours with each episode, but it is packed with combat and dialogue. Gone is the padding of time filling puzzles. Puzzles have their place, sure, but in an immersive experience, such things might just pull you out of it.
Episode 3: In Harm’s Way is another excellent chapter in the The Walking Dead story being told by Telltale and ultimately deserves to be played. I think by now you know if TWD is for you or not. If you have made it this far you owe it to yourself to see it through to completion. While certain events in this episode give me though as to what awaits for the final two episodes, I have no doubt in my mind that Telltale will not let anyone down.
Review code for The Walking Dead Season 2 on the PlayStation 3 was provided by the Telltale PR team.