The Walking Dead Game: Episode 3: Long Road Ahead Review
Finally the third edition of Telltale games’ licensed The Walking Dead point and click adventure game is released. Rather suddenly too, somebody needs to tell the good folks at Telltale that episodic gaming needs more advertising, not less. Releasing the next part of your game with little fanfare is not the way to go. At any rate I’m glad to continue this story. If you haven’t already played the first two episodes then please check out our reviews of the first and second episodes. This one may contain spoilers for previous episodes and I wouldn’t want to ruin anything.
Set almost straight after the group’s escape from the farm things are looking rather grim for our posse. They have some food and medicine left but the surrounding area has been picked clean of additional supplies, bandits are constantly attacking the motel and it seems some supplies have gone missing. Tensions are at an all time high, especially between Kenny and Lilly, and Kenny finally wants to hit the road in the repaired camper van. So yet another slice of group politics; picking sides or maybe playing the peace maker for our controllable character Lee.
This episode really shakes up the formula. I thought I had guessed the pattern: new character shows up, dies to make sure we know the situation is serious; then Lee gets to make a painful choice between one of the characters we love/hate and they’ll leave the group (bloodily or not) but no, not this time. New characters are introduced again (thankfully they haven’t just appeared between episodes and everybody acts like they’ve always been there) but aren’t really central to the main plot of the episode. No this episode is focused on all the characters we all ready know and by the end of the episode the group will be changed…how it gets changed is of course up to your actions but there are many points that you can’t change. The episode becomes less about making choices for the group and more about the kind of person you are.
For example at one point in the story you’re gathering supplies and a girl comes out of a building screaming. She’s being attacked by zombies; you can’t possibly save her but you could put her out of her misery. Kill her and the zombies will know where you are and you’ll have less time to gather supplies, I mean she’s already dead right? Why not use her as a distraction so you won’t die too? But then again can you really live with yourself if you let another living person get ripped to shreds and then rise up from the grave to spread more of the pain and misery the world is already rife with? Does that choice have any real consequence? No not really, it gets discussed but the group has bigger things to worry about. What it does do however is shape the kind of person you (or rather Lee) is, what others think of you and it tests your own morals.
The one thing the game doesn’t do well, and never really has, is the puzzle aspect of the game. Puzzles in this game are always based on the real world and that’s great but it also means you get things like turning batteries around to make a radio work. Because hey there are only so many things a normal person can do to make a radio work unless they worked in RadioShack. One puzzle was that I had a leak in a gas hose; the solution was to tape it up. Said tape was found in a car two meters away…and I had already picked it up before I knew I needed it. The puzzle over how to get a train to start was a bit more enjoyable but generally the puzzles serve as only to give you down time between zombie attacks and important conversations.
Lip-syncing is still an issue and I swear it’s getting worse with every instalment. The first episode I barely noticed it, the second it started becoming more prominent but this time it can be really bad with characters mouths flapping like goldfish with no correlation to what is being said. It’s also rather annoying that Lee shouts over dialogue when you quickly choose what to say in conversations. Yeah you have an opinion on what to do but at least let them finish their sentence first! Aside from those issues no other complaints.
Episode 3 is a rollercoaster of emotions. I enjoyed all the company of the characters and got a few good laughs out of them but this is a very dark episode. The big focus of the story had me in tears and isn’t that what you want from a story, videogame or otherwise, to make you feel something? To make you invested in the characters, to feel the pain of the group and ultimately make you want to want to be better for their sake and not for the sake of some pointless score? I really can’t talk about what makes this episode great as it would ruin it but put it this way; as standalone episode I think this is the best one yet, definitely pick it up.