Telltale's The Walking Dead Season One wraps up in splendidly excruciating heartache. Once again, even in the mad dash finale, you're presented with some tough choices to make in a hurry. Much of your experience in this final episode will be dictated by the decisions you've made leading up to this point, both big and small. Telltale has weaved an engrossing narrative around your small band of survivors and even the tension between Kenny and Ben (if he's still alive) is finally resolved. As for the man behind the radio… well let’s just say someone from your past has come back to haunt you. It isn't the least obvious thing in world but it is a legitimately good twist that exemplifies the rough life of zombie apocalypse survival. Unfortunately, I can't say much more without giving it away.
The game still plays really smooth, and toward the end — as you're racing to Clementine — you might momentarily mistake yourself for being in an action game. You're never pulled out of this episode by faulty controls or frustrated button mashing. Telltale has really come along way with the control design, no more awkward to highlight small items or obsessive clicking to advance your character through the story segment that was evident from Episode One.
The art is still top notch, feeling like it was pulled right from the comic book series. As a standalone story it is exemplary from top to bottom. The dialogue continues to impress. The voice acting by the entire cast continues to be excellent. The captor’s voice coming over the radio is still unbelievably creepy and sounds just familiar enough to keep you guessing. The anguish in Lee’s voice as they navigate the city is soul crushing and to hear Clementine over the radio will break whatever heart you have left.
All of this culminates in a quest to save Clementine before your time runs out. How would you best prepare the world and those she trusts for a life without you? That is a decision that weighs heavily on your mind as you traverse the zombie infested streets of Savannah. You aren't long for this world and in your final moments you have to find Clementine and do your best to make sure she survives after you're gone. The final moments you share with her are some of the most touching moments I've come across in gaming. Before those moments though you have a moment with her captor. Acting as Saint Peter at the gates, he recounts your actions and judges you accordingly. Granted he is nutso, keeping his reanimated wife's head in a bag and talking to it, so don't take his judgment too earnestly.
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The story is emotionally involving and, if you've played the first four episodes in the series, you'll surely follow up with this one. And, if you haven't played it yet, well… you should. It is a wonderful story set in Kirkman's horror universe and it is completely standalone. Telltale wraps everything up nicely in this wonderfully emotional journey through the zombie apocalypse. It is definitely worth your time and money to play this first season in an already extraordinary series.
Dylan Tano has been playing video games since before he could walk. He's scaled castles and rode on the backs of giants. He has lived many lives and will live many more. He revealed himself to be the infamous Spider-Bro on Twitter as @BroSpider.