The Walking Dead Episode 4 – Around Every Corner

TWD
9.8 Overall Score

Great Twists and Turns | Player Decisions Mean More Than Ever | Better Shooting Mechanic

Have to Wait for the Conclusion | Awkward Ax Weilding

Written by on October 25, 2012 in [, , , , , ]

TellTale continues the brutal journey to Savannah Georgia in the latest episode of The Walking Dead. Savannah has long meant salvation for this ragged group of survivors. Their arrival, however, turns sour extremely quickly. The mysteries introduced in previous episodes deepen and new allies as well as enemies emerge.  Penned by screenwriter Gary Whitta (The Book of Eli), this was the episode that promised the biggest surprises. Did the episode deliver on the promise? I will travel the minefield of answering this question without giving anything away.

The group of rag-tag survivors has finally arrived in Savannah Georgia. The group has made their way here based on Kenny’s endless ranting that a boat is the answer to their safety. Lee has the added incentive that young Clementine’s parents may possibly be in the city. Fueled by these desperate hopes the group enters the city to find a gigantic ghost town overrun by zombies. They meet a crazy-strong, parkour-saavy rogue named Molly who reluctantly guides them through the dangerous streets.

Decisions have to be made on how they group plans to distance themselves from the zombie horde, who will continue with the group and who will decide to go their own way. There are threats from the zombies, sure, but Savannah introduces its own threats in the form of an extreme survivalist community walled inside a fortress-like area of town, as well as a mysterious threat specific to Clementine.

 

The story continues to show the human heartache and moral issues that plague a world where death is not an end to the horror. Difficult decisions increase in number and importance as the group nears the end of their journey. This is made even more evident by the extremely short timers introduced for some key decisions. The game does not allow the player to pause and reflect before deciding how to proceed. Players must trust their gut and live or die by the consequences. The story waits until after those decisions are made to craft several poignant moments where the characters must face the truly tragic aspects of the world around them.

Many may wonder if the episodes could get any crazier and my answer is: you won’t believe the end of this one. This game continues to test the player’s moral compass. I found one critical decision so difficult to make that I allowed the timer to decide for me. I also made another split second decision that I know I will regret in the end.

The gameplay is much the same as previous episodes with a couple of key differences. The shooting mechanic has been tweaked a bit in this episode allowing the player to, finally, use the right trigger to shoot some of the evil horde. This is much more intuitive. Sadly those very satisfying moments are followed by a very awkward (but thankfully brief) section where Lee must kill a series of zombies with an ax.

Another new mechanic appears when Lee is forced to bury the dead body of a boy. This tragic scene sets a slow methodical pace by forcing the player to manually place each individual scoop of earth over the poor child. This mechanic stirs a moment of grief for all the pain the group has endured. Further into the episode Clementine starts to change in many ways.

Clementine is a little girl forced to grow up much faster than she should. This episode finds her facing her first kill. Strangely this fact is all but glossed over by the focus on her desire to find her parents and her desire to be a productive part of the group. All of this leads up to an ending that is sure to shock players and shake their foundation more than any previous episode.

The decisions made in this episode will make a bigger difference in the group dynamic than in any previous episode. Who will follow Lee into the final episode? This critical question is answered in dramatic fashion at the finale. The possibilities are many and that is made obvious through the end-game statistics. Even more interesting is the fact that every possible outcome has been reached by roughly ten percent of all other players. This means that you have the same likelihood to reach any one of the many possible outcomes.

This game continues to provide horrific scenarios with gut-wrenching decisions. So buckle up because this story is picking up speed and is screaming into the final episode at terminal velocity.

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Author: Melisa Snyder View all posts by

2 Comments on "The Walking Dead Episode 4 – Around Every Corner"

  1. marnyramirez October 25, 2012 at 10:48 pm - Reply

    Who follows you in the end isn’t a matter of chance, it’s who likes you (the game has been tracking your decisions thus far, after all.) It’s all a matter of what choices you’ve made in the past.

    • Melisa Snyder October 25, 2012 at 11:40 pm - Reply

      You are very correct. The word “chance” was inaccurate. I stated earlier that your choices have never been more important. That is because this episode begins to show the results of all those choices in a very obvious way. It is shown by who chooses to stay with the group. I was trying to make the point that people’s choices where so varied that all of the potential grouping possibilities had been reached by roughly the same percentage of people. In other words there was no obvious clear path taken by the majority of people. I found that very interesting.

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