The Walking Dead: Episode 5 - No Time Left Review

The Walking Dead series shambles to a brief but moving conclusion that doesn't quite live up to the gruesome brilliance of earlier chapters.

It may have started with a hungry growl, but The Walking Dead adventure game series goes out with a soft groan in No Time Left. The fifth and final episode in the adventure franchise based on the Robert Kirkman-created graphic novels closes off the saga of Lee Everett and friends with a tearjerker of a conclusion that is suitably gloomy and moving, if not entirely satisfying when compared to the gory brilliance of the preceding chapters. The story veered off track in the last episode, losing a fair bit of steam after the introduction of an offputting new plot device--and the whole thing comes to a halt in this brief final act that lacks the devastating impact of the earlier episodes, despite more than a few heartbreaking moments. (Note: The following text includes information that could be considered minor spoilers for The Walking Dead series.)

Walkers be a-walkin'.

No Time Left picks up where its predecessor, Around Every Corner, left off. Episode four ended with the ragtag gang of zombie apocalypse survivors stuck in Savannah, Georgia, after the notion of securing a boat and heading out to the undead-free high seas didn't work out as planned. Plucky ragamuffin Clementine is still missing, the victim of an abduction that concluded the preceding episode.

The abduction still feels tacked on, a phony way to take things back to the beginning when it was just Lee and Clem on their own. The plot has moved off on a tangent, with a new villain and a corny chase for a missing child that is miles removed from the brutal focus on survival that made the first three episodes so engrossing. The narrative flow feels forced. Too many core characters have died, and it feels like the game is being brought to a close largely because this is the final episode, not because the story is coming to a natural ending.

Aspects of No Time Left also play fast and loose with the premise that the game responds to your actions, although the game varies enough based on how you play that you may or may not see any given inconsistency. At the start of play, for instance, you head out after Clementine with a buddy or four, depending on how good you've been getting along with everyone. But after some quick scenes, you might wind up back at square one, and a group that may have just told you to get lost could immediately offers to pitch in and help find your little buddy.

It's been that kind of day for Lee.

Personalities and motivations can be thrown out the window, depending on the course you pursue. A previously selfish Kenny might suddenly grow a conscience, forgiving a fellow survivor for kicking off a tragic chain of events, and then risk his life to play hero. Yet the scenario might be much more organic should you have taken a different path in previous episodes. In that case, Kenny's motivations are a much more realistic blend of tough-guy bravado and self-importance, which is consistent with how he's behaved throughout the series. You might also witness some touching moments with Kenny when he finally must confront his own selfishness. Some of these conversations also flesh out the characters of Omid and Christa, who were previously as dull as dishwater.

Everything moves at a frenetic pace. You can zip through this episode in little more than an hour or so, less time than it takes to complete any previous episode. Part of the speed comes from the lack of challenge in the quick-choice combat and button-mashing action sequences. Nothing should require more than a single attempt, save a fight near the end of the game with a gun-wielding nutcase.

There isn't a great deal to look at or listen to, either. Visuals are limited, mainly because most of the game takes place in just a few rooms and on a couple of narrow streets crowded with zombies. The game does a great job of making you feel hemmed in by undead, though. Crowds of the shambling stinkers pack the streets, alleys, and homes of Savannah. You can always hear them groaning away, and even when you are safely indoors, they are sometimes visible right outside, shuffling past windows as an ever-present threat. The Xbox 360 edition suffers once again from a murky color palette (though this problem is less drastic than before), and the PS3 version gets occasionally choppy, but the production values are largely identical across platforms.

Shambling horrors and empty hallways.

Dialogue might be somewhat restricted, largely due to the ever-shrinking supporting cast, though you may still experience moving, in-depth conversations depending on the composition of your group. The conversations that you do have seem to have been speeded up. Less time is available to choose answers, because you're hustling for reasons that are clear if you played episode four. There are some great moments in the script, however, particularly a gruesome surgical sequence that recalls events from the graphic novel.

The voice acting also remains superb. The acting and dialogue are better here than in the last couple of episodes, in spite of the inconsistent characterizations. Characters get along better here than they did earlier, and there is more depth and nuance to their lines. This is especially true with Kenny, who is much more rational now in comparison with the whining caricature of the last two episodes. Omid and Christa share more of the spotlight during the search for Clem, too, which makes them finally seem like worthwhile additions to the cast.

All aboard!

The finale makes an attempt to tie the game's villain to earlier events, but the explanations aren't solid enough to make his actions plausible. The character feels like a deus ex machina figure plopped in to assess Lee's failings as a human being and look back at the whole bloody mess that has unfolded since the dead woke up absolutely starving. This angle was awkwardly shoehorned in as a big surprise at the end of episode three and never properly integrated into the plot, which was previously doing just fine by concentrating on evading zombies and finding an escape route via sailing away from Savannah. The villain is creepy, at least, and a nifty scene following the credits brings everything to a suitably uncertain conclusion that is either heartwarming or downright spooky. Either way, the stage is aptly set for a second series.

No Time Left provides a fulfilling sense of closure to this first series of Walking Dead episodes, even while it strays from the story and characters that were developed in the earlier episodes. After starting strongly with three fantastic chapters, the plot got derailed once the group reached Savannah in episode four and never fully regained its momentum. Still, the complete package of five episodes forms a great adventure when looked at in its entirety. The whole game features memorable characters, countless scenes packing big emotional wallops, and plenty of grisly gross-out horror, so it has to be highly recommended despite a few stumbles near the finish line.

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The Good
Closing scene finishes off the story in heart-wrenching fashion
Claustrophobic atmosphere with hordes of zombies all around you
Some great moments with the script and voice acting
The Bad
Shortest episode of the series, clocking not much more than an hour
Disappointing final confrontation
7.5
Good
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About the Author

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Shaun McInnis is a veteran of the zombie apocalypse and Telltale's The Walking Dead ranks as one of his all-time favorites in the genre. He would prefer to pretend that The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct never existed.
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11 comments
rickphoenixxx
rickphoenixxx

The whole idea of having your main character(Lee) choose to cut his arm off makes you think he will survive at the end because you know, he CUT HIS ARM OFF TO STOP THE SPREAD. That is enough to ruin the game for me, as it is a cheap tactic to keep you hopeful and moving forward which should have never happened. I would have stopped playing after Lee got bit anyways because I didn't give a flip about anyone BUT Lee's character so Telltale sure did trick me! BUT he dies at the end anyways, so Clementine(an annoying worthless character) can lead up the next series of games as a protagonist.  A horrid final act can ruin any good game/movie/interactive adventure.

dmblum1799
dmblum1799

It was too short but this episode is very story focused. I was devastated at the end because - well, if you play you'll know. Very few games had the emotional impact of this one (Last of Us I'm looking at you).


Good luck Clementine!

dmblum1799
dmblum1799

I should add when people talk about story telling. this was a game I played very quickly not just because of the gameplay, which was good. It was like when you get a full season Breaking Bad (or Walking Dead) DVDS.


You just have to know how it will turn out. It's a page turner.

Koyira
Koyira

Wow! Is just finished the game and i really had tears in my eye at the end, you know what will happen but even so it was very emotional for me. Props for the voice actress that did Clementine, i really got attached to the character and how stupid it may sound i did my best to give her as much tlc as i could :)
Most definitely the best point and click game out there and and for sure a place in my personal top 10 and ive played shit loads of games the past 25 years :)

shermenz1
shermenz1

My god... This game...
I just finished episode 5.
I don't know what the reviewer above me wrote, and it doesn't matter.
This was one of the best games I've ever played. Finally, FINALLY a game that sticks to the storytelling, and dear lord what a story does it tell...

Telltale took my emotions in their hands and played on them like a violin. Some gruesome parts had me breaking a cold sweat, I smiled at heart warming scenes, and literary had watery eyes at the ending scene.

This is a game that will stick with me for a long long time after today. I am absolutely thrilled   that game companies like Telltale exist, thank you very much for creating this master piece.
Thank you.

sTyLnK
sTyLnK

How was the ending disappointing Brett Todd? Lee was bitten in episode 4, you knew this was coming. The thing is, you weren't truly prepared for what Telltale threw at you at the end. It was probably one, if not the most emotionally draining ending ever in a video game. No game has ever focused so much on storytelling to the point where you become attached to a character or characters. The Walking Dead has it's flaws, especially with the lag depending on what version you're playing, but overall Telltale proved that with brilliant writing, top notch voice acting  and attention to character detail, you don't need an insane budget to get people's attention. The Walking Dead might not be for everyone, but what it does have is powerful storytelling and that's something that has truly been missing in gaming for years. Heavy Rain is a very similar style of game, the problem is it came and went and that was that. Telltale has changed the landscape of adventure gaming to the point where it's here to stay. Like I said, it's not for everyone and everyone has a different opinion, but anyone who stuck it out for all 5 episodes can at least agree and see as to why it's gotten such high marks from the majority, Brett Todd/Gamesport excluded.

DuaneDog
DuaneDog

I got the entire 5 episodes during a steam sale. Certainly one of the best point-and-click adventure games I've played when all five episodes played back to back. I do think I would have been disappointed to have been waiting a month or more after episode 4 to then play a very short episode 5... that would seriously change my perception. As it is however I think The Walking Dead is a must play 'game'... not for the gameplay but for the story and how you feel about the characters. The only adventure that has come close IMO is The Beast Within and that was ages ago.

Swedenik
Swedenik

I have a question. How much are each of the episodes from the PSN store?

NoX_81
NoX_81

I thought it was fantastic climax and Lee's final exchanges with Clem and the ultimate demise of the original group was emotional and sad. There was loads of tension and i thought the final confrontation was great, i actually felt really tense when struggling with that guy, like i HAD to stop him and take no chances with him. The fact the guy was just a normal guy who had lost so much and been tipped over the edge was yet another fantastic example of how the series (TV, comic, and game) explores the human condition and how humans lose their humanity and logic when society and morality start to collapse, especially when they endure so much. I think that's a point the previous comment by JIMBEAN5 has missed in his incoherent rant about 'dumb' deaths and character behaviour.

 

Some people complained about the episode 3 deaths but it was shocking to see and totally unexpected and changed the group dynamics (even though i hated Carly dying, it worked). I always backed Lilly, liked Carly and Kenny too so i felt Lee's desperation at being caught in the middle of Lilly and Kenny and how down he must have felt at Lilly killing Carly and then ultimatley losing her too. That for me was the beggining of the end because the group was losing strong people but that's what made me connect with Lee more and the desperation of the whole situation. I applaud the writers and tell tale games for what has been an exceptional game that has not needed 'great' graphics to tell one of the best and most heart wrenching tales in modern gaming. I look forward to a series 2 and hope I see Clem and some of the surviving cast again.

 

 

jimbean5
jimbean5

i keep reading the 32 comments and most of them seem to say how they grew so attached to the chacters.well lets look back at all of the chacters deaths. ( and theres alot of hem) first episode-they were pretty good moments in regards to the death of a chacter. second. if you help lilly and perform cpr on larry fast enough his lips stat to move in other words larry dies because kenny acted to fast. thats dumb. thrid episode- lilly shoots carley in the face because carley called lilly a   b!$%h or pota,dumb. katjaa shoots herself in the head because duck turned into a walker, although i understand why she did, but still dumb. fourth- althouh chucks death was not dumb but how he was surounded by walkers then somhow found his way into the sewers were you later find him, dumb. and fifth one- ben falls to his death, dumb. kenny pretty much (like his wife) kills himself, right after he gives a speech about NOT KILLING YOURSELF, dumb. and oh yeah lee dies REALLY DUMB. so in other words every chacters death was f*%$#^g dumb. so im with who ever wrote this article. loved the game till the last episode and probley and this hurts me to say this because ive been a diehard zombie fan since shaun of the dead, i probley wont buy the next season if there is one especially if tell tale makes it and with out  doubt they will.. and also clementine would of had to drag a passout lee into the last room lee was alive in in order for them to even be in the room first off tht would be imposible for her to do so even if he is missing a arm so you guessed it DUMB DUMB and DUMB could of been a great game but due to being lazy with the chacters it sadley wasnt. but with all that said it seems its  only me and the guy who wrote the article who thinks so

Tocofool
Tocofool

I felt the final confrontation was great and real! the villain was just a normal guy who wanted revenge for the bad things pain Lee and his group did to him and his famiy...it was deep must better than some random villain who is evil with no back story like most zombie game villains.

jjonez
jjonez

I thought Rick's group had it bad but Lee's group is just plan sadness...no smiles in the world of "The Walking Dead"

d33pak001
d33pak001

Ep 2 and 3 were the strongest

Had a lot of fun but the problem was that they killed too many in the third chapter....

So thats y i thought the the last 2 werent much fun coz they were all new characters who werent all that fun and u couldnt easily connect to them...

Also I think the ending was very dissapointing for what it was....

But au total a very strong game...8.5 for me

timmerous
timmerous

I've really liked this series, but my problem with it has been the failure to implement your choices to have any real impact. I expected to run with different people based on my decisions after I had read what Telltale said about choices made throughout the episodes meaningfully impacting the story.

 

However it seems that by the time episode 2 had been released Telltale realised the amount of work required to follow that implied path was too much work for the team to keep around a monthly schedule which just wasn't profitable. a few minor SPOILERS ahead so don't read on if you haven't played the series (although you really should keep away from message boards if that's the case).

 

In Episode 2 you choice of who to save from episode 1 is skirted around by making them a minor character (although this is the most they do for any choice). Episode 3 basically reset all your meaningful choices and the choice at the end of episode 4 is quickly erased in episode 5 so you are left with a few minor changes here and there (the odd line of dialogue changes and one scene changes based on a decision in episode 4). This is stark contrast to the implication decisions in episode 1 will have meaningful consequences.

 

Episode 5 was a disappointment because no matter what you did the same sequence of events occur in almost the same way to the point that if you didn't take part in taking the car supplies in episode 2 the event in episode 5 that follows on from that still happens, but feels like really poor story telling.

 

Episode 5 was way too short and felt like it wanted to rush to the ending scene since that was where all the emotional power came from, the rest was just filler and generally poorly implemented filler at that with things not making a whole lot of sense. As a score for the episode I think 7.5 may be a little generous in some respects contrary to what a lot of people seem to be saying here. If you score the series as a whole though it may feel a little low in that context, although given my issues throughout this journey I'd be inclined not to go much higher than that with the hopes the second season at least gives our choices some meaning in the end.

megadeth1117
megadeth1117

This is what happens when you outsource your reviews to random journalists. 

ao28
ao28

Even though it is the shortest episode, I do believe it was the best one. The intensity was extremely high and I have never been more emotional during a game or even a movie. As gut wrenching and horrifying the ending was (it also made me cry), I would not have it any other way. Almost all of your choices are at least mentioned in this episode, even little dialogue choices. What I thought of shortly after was how this was the complete opposite of the mass effect 3 ending. While both are amazing games, mass effect, while it is an excellent game, completely botched the ending, as none of your choices matter and I felt like I did not get a full conclusion. Walking Dead was also an amazing game, but the end was its best moment. pretty impressive for 5 episodes at 5 bucks a piece. Can't wait for season 2!

zintarr
zintarr

I have not played the game but I gave up on Gamestop reviews years ago because they stink like smelly ass.

Daavpuke
Daavpuke

It seems many people are of the opinion that having a moving story excuses you for not having a game inside. I wasn't at all pleased that the fifth episode is a movie, with slight gameplay elements funneling players towards the end it so desperately wanted to latch on to our emotions. Yes, it did move us all to tears, but Ep5, in its own merit, is by far the poorest of the bunch. Decent enough review, though personally, I would've judged it even harsher.

Bayonetta2013
Bayonetta2013

This guy was the wrong reviewer. Clearly they didn't discuss it at all to get a consensus, because I seriously doubt everyone could agree on a 7.5 

Really? This was easily the best episode thus far, and the "final confrontation" with both the campman, walkers, AND Clementine herself was designed beautifully, and I loved/hated every minute of it. It's a short episode, but so what? Lee has no time left and it's still an hour of better quality you get from most games these days. It's also only $5, an incredible price for one of the greatest games of all times.

mahdisnake09
mahdisnake09

i totally agree with the review this was the worst one of the episodes i think ep 2 get's the best title in the whole season :P

 

kaspiscbb
kaspiscbb

Probably on of the best games I have ever played. And my review is definetly 9.5, because of amazing atmosphere. Although the end was not so stunning. Overall series were absolutely amazing, that they almost made me cry.

armin2006ahr
armin2006ahr

This episode was short because No Time Left!!!

tyler_lynn
tyler_lynn

THIS is my Game Of The Year. No game has ever brought out so much emotion in me as this one, nor has one made me cry like this. This is what gaming is missing nowadays.

bizzySGS
bizzySGS

I'm not gonna lie.I'm a 19 year old guy and I cried like a b1tch near the end of the game.

zbarfbag
zbarfbag

wow the time it took to beat does not even matter... i was yelling cussing and throwing things cuz of how awesome this episode was... i sat with my hands on my head after the credits just thinking about everything i did up until that point...im going to say as a whole its game of the year and this is the perfect way to end it

armin2006ahr
armin2006ahr

I love the end of this great game, it's best end I've ever seen, I couldn't stop crying!

zeroreloaded
zeroreloaded

7.5? gtfo gamespot, this is probably one of the greatest episodes in the season and i'm not even mad that this was short.

vunacar
vunacar

I disagree with the review, I think this is a fantastic finale of the series. While I would agree that is short, I also must say it offers much more replay value than previous games, due to numerous branching decisions and consequences from previous games.

PeterDuck
PeterDuck

Just finished it

Pretty morbid but epic

The Walking Dead: A Telltale Games Series More Info

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    The Walking Dead: A Telltale Games Series is a zombie game that lets players experience the true horror and emotional impact of being a survivor of the undead apocalypse.
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