The newest Walking Dead episode is enjoyably tense, but a more formulaic script and a greater focus on action make Around Every Corner weaker than its predecessors.
- Loads of tension and a cliff-hanger ending
- Atmospheric visuals and fantastic voice acting.
- It's hard to care about the new cast of characters
- A few technical problems.
Guts and gore hit new heights in the penultimate episode of The Walking Dead. Around Every Corner sees you shooting, stomping, and axing in the head more of the shambling piles of stink than in the three previous games combined, but this astounding level of carnage does not make for a very interesting escapade into the postapocalyptic zombie wasteland. While trying to flee the hungry dead is still terrifying enough to mess with your sleep, both the scripting and characterization are hit-and-miss. Where the preceding games were more notable for their moral choices than for their tight plots, this is a more formulaic drama that chugs along with the expeditious goal of setting everything up for a big finish. (Note: the following review contains information that could be considered spoilers for previous episodes.)
The drama picks up where things left off at the conclusion of the previous episode, Long Road Ahead. The gang has arrived in Savannah, Georgia, with the goal of securing a boat and sailing off to sunnier shores. As in the previous three games, the lead character is Lee Everett, a convicted murderer who is finding his redemption in serving as a surrogate father for a little girl named Clementine. Other members of the group include resident jerk Kenny, awkward high-school kid Ben, an old guy named Chuck, and two other people you met at the end of episode three. In addition to this crew, you team up with some newcomers, including a couple of survivors from a cancer support group living in a morgue, and a hoodie-clad ninja who jumps around building tops like a superhero and wields a climber's pick the way Michonne from the comic series wields her sword.
All of these characters present a real problem. There are too many of them, and not one is given much screen time. It's hard to care about anyone aside from the core power trio of Lee, Clem, and Kenny, who have been with the game from the beginning and are easily the most fully fleshed-out characters. Ben is a one-note imbecile. All of the promise of guitar-playing drifter Chuck (how has he survived on his own? what's his real story?) is abandoned. The young couple is so unrelentingly beige that it's tough to remember their names. The newcomers are here-today-chomped-tomorrow temps who have about as much impact on the plot as a red-shirt-clad nobody in an old Star Trek episode. Only the ninja makes any sort of impression, but even she exits abruptly and without explanation, leaving her to seem like nothing but a zombie-slaying plot device.
Now it's down to rooting for Lee and Clem, waiting for Kenny to implode, and nodding at new plot points involving a miniature fascist state in a neighborhood of Savannah, and trying to find out who has been chatting with Clementine over her walkie-talkie. None of it is all that interesting, however, largely because there is a real rush to get everything resolved because the end is approaching fast. Plot lines that could have been the focus of entire episodes are wrapped up prematurely, adding to the feeling that the game is just trying to quickly cover ground.
Game design has some weaknesses, as well. Push-button action sequences have been multiplied. Combat has you blowing away zombies on such a regular basis that they don't seem all that intimidating anymore. In the previous episodes, zombie attacks were mostly rare and startling. Here, there is a lot of combat, including a few sequences where you go Rambo. You gun down whole undead gangs with shots to the head on a couple of occasions, and you even hack and smash your way through a pack of zombies on a stairwell at one point. This episode plays out more like a game than its predecessors because of all this action. You get hemmed in on a few occasions, but it's hard to get worked up about getting chomped after seeing how Lee can take down six or seven zombies with a pistol in mere moments.
After the end of this episode... I honestly don't have much hope for a happy ending here. Dammit TellTale, stop getting me attached to all these awesome characters.
But anyway, I'm honestly finding myself much more engrossed in the game's story than the TV series, nicely done.
i must say, 7.0? this was actually maybe one of my favorite episodes. the story may have been "formulaic" but it was pulled of very well. can't wait for the finale:)
People really don't seem to care about spoiling it for the others who haven't played it yet. Would you all mind shutting the f up? Thanks. ;)
@BrazilianBud Also got it spoiled for me in the comments :( The episode was still intense as hell though.
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I still haven't forgiven ???Telltale for killing Carley... but desperately looking forward to Episode 5 nonetheless.
It's actually about time they added more action. I'm not a shooter fanboy that thinks everything needs constant shooting, but with the way they've been building the suspense with each episode, it would make sense for the last few episodes to have more intense action sequences. Just so everyone knows, they just announced that they're releasing all five episodes on disc on December 4th.
Are the graphics improved? Perhaps it's the just size of the screenshots but I have graphics on max on my PC and it doesn't seem to look as good as these screenshots.
@Sefrix TellTale has pretty terrible art, you just have to get use to it.
You do know this game ain't about graphics? @Sefrix
the best, and dare i say,the most intense and depressing episode at the moment. though i kinda agree with some of the new characters not getting much "screen time" (most notably, chuck).
ohh, the drama, I love this game, I got up just to drink some water.
I can't wait for the last episode.
(twists and turns, enough action, lots of drama, tough decisions)
Oh, and "action-packed"? Thanks to about 4 shooting sequences with less than 15 seconds each, out of a 3-hour episode? Seriously? Even if other episodes had none of these, calling this one "action-packed" is a glaring hyperbole.
Bah, this is the best episode of the bunch as far as writing is concerned, and by a good mile.
Just finished playing it and couldn't help thinking someone would find it to be less memorable than 2 and 3 thanks to it being less... Drastic in tone and decisions. And here we are. But one of the (very, VERY) criticisms I had towards episodes 2 and 3 was that it seemed the writers thought good drama is made of chaining tragedy after tragedy, and that the plot wouldn't really advance in any meaningful way if they kept trying to 'out-shock' themselves. The last part of Episode 3 suffered because of this - with a lot of people dead and no time to start integrating the new characters into Lee's crew.
Episode 4 did what needed to be done: get the series on track by making use of the full range of human emotions besides despair. What this reviewer calls 'formulaic' actually means that episode 4 used proven plot techniques to remind us that real despair only comes when you have faith/hope on something, and that shock value only goes so far. For example, the hardest decision in this episode is not about killing or maiming someone, as often happened before, but about whether you (and I mean YOU, the PLAYER) should set aside your own feelings about someone to do what seems to be best/right to that someone. It was a necessary step-up for a game full of gut-wrenching decisions already.
And the new characters not endearing? People have already pointed out how memorable Molly is, bur seriously, you really didn't warm out on the doctor who runs a group of people with cancer and risked his life to help a stranger out of principle (at least at first)? Also, about "the ninja" going away... It is glaringly obvious, considering what she says and how the episode ends after her departure, that she'll be back in the last one - and I won't be surprised if she becomes a love interest to our protagonist.
Seriously, I wonder how far the story can deviate at this point that the reviewer would not see all this. Not complaining about the score, this is about the writing. I feel this is the most solid writing in the series to date, and one of the best I've ever seen in a game. Bioware has nothing on this episode, for example.
@RealFabioSooner how exactly would the protaganist, having just been scratched, be her love interest?
loved this EP and this whole series so far what a great experience TellTell has put together..cant wait for the next one
@q-bert39 Wow, did you even read the review? Bet you wouldn't call his reviews on the previous episodes bad because they got higher scores.
@q-bert39 Everything the reviewer stated was true, if you bothered to actually read it. He just happened to dislike some of the things you liked, thus the lower score.
Instead of making snarky comments, you could actually explain your viewpoint. But I guess that would require being rational and not a complete toolbag.
I don't have a favorite episode.... the full game as an experience has been epic, my favorite game since Dragon Age: Origins.
I'm torn between whether I like episode 2 or 4 the most. Both were so intense and had so many unexpected scenes.
@scout7 I always felt 3 was the most Walking Dead-ish.The raw pain, loss and sadness is what the comic is all about, and Ep. 3 captured that perfectly.
@neosantana the third was my least favorite episode because it wasn't executed properly. The death scenes were more towards shock value. There was not enough feeling of emotional loss. Oh Carly is dead lets just move on and not talk about it.
I thought this episode was more intense and enjoyable than the last episode which got an 8.5 I believe.
Another bad review from Gamespot...not surprising.
Lately every game they dislike I like and vice versa.
@rah_xephon23 7/10 is not bad for crying out loud... lower than most would have expected given the past ratings. The review fairly justified this person's reasoning as to why it got the score it did.
What? A seven means they dislike a game? You realize that means they think it's good, right?
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@Gelugon_baat All the new characters get killed off or go their own way. They belonged to other groups in the first place and never would have fit into Lee's group.
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@Gelugon_baat They aren't red shirts, but they are like a really good guest star that has a couple of episodes on a tv show. You are introduced to their background story and what happens in their city. The characters they introduced could essentially have their own walking dead series.
@Gelugon_baat there is no escaping gelugon_baat on gamespot now is there?
I loved this episode.
Hard to care for the new cast of characters? What about Molly? Probably my favorite character of the whole game after Lee and Clem.
About some of the characters not as developped. Sometimes people don't stick around that long. Do we really need all the characters to be fleshed out and die tragically in slow mo? Some times they don't stick around for long. And I actually like that.
About the zombie moments. There was bound to be a more action packed episodes. And zombies were never a real threat when alone and you saw them coming. If you fight them one by one, it's obviously going to be easier then when one surprises you and push you on the ground.
Anyways, this was a great chapter for me. The pace was faster, it needed to be, we saw a LOT more of the city than we did in whatever areas we were before. There were interesting twists and the cellar moment blew my mind.
Can't wait for ep5. Please come fast ! No delays please TTG !
I thought the episode was pretty good. The increased focus on combat and gunplay really wracked up the tension on my nerves. Since the previous episodes were fairly zombie-lite, with a heavier focus on intra-group relationships, being constantly barraged with zombies this time around constantly had me feeling on edge.
The section in the school was especially bad for my nerves, having to pass that door with the zombies banging on it a half dozen times. I kept having flashbacks to the hallway with the attack dogs in the original Resident Evil.
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