Well, Adventure Fans, we have arrived at last, the end of season one of TellTale Games’ The Walking Dead game with the final episode, “No Time Left.” It has been quite the emotional journey so far, can TellTale keep us glued to our screens and controllers as we do what ever it takes for Clementine? Get out your guns and axes, we’re about to lunge straight through the hordes to find out.
“No Time Left” picks up right were we left off from the twist ending of “Around Every Corner” with Lee and Co. on a rescue mission to save Clem from whoever snatched her away from the party. Depending on your actions throughout the series, you may or may not have the group with you at all, and even if you have the group with you, who is with you is also dependent upon your actions in the previous episodes. There is another big twist in this episode which brings in a huge twist and a throwback to previous events that, honestly, I did not see coming at all. Huge props to the writing staff though, this does mark the first time in 25 years+ of gaming that I can honestly remember crying during a game. That’s right folks, I didn’t cry when Aerith died! This game though, it brought me to tears multiple times. I actually had to pause the game because I could not make out the screen at all and I was afraid I’d miss something important, which I almost did! After everything is said and done, the usual “Comparison Card” pops up to show how many other players went the same way you did on your major decisions throughout the episode. After the credits though, you are also treated to a season one post-mortem, if you’ll excuse the term, of how the rest of the major characters fared because of your decisions, letting you see just how good or bad you did as a leader of the group.
Once again, the controls are context sensitive with the reticule changing depending on the hotspot and what needs to be done at the time to solve the puzzles, along with what Lee is currently carrying. There are quite a few more action sequences, along with a great deal higher number of QTE spots to deal with, but most are easily handled and don’t last very long. The shooting bits are a bit more forgiving this time, as it does not force you to a targeting reticule, instead just using the standard interface reticule. Outside of action sequences, you are once again in direct control of Lee as you explore the environs around you to find what is needed to move on. There are a couple of frustrating parts where quick reflexes are really needed to progress, but they don’t last long.
Graphics are also still done in the game’s traditional moving comics format, paying homage to the origins of the series. A lot of the minor graphical glitches seem to have been smoothed out and the gore is again cranked up to the max as you cut a swath of death and dismemberment through Savannah looking for Clementine. Also, along with the big nod to the writers, goes one to the graphics team, as they pulled out all the stops to give us the best human emotional reactions on these characters’ faces as they could and succeeded in pulling us in just on visuals alone. Even with the increased walker count at some points, along with the increased amount of blood and gore, there was no noticeable slowdown in gameplay due to frame drops.
The sound department really came through in this game bringing the right emotional tones through the music when they are needed and making every gross noise sound just right as things get killed or ripped apart. Even the voice actors really brought their A games in this last episode, adding the extra emotional punch to really pull you in and hold you there as they play your heartstrings like a violin. This combination takes what is already a great game and elevates it to legendary status. When you hear Clementine pleading with Lee to pull through and stay with her, you know she really means it. When other members of the group are arguing amongst themselves, you feel their anger boil. I seriously don’t think this game could have been any good at all without the actors breathing life into the characters the way they have.
With this episode, our season one roller-coaster is at an end, but even getting to the station after the last few flips, you almost feel as though the ride might never come into the station in one piece. I know I almost didn’t. If you have not played this series yet, you are really missing out. The only reason you should not have been playing already is that you are waiting for the collector’s edition to come out later this year. I got this for free thanks to a review code provided by TellTale, but I am STILL going to buy it in the collector’s edition, just because it is THAT good! Bravo, TellTale! Here’s to seeing what season two has in store!