The Walking Dead: Episode 3 Review

There are a few other points like this, and they sometimes don’t feel quite as intense as they have in the past; one wonders if Telltale has scaled back on some of these challenges on purpose. Personally, I like them a little tougher for the tension.

But it’s the story that pulls you through the episode and the action sequences mesh beautifully with it to keep things moving, as well as keeping you, for the most part, on your guard. And the story of Episode 3 is really keeping up the artillery shelling. The Walking Dead has been tragic all the way through, but things hit an all new level in Episode 3.

It’s a testament to the game Telltale is building that the most arresting moments of the episode are also resonate with a lot of emotion. The characters in the story are powerfully built and fully realized, and when something happens to them, or because of them, we feel it. I said of Episode 2 that Telltale pulls no punches, but in Episode 3, all that are thrown are haymakers.

If there’s a drawback, it’s that you might be able to see more of Telltale’s smoke and mirrors at work in Episode 3. The game’s chief mechanic is in making it feel as though you, the player, are shaping the events of the story through your choices, but while you get to choose what kind of character you are and how others see you, often regardless of what you choose, the story shakes out the same way. In Episode 3, there are quite a few major plot points, and while they’re couched as decisions you’ll be making yourself, the story is set up to go a certain way regardless. That’s a bit more obvious here than in the past, and players might feel as though some of their agency has been pared back.

That’s okay. The group of survivors are a dynamic thing and Telltale balances well the idea that you’re crafting your experience while allowing the group to breathe on its own. Sometimes things aren’t up to you and they’re not in your control. The episode definitely still works, and the moments when it’s at its emotional peak are incredibly powerful. They make up for it.

What I love about The Walking Dead so far is its commitment to being horrifying. It just keeps getting worse for the folks in the game. The story continues to impress. Meanwhile, the rest of the game — the more game-ish parts, if you will — are still doing well to keep players engaged in the action. It may or may not involve a high degree of skill or intense puzzle-solving, but it’s just enough to keep the story moving along and keep players feel like they’re an integral part of it. If only we didn’t have to wait so long for the final two-fifths of the game.

Pros:

  • Story keeps getting better and more intense
  • Action portions remain engaging without getting irritating
  • Lots of great shocks; Telltale continues to raise the emotional stakes

Cons:

  • Your choices don’t feel quite so effective this time out
  • Puzzles are fairly thin and mostly pretty easy
  • Action sequences, while fun, feel like they’ve also been scaled back a bit

Final Score: 88/100

Follow Hornshaw and Game Front on Twitter: @philhornshaw and @gamefrontcom.

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2 Comments on The Walking Dead: Episode 3 Review

Comment

On September 19, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Cool review but bummed theres no video walkthrough of this one :/

Robin

On September 21, 2012 at 3:00 pm

This game is super-fun. The most fun I’ve had with a game for a long time.