TellTale Games’, The Walking Dead returns in Episode III: Long Road Ahead. Playing from the actions of the previous episode, you continue on your own uniquely told story though the eyes of Lee Everett. Inspired and based on Robert Kirman’s The Walking Dead comic book series. Does The Walking Dead Episode III still continue to offer the suspense and great narrative like the previous episodes, or is this series running low on steam?
After surviving from the St. Johns dairy farm, the survivors are starting to feel tired and on-edge. After finding some supplies in an abandon car, the group seems well, but underneath it all, the whole group feels broken and the bonds feel loose. Lilly and Kenny are at a breaking point and there is a betrayer within the group. Soon after looking for the betrayer, the group is attacked by bandits and before they know it their former safe haven is now a battleground between them, the bandits, and the walkers. The group finally abandons motor inn. Homeless, their last chance for survival will be a train.
While the plot of this episode is great with narrative and storytelling, this episode is easily predictable. Unlike the previous episodes which had a few twists, episode III’s ‘twist’ can be easily spotted a mile away. While the third entry is great, it is the weakest link so far.
Just like any of the previous Walking Dead episodes, gameplay and story go hand in hand. Gameplay will seamlessly blend into the story – like in Episode III players will shoot to save fellow survivors or fight a friend to bring some sense to them. Much hasn’t changed from the standard formula since the start of these episodes, but it still keeps the player engaged with a variety of dialogue and event choices that will eventually affect the next episode. In The Walking Dead Episode III: Long Road Ahead, the choices feel like they have a small impact; like finding out who the betrayer was or beating the sense out of an ally, but this episode feels more like a calm wind before the impending storm.
Presentation wise, The Walking Dead Episode III still looks like a beautiful interactive comic book. Character models and the environments are detailed and gorgeous to look at – even if there are only two new environments. In Episode III, the frame issue is nearly gone or noticeable, but there are some weird glitches like door animations not functioning right or strange animation movement like Lee’s leg twisting when climbing down a ladder. Thess issues are rare however and thankfully don’t happen all the time. The voice acting on the other hand is still top-notch and believable. The soundtrack feels to take a backseat this time around though.
The Walking Dead Episode III: Long Road Ahead has ended on a good-note and so far, feels more like a relaxing journey before a major pileup. It is still a great episode to experience, but isn’t as great as episode I or II. It still has a major focus on storytelling and it’s clear that your choices in this episode will stir up some emotions in episode IV. If you liked The Walking Dead Episode II: Starved for Helped, you might be a little disappointed that this episode of The Walking Dead took a small step back, but those who are enjoying the season so far will still this episode no less.
Audio/Visual – 4/5: You’ll enjoy the interactive comic book feel The Walking Dead has offer. Characters are still believable, however there are more glitches to be seen in this episode, but fewer frame rate issues.
Gameplay – 4/5: Just like previous episodes, there isn’t much gameplay or actual complex puzzles, instead TellTale Games, The Walking Dead is more about the experience than actual gameplay.
Value – 4/5: There will be a reason to come back to episode 3 of The Walking Dead, may it be choosing different dialogues or saving a different character.
Innovation – 5/5: Ever since episode I, The Walking Dead Episode 3 still offers a nice blend of storytelling and interactive gameplay.
Final Score: 4/5