Telltale’s zombie adventure game is drawing closer to its conclusion with the release of The Walking Dead’s fourth episode. It follows the emotionally charged third episode, The Long Road Ahead. This episode was written by Gary Whitta, a former editor-in-chief of PC Gamer and screenwriter for the movie The Book of Eli. He knows a thing or two about both video games and post-apocalyptic worlds, so expectations were high for this episode.
Lee and the rest of the survivors have been forced away from the safety of their motor-inn and are on the move, searching for not only a safe place to stay but also for the whereabouts of Clementine’s parents. Trust is a major issue between the group’s members, pushing everyone to the brink. Ben is on an impressive streak of failures, Omid is badly injured, Clementine is desperate to find her parents and Kenny will do anything to find a boat and get it on the ocean.
The episode begins with the group having just arrived in the coastal town of Savannah, Georgia. Kenny’s plan is to find a boat and go survive on the water. Savannah was also the town Clementine’s parents were in before the outbreak occurred. Circumstances force the group to take shelter in a house while they argue about what to do. Omid needs medicine for a leg injury while Kenny wants to get a boat on the water as soon as possible. Adding to the tension are several mysterious people that seem to be watching the group from afar, ringing church bells and communicating with them briefly on Clementine’s walkie-talkie.
It doesn’t take long for the group to come into contact with other pockets of survivors. These interactions are always tense as trust is hard to win. Throughout the episode Lee learns about what happened to the city in the wake of the outbreak as he and the rest of the group try to decide on what to do next. While Around Every Corner isn’t as emotionally powerful as The Long Road Ahead, it is far more tense then previous episodes. There are several twists that make already difficult situations even worse. Characters begin to snap as the stress of the situation pushes them too far and the player’s choices as Lee are a delicate balancing act.
Towards the end of the episode the choices made throughout the series begin to show their mark. How Lee has treated individuals is reflected on how they feel about Lee and how much support they are willing to give him. It feels similar how loyalty might work in the Mass Effect series, except that their feelings towards Lee are made gradually as opposed to the binary completion or failure of a loyalty mission. We’ll have to see how everything plays out in the last episode, but it will suffice to say that the end of Around Every Corner is quite dramatic.
While Around Every Corner doesn’t hit the emotional peak of the previous episode, it doesn’t really need to. This episode is simply great in a different way. This episode makes you feel utterly and completely vulnerable. Trust is a major problem, even among your traveling companions. Other groups of survivors behave in a way that makes it difficult to determine if they are friendly or not. Resources are extremely limited, forcing you into action. Oh, and the world is full of flesh eating zombies.
More than any previous episode, Around Every Corner conveys the fear and vulnerability of survivors in a zombie apocalypse. It’s hard to fathom how this series manages to get better and better with every episode. Easily on of the greatest games this generation.
The review copy of this game was provided to Games Are Evil by the publisher.