Review: The Walking Dead: No Time Left (PC, 360, PS3, iOS)

Telltale’s The Walking Dead has been one of the biggest surprises of the year. The adventure game studio acquired the rights to The Walking Dead even before the television show propelled the original comic books to their current popularity. While Telltale’s other recent efforts haven’t been met with as much critical acclaim as they’d like, The Walking Dead has been a worldwide sensation. It has thus far been praised for its decision-based gameplay and emotional story. No Time Left is the final episode of the season, wrapping up the story that gamers have been enduring since April.

The fourth episode, Around Every Corner, ended on quite the cliffhanger. No Time Left picks up immediately where the story left off. Saying any more than that would be a big spoiler for those who haven’t played, but it would suffice to say that Lee is in a tight spot. He is working against the clock and must make some life-altering decisions. How this plays out, as ever, depends on a combination of the decisions you make “in the moment” and those you’ve made throughout past episodes. The first few minutes can be some of the most graphic and traumatic of the series thus far.

From there the game goes on a series of “wrap-ups” as the characters make their way towards the hotel where Clementine’s parents were supposed to be. These wrap-ups are based on decisions the player made in previous episodes and will vary in how they’re played out. In the end all paths will lead to the same ultimate conclusion, with a possible setup for decisions you’ve made to carry into season 2. Overall the episode is shorter then its predecessors, but it’s still a very intense conclusion tailored to the player’s personal story.

If you’ve played previous episodes, rest assured that the series stays strong right to the end. The final scene is one of the most emotionally gripping scenes in the series, and that says a lot. If you haven’t started the series yet, you should. The Walking Dead is the most emotionally powerful game of the year, maybe even the generation. Games like this are rarely made and even then they rarely succeed on this level.

A retail edition of the game will be released in early December for those who missed the series the first time around. I wouldn’t recommend playing through in one sitting, though. (Additional note: Some players have reported save game bugs when stopping playing an episode partway through and attempting to resume later, so you might wish to play each episode in its entirety rather than over several sessions. Also check out our READ.ME column on the subject of this game from the other week — Pete)

A short but powerful conclusion to one of the year’s best games — a must-play for those with the emotional fortitude.

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