The Walking Dead Series created by Telltale Games will be remembered for providing one of the best emotionally driven narratives, the world of gaming has ever seen. Telltale has continuously captured the true essence of the Walking Dead universe, providing gamers with a memorable experience with a bleak future. Episode 5 “No Time Left” continues this trend by making all your choices from previous episodes matter, making this one of the most personal journeys I have ever encountered. This fitting finale exceeded my expectations, providing an ending I will not soon forget. I am Lee Everett, and I will save Clementine at any cost.
In a way all four episodes were stepping stones to our final chapter, every single decision you have made, and every single choice along the way were all leading to this conclusion. Episode 5 makes all these decisions matter, in a way that makes sense and doesn’t feel forced. The tough choices don’t end there; the choices in this episode will leave many with completely different experiences when the credits roll. These tough choices will make you second guess yourself and then rethink them once again, this is one of the greatest attributes of the series. Choices are never laid out in a way that tells you which is considered the good thing, or the bad course of action to take. Everything in the world is morally grey and Walking Dead allows you to create the story that really portrays who you are as a person, this deep personal connection with the narrative makes every story element that much harder to decide.
“No Time Left” will shock you, it will give you adrenaline, and it will create some intense moments and almost certainly provide you with a lump in your throat. We know how much Lee cares about Clementine; it is his duty to protect her, our duty as a player. Never have I felt the way I have about an NPC like I do in The Walking Dead, Lee is willing to put everything on the line to save this little girls life and I as a player, feel the exact same way. I play the Walking Dead as if I was there, acting the way I would act if I was put in these desperate and dire situations.This relationship between Lee and Clementine is one of the strongest I have ever experienced, and episode 5 allows that relationship to be the main focus of the narrative. This is appreciated, sure I love my fellow survivors, but in the end it is Lee and Clem that steal the show with their gorgeous interaction and heartfelt moments. Without spoiling the episode for anyone, the ending left me messed up, never have I been in an emotional wreck from a game like this one. That isn’t a bad thing; it just emphasizes just what amazing job Telltale has been able to accomplish.
Everything in episode 5 feels better than the previous episodes; the voice acting throughout the episode is the best of the series. The desperation in characters voices, the feelings of regret, sadness and redemption all come across brilliantly. Talking is a major factor in this episode, as our characters try to figure out how to tackle the situation at hand, there will be confrontations and many characters will reminisce upon previous decisions. Since the voice work is so natural and well done, it becomes a pleasure to hear the banter between survivors.
In the music department, this episode also provides the best of the series. The use of the musical score to build up our emotions works very well and during one section, there is no music at all, allowing for some dialog to really hit home. These factors allow “No Time Left” to really portray the emotional finale Telltale intended.
The narrative is really the main focus of episode 5, with all the events of previous episodes leading to this final instalment. In that sense the gameplay is pretty much mirroring previous episodes, with W,A,S,D all use to explore the small world environments given to you before you move forward through the game. You still interact with objects in the usual sense, but the puzzles elements are very easy. It seems obvious Telltale wanted to allow you to continue on your journey, without being slowed down by difficult puzzles or fetch quests, unlike episode 4. Gameplay in certain sections become very action orientated, they are desperate and you will mash that Q key with every fibre of your body to survive. These action sequences provide the sense of desperation brilliantly and will eventually lead to you conducting some violent actions, these actions really made me think. Once I sat back and realised what I had done, I knew what I did was justified. Maybe even deep down I felt good about what had taken place; because I knew what I had done was for the greater good and not for personal gain, in a world like this that has to count for something.
Episode 5 is not without its problems though, the typical frame rate drops and minor game freezes before some events are still apparent. They seemed to be less frequent than they have in previous cases, but they are still noticeable. They are no deal breaker to the experience and mostly you will be so enthralled by the journey you find yourself invested in, that they don’t affect the overall product. There was one certain key moment in my story that I was not particularly thrilled about, without spoiling for those who want to play episode 5 fresh it is hard to explain. But I feel like this certain aspect could have been approached differently, it does make sense for the character, but I feel there could have been better ways to portray the moment. This didn’t make me like the narrative any less, but it did leave me wondering how things could have been done differently.
The Walking Dead series will be remembered for years to come, setting the standard for interactive storytelling, the emotional gaming experience and really showcasing how a licensed product can be one of the best games of the year. This is one journey I cannot recommend enough; it does the Walking Dead universe justice in every way possible and is one of the best games of 2012, hands down. With such a memorable cast of characters, with such strong bonds between one another, Telltale makes you care about their wellbeing. Lee and Clementine are one of my favourite duos in the industry, and their unforgettable journey was one that I will hold dear for years to come.
Telltale has created a masterpiece, one that you owe yourself to experience. This bleak world is full of terrible people, shocking events and emotional outcomes. But it’s created in such a way that you will want to experience them, over and over again.
+ Fitting Finale
+ Character Driven Narrative
+ Choices Matter
+ Emotional Conclusion
- Frame Rate Issues
- Minor Game Freezes
Jamie Briggs manages Analog Addiction where you can find all his latest reviews, interviews and features and also like them on Facebook. Also follow his daily life on Twitter @AnalogAddiction and their videos on YouTube.