Ep. 4: Around Every Corner - 'Point-and-Click Perfection'
The Walking Dead: The Game - Episode 4 carries the torch of what has become a valid, thrilling episodic point-and-click adventure. In this penultimate chapter, the remaining survivors reach their destination: the coastline of Savanna, Georgia. Savanna, however, doesn't take kindly to strangers. Lured by the prospects of hope and survival, players watch and experience Lee getting pulled deeper into a tragedy that is seemingly impossible to survive but absolutely enthralling to follow.
All roads to this point have pointed to Savanna. Kenny has been pushing for the coast since Episode 1, and the last known location of Clementine's parents was Savanna. Before arriving, Savanna was a mecca; the last remaining thing for the survivors to believe in. What they find in Episode 4: Around Every Corner, however, is closer to Sodom and Gomorrah. Savanna seems to be at odds with the group. A strange man tricks Clementine into trusting him; the only seaworthy boat is missing vital parts; someone is using church bells to rile zombies in the survivors' vicinity, and the city has been picked clean of supplies by a stronghold formed by elitist survivors. This stronghold, Crawford, only allows able-bodied people to join. No children, injured or infirm may enter or stay. But, to get what the group needs for the boat, they have to take it from Crawford.
Making matters worse, the group is coming apart. One group member takes ill, another crumbles under the weight of his own guilt, and trust is generally at an all-time low. To the credit of the developer, Telltale Games, the tension is palpable. If the group was a frayed rabble before The Walking Dead: The Game - Episode 4, the group now dips into full-fledged dysfunction.
With everything going on in Savanna, Telltale sets the table for serious fireworks, and Episode 4 doesn't disappoint. From beginning to end the group goes through a gauntlet of challenges. The group gets some much needed help from locals, but the tidal wave of zombies and discord in Around Every Corner may prove to be too much for Lee and the gang.
From a gameplay standpoint, The Walking Dead: The Game - Episode 4: Around Every Corner really ratchets up action. There are plenty of pulse-pounding moments and opportunities for Lee to take his frustrations out on walkers. Even when the game falls into common horror-movie clichés like being trapped in a locked room or sewer scenes, the game manages to create a cocktail of danger, perseverance, triumph, and defeat. It's sensory overload that a select few games offer.
The decisions players make come in the timed dialogues sequences The Walking Dead: The Game has become known for come in flurries. They also have a major impact on the story and group -- possibly more so than any other episode thus far. The fast-twitch decisions especially add to the drama and tension. There are a few moments where you truly feel sorry for Lee, and the group dynamic changes drastically by the end of the episode. Just when you think it's over and things are wrapping up, well, you find out that it's only the beginning of the end -- and it's going to be great drama to see the finale of this spellbinding game.
Bugs and glitches are minimal, but Episode 4 suffers from some minor design issues nonetheless. For instance, zombies appear in a zone that has been clearly barricaded, and they get conveniently dumber for the sake of making the story work. However, barring a few gabs, there's an appreciated quality to Episode 4: Around Every Corner; it shows that Telltale has put caring hours into the story and character relationships.
Episode 4: Around Every Corner is the best installment of The Walking Dead: The Game series thus far. The action sequences, puzzles, and story come together splendidly. Lee and the other survivors go through Hell, but every minute of this game is point-and-click at its best. The ending alone validates this episode, and it gets us ready for an ending worthy of Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead.
Graphics (90) – The city of Savanna, from the sewers to the harbor to the streets creates a wonderfully ominous environment and the zombies have some new animations that offer both jaw-dropping and fist-pumping moments.
Sound (90) – The voice-acting is stellar, giving characters much needed life.
Gameplay (98) – Timed dialogue, zombie smashing, and puzzles all feel great and work cohesively for a fantastic experience.
Play Value (100) – This is the episode I've been waiting for. The buildup from the prior three episodes is 100% worth it.
Final Score (95) – Episode 4: Around Every Corner should by all accounts make Robert Kirkman proud. Bravo, Telltale Games.
John loves gaming and loves writing about games. He wants to become a known voice in the gaming community and a game designer one day.
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