Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Walking Dead: Around Every Corner Review

Around Every Corner is the penultimate episode of Telltale's The Walking Dead. It continues the high standard set forth by previous episodes in the series, and even manages to improve upon them in some areas as well.

The game takes place immediately after the last episode, with the group finally making it to their destination.  Of course, this being The Walking Dead, things don't go as well as they would have hoped.  Tensions continue to rise and the team continues having to deal with human characters just as much, if not more so, than the walkers.  The voice actors continue to do a great job portraying that tension.  The returning characters are great as usual, and the new characters shine as well.  This is the episode where the contest winner becomes a human character in the game, and that character is interesting as well, if understandably, a little under-used.

The art and animation is great as usual.  The expressions come off as nicely as before.  The new locations are interesting, and they are designed for exploration, without the invisible boundaries that, although fitting with the storyline, were obvious in previous episodes.  The music and sound effects also fit the game as usual, and manage to continue to set the tone well.

Telltale continues addressing fan concerns here.  There are more action scenes than before, with the QTE's much more limited than in earlier episodes.  The direct control shooting portions are much better integrated into the game this time around, feeling less like a mini-game and more like part of the over-all experience.  There is also a lot more exploration and adventure style puzzling.  The puzzles still aren't difficult, but there are more of them, making it a better balance of casual adventuring mixed about evenly with action.  The biggest thing here is that the choices you made throughout the episodes are really starting to matter here.  Characters really respond to you based on your actions and decisions in previous games, and the relationships between the characters matter here more than they have before.  There is also another game changing life or death choice here, like in episode 1, that will certainly change the way the final episode plays out.

Around Every Corner is the best chapter of The Walking Dead so far. It sets up the conclusion in a grand manner while still being entertaining and exciting in it's own right.  It's taken everything that previous episodes did well, and made them even better.  Your choices matter more here than before, the action scenes feel more like part of the experience rather than a mini-game, there is another life or death choice the likes that haven't been seen since the first episode, there is more to explore with more casual adventure puzzles, and the voice actors, music, and sound effects continue to shine.  The final episode has a lot to live up to, as this episode sets the bar higher than any casual adventure game by Telltale that came before it.

Final Verdict:
4½ out of 5

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