The fourth episode of The Walking Dead continues the disjointed feeling of the season, bringing lots of drama, but failing to find its sense of self in the process.
The episode follows the events of the last episode, with the group having to deal with the situation that was brought down around them in the episode three finale. This episode brings a lot of tension in the group, and, as always, some losses. It also comes with a lot of choices on how to deal with people.
Ultimately though, your choices don't really seem to amount to much here. The characters don't seem to change their opinions on Clementine much, no matter which choice is made, and the actions that Clementine makes has little to no value on the group. It's obvious that Telltale is trying to make the situation for Clementine seem hopeless, but in doing so they removed most of what made their other choice based games fun. Telltale's other choice based games compensated for the lack of puzzles and direct controlled action sequences by having choices that truly do affect the way people view the protaganist. Because the choice based mechanics are the main crux of this game, and they aren't handled well, the lack of puzzles and direct controlled action sequences is never felt more than it is here.
The presentation still shines, from the always excellent comic book inspired art style to the locations that match that style well. There is also a little more exploration here, but it's little compensation for the lack of choices that have meaning. The voice acting and music do add a lot to the feeling of hopelessness, which is indeed handled well. However, they overdid that feeling by making your choices have no meaning, which ultimately made it a shallow gaming experience.
The penultimate episode of The Walking Dead tries hard to convey that the situation the survivors are in is hopeless. In doing so, however, they have went too far, bringing that feeling into the game play as well. Like the other episodes of this season, there are no puzzles or action based game sequences. But, because of the feeling of hopelessness conveyed by this episode, the choices here don't really matter. The presentation is handled well, from the still amazing art style, to the always excellent music and voice acting. There is also more exploration available in some locations. However, the excellent presentation doesn't compensate much for what feels like a hollow gaming experience.
3 out of 5
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