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The Walking Dead Episode Four: Around Every Corner
The Walking Dead Episode Four: Around Every Corner

Genre: Adventure Players: 1
Developer: Telltale Games Official Site: http://www.telltalegames.com...
Publisher: Telltale, Inc.
Release Date:
10th October 2012
The Walking Dead Episode Four: Around Every Corner Review
Review By @ 11:46am 11/10/12
PC
In my review of Episode 3, I worried that The Walking Dead had played its best hand already. The emotional gut-punch at the centre of that episode was so devastating that it was hard to see the team at Telltale topping it, and the ‘next episode’ preview for this one looked a tad meandering, as though what had come before made it too hard to effectively continue on with the series’ narrative.

I need not have worried, though. Around Every Corner ignores the gut and goes straight for the heart, offering up some of the most harrowing hours of gameplay I’ve ever experienced, offering an expertly laid-out and extremely dramatic exploration of what it truly means to care for other people when the world is falling apart. Around Every Corner will, if you’re not careful, ruin you. And for that reason, it’s easily the best episode of The Walking Dead yet.

What this episode has in spades, which the previous episodes, I now realise, were slightly lacking in, is confidence. It’s only now that the real genius of Telltale’s episodic structuring -– which I have lamented slightly in previous reviews –- has become clear, too. Not only has Telltale managed to turn The Walking Dead into a reoccurring event (in much the same way as, say, every new episode of Breaking Bad has been an event for the die-hard fans), but they’ve allowed their characters, and their world, to breath, to exist within the players’ minds for months. This episode is, for its first half, quieter than the previous ones, but that’s a good thing –- after all this time, it’s good to simply be able to hang out with these characters, to check in on them, and get a reading of how their relationships with the people, and the messed-up world around them, have changed.



In this episode, the group ends up in Savannah, hoping to hop on a boat and get out of there. Without spoiling too much of the previous episodes, the slightly-kooky angle the game seemed to be going down at the end of Episode 3, thankfully, isn’t followed through on quite so much here, the focus instead being on the quest for a boat, as well as a bevy of surprisingly great new characters. There’s a sense of melancholy and dread over the whole thing; the inevitable end point of any zombie story that isn’t also a comedy is that things will go very poorly, and way the characters, and the world, deal with this is very interesting. This episode is closest in tone to the Governor arch of the comics, in that we get a glimpse at a Woodbury-esque community gone savage, but in ways that are generally less cartoonish and, historically, more feasible.

The Walking Dead has, in its own quiet, blood-splattered way, become a game about families – not just the surrogate family of Lee and Everett, but lots of different intersecting ideas of what a family unit is, and the obligations that come along with that. It’s a game that forces you to think about what really matters to its characters, and just how much what’s going on outside really changes the dynamic of how a family operates... and then, of course, it forces you to make decisions based on these thoughts. It’s all but impossible to not get caught up in the bonds between these characters, to care about them, to get angry and huffy at them, and to occasionally consider doing something monstrous for the greater good. All too many reviews of zombie fiction excitedly point out that people are always the real villains (the Walking Dead comics do it, in fact, extremely awkwardly), but in this game, the importance of saving humanity rather than condemning –- of putting the needs of others ahead of your own, so that the world remains a place worth living in –- is reiterated again and again. To this end, the decisions you need to make here are harder to make than they’ve ever been, and the ramifications for your actions throughout the previous three episodes are truly felt. As before, the puzzles aren’t challenging, but they’re also less obtrusive than ever before, and play off adventure tropes of using ‘A’ on ‘B’ in some incredibly macabre ways.

It’s hard to review an experience like this without talking around the bits that are best left for the player to discover for themselves; it’s more about your reactions, your fear and your passion, than outstanding gameplay mechanics (although, for the record, this episode is loaded up with surprisingly tense action scenes and memorable choices). Around Every Corner isn’t simply the best episode of The Walking Dead yet – it’s the single most significant game I’ve played so far this year, and perhaps the most emotionally devastating gameplay experience I’ve ever had.
What we liked
  • Phenomenally confident
  • It will beat your heart to a pulp
  • The weight of your choices is very evident
  • Surprisingly thrilling action scenes
  • Actually significantly better written than the comics or TV show
  • Well paced
  • Devastating and difficult choices and conversations
What we didn't like
  • There’s one bit that doesn’t quite make sense
  • Lee’s irritatingly slow gait during times of extreme danger
  • You might not like it as much if you literally have no heart
More
We gave it:
9.5
OUT OF 10
Latest Comments
Dazhel
Posted 12:12pm 11/10/12
I've played the first episode but have been distracted from diving into the second episode by other shiny games.
I give this review 9.5 out of 10 for being relatively spoiler free.
Jack
Posted 01:11pm 11/10/12
Shouldn't it be the 'arc' of the comic? An arch is a physical structure.
ravn0s
Posted 01:28pm 11/10/12
i hope nothing bad happens to clementine

i'm off work tomorrow so i'll be playing the episode then. i don't want to stumble upon spoilers while looking at gaming sites.

last edited by ravn0s at 13:28:37 11/Oct/12
Pirroh
Posted 03:35pm 11/10/12
Finished the episode last night.

Jickle
Posted 04:19pm 11/10/12
Jack - you are correct. Whoops. :/
Icarus
Posted 10:48am 12/10/12
Just finished the episode. I'm really surprised with the first statistic, the action you take at the house with Kenny. I was so certain that most people would have done the same as me. Weird!
ravn0s
Posted 01:24pm 12/10/12
i did the same as the majority with that scenario.

odd that they didn't have a trailer for the next episode at the end.
Jickle
Posted 04:29pm 12/10/12
ravn0s - going by that final stats screen, I'm assuming there's going to be too much difference between everyone's playthrough to give a proper sneak peek...
Nukleuz
Posted 07:18pm 12/10/12
Killed off all my saves and decisions from episodes 1-3. Not happy about that.

Having to play it through from the beginning is not all bad though.
Eorl
Posted 12:50am 13/10/12
i did the same as the majority with that scenario.

odd that they didn't have a trailer for the next episode at the end.

It's the final episode, wouldn't be good to spoil it, especially with the awesome cliff hanger.

I have to say, no game has ever made my girlfriend sit there and watch me play and also experience the feelings that this game develops. Amazing episode.
CamBuzz
Posted 10:42pm 13/10/12
hello
Dazhel
Posted 01:03am 31/10/12
Haha oh crap I just finished ep4 - the very last statistic places me in the company of the scummiest 6% of playing this game. The guilt burden will weigh heavily in ep5 I think. :O
Viper119
Posted 04:06am 31/10/12
Wowzers, I better get EP1 and get into it!
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