The Walking Dead is back. And this time, for the very final season. Telltale Games have expanded The Walking Dead’s universe through 4 seasons, in addition to 400 Days and the mini-series Michonne. We have arrived at the end of the road with our dear Clementine, where we will hopefully receive an answer to the question we’ve been waiting for; will she lead the same fate as Lee?
I won’t be giving scores on each episode but will give a final score for the season in total. Therefore, these reviews will be short (but sweet). With that said, I’ll try to keep it as spoiler-free as possible, but as the series goes on, I will eventually be forced to talk about relevant events.
It was with a heavy heart that I sat down with TWD again, with the first episode “Done Running”. I can always appreciate ending a series when it’s good, but at the same time, I’m not at all ready to say goodbye.
Ever since the first season was published, I have spent a lot of my time on these games. I don’t mean just playing the games – that alone truly opened the world of storytelling in games for me. But they also inspired me to write my bachelor’s thesis on TWD Season 1, studying the video game alongside the comics; combining my passion for games with my studies. Even though I will most likely never have a conversation with someone from Telltale Games, I have a lot to thank them for. And I cannot think of a better opportunity to do that than with these final reviews.
As always, the choices we make will have consequences as the story progresses. However, it will now also have repercussions for AJ – the little boy we came to know in the previous season, whom Clementine has become a parent-figure for. Our choices will have an impact on what kind of person he will grow up to become, how he is shaped as a human being.
In this episode, Clementine and AJ meet a group of kids at an abandoned school, who have created their own society and are generally living in peace. They get to know some of the kids there, they get their own room, and they are served food. Though I gotta say, accepting the kindness of strangers in this game feels weird and unnatural.
In terms of gameplay, some things have changed from the previous season. Because we now have our own room, you can gather collectables to decorate Clementine and AJ’s room, giving us a nice sense of finally belonging somewhere.
In terms of combat, you can choose to incapacitate the zombies before killing them, making it easier to deal with larger packs. In addition, I really have to praise Telltale Games for their development from season 1 regarding the graphics. It doesn’t just look better, but the shifting between scenes no longer have those small pauses they used to have, now they just smoothly move from one scene to another in one coherent motion. I love it.
But, as we have seen throughout the series, all good things must eventually come to an end. Nothing ever stays peaceful in the world of The Walking Dead, and one thing I’ve learned from these games is to never believe in a first impression. Towards the end of the episode, things start to get dramatic and increasingly intense. It ended with my mouth hanging open, saying: did I do that?
In a way, I feel that as Clementine has grown, so has Telltale Games as a company. As an avid fan, among many others, I feel like I have been following their journey to the top; they went from being one of the smaller ones to becoming one of the most significant game developers when it comes to storytelling in games.
“Done Running” is a great start to the final season, and even though there have already been some surprising turns, I’m guessing that we haven’t seen the half of it, yet. The title is a good description of their momentary sanctuary, and just looking at the other titles for the remaining episodes makes me nervous. All in all, the episode looked amazingly good, it tugged at my emotions right away, and this is only the beginning.
So far, The Final Season is looking very good. One episode down. Three more to go.