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‘Walking Dead’ game’s long, boring road ahead

- September 2nd, 2012

In Walking Dead – Episode 3:  Long Road Ahead, the story once again picks up a bit after the last one left off. If you’re unfamiliar with the series, the game’s story runs parallel to the comic book/TV show as you play as Lee Everett, a history professor convicted of murdering a senator who slept with his wife, who escapes police custoday when the zombie apocalypse begins.  (Check out our reviews for the first and second episodes for more details.)

At the beginning of Long Road Ahead, you are still holed up with your current crew in a motel in Macon, Ga. But they are worse for wear. People have died and the survivors have grown more suspicious of one another – especially Lilly the defacto leader, who believes someone in the group is stealing supplies.  Then to make matters worse, you are sent fleeing after you are attacked by both bandits and walkers – the Walking Dead nickname for zombies.

As those who have you have played the previous chapters know, the game is actually a sort of point-and-click adventure when you choose how Lee reacts to different situations and those decisions affect how the different characters relate to you in the future and occasionally change the course of the game.

However, it starts to be clear in Long Road Ahead, how little control you actually have in the game. For example, Lilly and Kenny (the other alpha in the group) fight over whether it’s safe to stay in the motel and you have two opportunities to voice your opinion. But ultimately, it doesn’t matter whose side you take, as you forced to leave anyway.

Also, a character whose life I chose to save in the first episode in a Sophie’s Choice’s-style decision, died in an unpreventable way here. So I imagine had I chose to save the other person, she would have died here too.

I can’t really fault the developers for this. Obviously, a lot of programming has to go into creating the alternate scenarios and the full game is only $19.99 ($4.99 an episode) so you can really expect that much variety for that price.

So it comes down to how engaged I was with the story. And, unfortunately, like a mid-season episode of the TV series, The Long Road Ahead becomes rather boring. Not as boring as say that episode in the first season, where the characters spent the entire show burying bodies or ones in the second season, where Rick and Shane just yell at each other on a dirt road. But boring. You spend a lot of time, trying to figure out how to who is stealing supplies, or how to start a train or just making small-talk. I guess the assumption is you’ve stuck with the game so far, you’ll stick with it to the end.

And when it comes to action sequences, the gameplay seems to have become a little more awkward. Generally for fight sequences, you just move the cursor over the attacker and press the button it indicates. However, it’s not always clear what you are supposed to be doing – even though your character, Lee, appears to have a plan. For example, in one scene, you find a walker trapped by a seatbelt in a car. For some reason, you can’t shoot it or hit it in the head with a heavy object. You have to undo the seatbelt and smash its head with the car door as it comes after you. But when it’s attacking, it’s hard to see that’s what you need to do as you move the cursor around the screen and nothing seems to happen. It’s only when he’s almost right on top of you an you happen to have the cursor on the car door is it clear.

And there’s some graphic concerns too. The cutscenes have always been a bit choppy as the game is trying to input your decisions into the video. But there were times where everything went wonky. For example, at one point, a character is cradling her injured son and the son just disappears from the screen. Also, I was talking to a guy playing guitar and it cut to him and all of a sudden he was standing up and the guitar going through his groin.

Still, the game has its moments and it’s fun to get Lee to tell people off. If you’ve played the first two, you’re probably already hooked.

The Walking Dead – Episode 3:  Long Road Ahead
PS3 (reviewed), Xbox 360, PC, Mac
Telltale Games
Rating: Mature
2.5 out of 5

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1 comment

  1. Dan | October 10, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    I actually quite enjoyed the first 3 episodes of the Walking Dead the controlls were a bit difficult at first but the cost of the game reflects the graphics which are decent. 3/5 in my book.

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