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Just as a quick warning. This article will contain SPOILERS from any one of the five episodes. If you haven’t played through all of them I advise you not to read this!!!
I love most things about The Walking Dead universe, maybe barring the second season of the tv show. So when I heard Telltale was making a game based on the comic book universe, I was cautiously optimistic. Telltale hadn’t had the best track record, and I certainly wasn’t an adventure game aficionado. Despite this I bought the first episode of the game. It was cheap, and if I didn’t like it, no big deal. I loved it. I felt a very strong connection towards the game’s protagonist, Lee Everette. As for Clementine, finding her hiding in her tree house, then slowly unfolding her parents’ fate through phone recordings, I knew this character was going to be the players moral incentive, and it really worked. As for the rest of the cast, I immediately was running through in my head the people I thought I could trust, and the ones I should be weary about. Even though it was the first episode I immediately was invested in the characters and their fates, and the wait for episode two was excruciating.
I downloaded episode two the day it was released and found myself loving the almost horror movie-esque vibe it gave off. It felt like its own self contained story and although it didn’t move the story along too much, it did set up for something much bigger than one would think. This episode also made me audibly gasp. Trying to revive an admittedly annoying member of the group, only for his head to be smashed in with a salt lick not only shocked, but gave me a genuine disdain for Kenny, the one who dropped the salt lick. This episode showed me how far Telltale was willing to go, and from there on out I knew that no one was safe.
Episode three was depressing, lets just get that out of the way. The beginning started off with some light hearted detective time with Duck, another child in the group. After getting run out of the motel, some shit goes down. After pulling over, an argument breaks out. Out of nowhere, a character pulls out a gun and executes your potential love interest Carly, other that other dude Doug. It was at this moment a game, for the first time, has made me angry, panicked, and depressed all at the same time. Without thinking I immediately told Lily, the woman responsible, to hit the damn road. This was also the first time I actually wanted to restart an episode because of how distraught I was over what had just transpired. I didn’t want to play anymore, that’s never happened to me for a game I liked. But I drudged on, only to be hit in the heart again with the suicide of Katja, Kenny’s wife, and their son, Duck who, depending on your choice, could have been put out of his zombie induced misery by the player, or his own father. This was probably the highest low point of the series and I had to take a break from games for a week after playing it. Still, I was aptly looking forward to episode four.
This is getting long so I will just say this about episode four. Episode four introduced a great character, again, depending on your choices, killed off a dumb one, an absolutely heartbreaking encounter with a walker child, and one HUGE moment at the end, your character Lee getting bitten by a zombie, and Clementine kidnapped by a mysterious man. Again, I felt panicky and was trying to make up all sorts of ways Lee could possibly survive and save Clementine, but it looked pretty hopeless. It was a great ending to this episode.
Episode five started right where four left off, literally by taking whatever you said at the end of episode four, and be repeated by Lee at the beginning of this episode. I went alone on this one and trying to do anything I could for Lee to survive, had him cut his own arm off. The way Telltale made you move the cursor to Lee’s arm and click to slowly sawthe arm off, was absolutely brutal and, for me, actually hard to continue. After playing as an armless Lee for a little bit, you are reunited with your friends. Who have been locked up by a group of seemingly friendly people you meet in episode four. After a while you get into a situation in which a character who has been with you through it all, Kenny, is killed. Even though I didn’t think much of Kenny, I almost had a sense of loneliness now that one of the last familiar characters was gone. After a great zombie killing scene with Lee, you finally meet with the person behind thewalkie talkie. The man reveals that it was him and his family that owned the car you stole from all the way back in episode two. He proceeds the throw every big choice you had made in the game right in your face, forcing you to explain the actions you had taken to survive. All while talking to his wife’s head he had stuck in a bowling ball bag. After a short battle ending with either you, or Clementine killing him, you rub zombie guts on yourselves, and try to get out of town. Clem see’s her parents as zombies, and Lee passes out as a result of the bite.
This was the moment for me. The moment that I shed tears in a video game, something I thought impossible.
After Lee wakes up, and some stumbling to a chair in a police station, Lee finally directs Clementine one last time. After a scary scene with Clementine and a walker, Lee is finally ready to say his goodbyes. After a very emotional talk with Clem, the player is finally given the option to either have Clementine kill Lee, or leave him handcuffed (or not) to a radiator. I personally chose to be killed, as I felt it gave me more closure after everything Lee, and Clementine had been through. After the gunshot the credits immediately roll, signifying the end of Lee’s perspective. The song at the end of the credits couldn’t have been picked any more perfect and made me that much more emotional. At the end we see Clementine in a large field outside of town, where she spots two unknown people out in the distance, presumably setting up for season two.
Well there you have, those were the moments that, in my opinion, defined why I loved The Walking Dead so much. I can only hope that season two can evoke these same emotions, good or bad. Thanks for reading.