Another month, another episode of The Walking Dead shambling onto consoles. We at GamingExcellence have had nothing but praise for the first two episodes due to their tense plot and incredibly well developed relationship between Lee and Clementine. But now that we've reached the third episode, slowly climbing over the hump of the series, does the game still manage to hold on to what made it so awesome? Well kind of.
Picking up shortly after the events of Episode 2, Lee and co. are still surviving at the Motor Inn. But almost immediately a series of events see the gang being chased from their long time refuge, driven out onto the road in the RV and left running for their lives. It's a hellishly frantic opening that starts off slow before bursting into action and leaving the player with a bit of whiplash and unsure of how to take the ensuing events. You see, it doesn't want you to have a chance to catch your breath so it just throws punches at you over and over again and it's hard not to be impacted by this.
As this is nearing the end of the road for the first season this is where we can start expecting things to get incredibly nasty and The Walking Dead doesn't disappoint. This is where the body count begins which is sure to upset some fans. Nobody likes to see their favorite character kick the bucket but that isn't necessarily the issue here. No the problem is that the way characters are doing doesn't seem to fit what we know of them or are just purely manipulative.
See The Walking Dead, be it comic or TV series, has always suffered from never being quite sure how to handle killing off characters. It disposes of people when they feel like it would shock the audience, move the plot forward or simply get rid of a character that the writer has no further use for. This can lead to people you care about getting killed almost dismissively and it can be massively infuriating to someone who has invested themselves in the experience.
But Episode 3 goes out of its way to try and manipulate the player. A character is built up to try and make the player enjoy the presence of said character and then they put them through a long suffering death. It not only feels manipulative but it actually feels incredibly mean spirited. What happens after that to another character makes this even doubly the case. On second thought that one idea honestly that sums up the whole episode in a nutshell it's just plain mean spirited.
That's not to say that this episode is a complete dud. There are some really exciting sections and good character building moments that keep the players interest throughout the length of this episode. At no point will a fan of the first two episodes feel bored or like they've just been ripped off by purchasing this. However it might be best to not come into this episode expecting it to be on par with the last two incredibly solid pieces of storytelling.