Review: The Walking Dead: Episode 3: In Harm’s Way

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The third instalment of Telltale’s award-winning The Walking Dead: Season 2 is out now. Here’s my review of episode 3 ‘In Harm’s Way.’

The way Telltale produce their episodic game series is as they go along, which means fans often have to wait a long time to continue the story of Clementine and friends. It sucks but that’s just the way it is; it’s kind of good savouring the masterful storytelling and not digesting it all in one go.

Let’s talk story then: from the get go, the much beloved Kenny takes charge with fierce resistance and an incessant desire to escape. It’s easy to get caught up in Kenny’s ideas, especially considering the brutality of your captors, but at the same time the game makes you question your logic and try to keep a level head amongst all your pain and hatred.

As soon as we arrived at the camp, I had a very strong feeling of claustrophobia, all credit to the developers, that made me desperate to escape the prison. And things only go downhill from there; watching Carlos have to hit his daughter and internally screaming in protest but feeling helpless. The tension was very well created.

As well as The Walking Dead makes you hate its antagonists, it makes you love and empathise with its other characters. The characterisation is virtually unrivalled in video games, usually a feature which is only this well done in film and TV. This only makes the deaths that much more unbearable, though beating the bad guys satisfying. But it’s not so black and white; you’re constantly questioning your decisions and realising that sometimes there is no easy way. The Walking Dead is renowned for making the player make split-second decisions, often having a choice of saving one of two characters and it’s the repercussions of these choices that haunt you throughout.

My only complaints are that the episode was considerably shorter than the others, though well paced; i’m glad it wasn’t beefed out with tedious conversation or activities, and it feels like the ending was a little rushed to me. Throughout the game you are prevented from fighting back due to the power of your enemies, yet once you kill Carver, the characters basically forget the threat until one guy turns up and then a minute later, there are suddenly loads of men with guns. But this small, and probably personal, inconsistency was only a small complaint for a very well paced and gripping episode.

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