The end is nigh, and if the penultimate episode is any indication, it won’t be pretty.
In the latest installment of the now epic episodic content from Telltale Games, we find Lee and company nearing what appears to be the end of their journey. As expected, this episode will be the last stop for some, as Telltale continues their brutal rampage through your psyche. Yet the question you should ask yourself isn’t, “Who’s next?” but rather, “Would I save them if I could?”
It’s an important question, because up until now Telltale Games has done a fine job weaving together a fiction that is compelling and gritty. They have crafted a masterpiece in which you feel for every character. You begin to understand how they work, and just when you believe you’ve pegged someone, the tables are turned and tossed aside. One moment, you hate their guts and everything about them, and the next minute you find yourself at the crossroads of Bad Decision A, Worse Decision B, Terrible Decision C, and Shit-Really Decision D.
This is the life Lee and Clementine survive through. They both push forward, guided by what could potentially be the only instinct man has left: survival.
When death surrounds you at every corner, you’re more worried about seeing that next sunrise than what’s on channel 35. It’s a cold truth that many of us can only swallow with the right substance. The Walking Dead is that substance. Why else do we come back month after month, episode after episode? I doubt any of us are expecting a happy ending; we’re too jaded for that.
Or are we too aware? Have we all come to the bone-rattling conclusion that life doesn’t always have a happy ending? Especially when you are the walking dead?
Whatever the reason, we return to our respective helms deep inside the mind of former-History professor, Lee Everret and his young ward, Clementine. We return to watch over them. We return… for Clementine.
That’s my main reason. I started out this adventure hoping to see the zombie apocalypse play out before my eyes. What I ended up seeing through these four progressively disturbing episodes, was how I would play out in a zombie apocalypse.
Every decision I made was electrically charged with a prime directive I could never override: For Clementine. That little girl wormed her way into my heart and kept it beating long after the dead killed it. Even Duck found a special, annoying place in my thoughts. These children, though they are made of polygons and pixels, are as real to me as my own niece. I want to protect them like I would protect her.
However, there is always a price. Some decisions cannot be unmade. Worse yet, the impact of your unsaid words weighs far heavier than those you breathed into existence. Not every decision is for the good of your ward; the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.
Horrible truths come out to drape their sickly comforts among the weary survivors from Macon, Georgia. The cold fingers of Death grip tightly the same controls you do, and the cliffhanger of the penultimate episode strikes deeper than any before it. The everlasting question reveals itself as the one and only truth: How far will you go for Clementine?
Around Every Corner clocks in at roughly three and a half hours from start to finish. Aside from lag issues that surfaced in Episode 2, there were no game-ending glitches from my play-through to report. Telltale Games get a great job fixing the save file issue, so as long as you have the most recent version of the game you shouldn’t worry.
The penultimate episode precedes the finale, which should be released sometime in November, as well as the retail release of the entire 5-episode collection! Retail copies are scheduled for a December 4th, 2012 release. This shouldn’t be taken as a concrete date, but fans should definitely consider reserving their copy of the collector’s edition, as the goodies are too good to pass up.