Reviews

The Walking Dead: Done Running

When Telltale announced the Final Season of the Walking Dead, you can pretty much guarantee that we’re all about to be put through the emotional ringer. The Walking Dead is back for the last time as we continue to follow our darling Clementine as she tries to survive with young AJ in tow. I have tried my best to avoid spoilers but please be aware that a couple may slip through over the course of this review.

In my playthrough of the New Frontier, I found myself making a lot of bad choices but I feel that may be because I secretly wanted to be playing as the hardened, slightly older Clem. It’s been good to take the reigns as Clementine again though as she does her best to make the right decisions for her and AJ. It concerned me a little that AJ will learn from what choices Clem makes, which depending on your playstyle could go ok or really badly. So far, I’m not sure I’m shaping him to be best kid on the block. As Clem and AJ are driving along, looking for the next place to try and scavange food from, they come across a Train Station which looks abandoned. As they search around looking for a way in, they find that the people that once lived here did well for themselves. After finding a cache of food, there’s an unexpected incident which leaves them fleeing and fighting their way out. A sequence of unfortunate events unfolds and Clem finds herself falling unconsious as AJ is taken.

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All is not lost however as Clem awakens in a run down boarding school which has been taken over by the kids after the adults cut and run when the world ended. It’s awful to think that people could do that, but it’s probably more real than you think. As Clem and AJ attempt to prove their worth and earn their keep. You have opportunities to develop new relationships with people and start to get an understanding of the kids that live here. You’re encouraged to look around a little and take some time to explore. While I found this epidode to have less to look at in some ways, I know if I went back and made different decisions, other options may be open to me and I may even find the remaining collectibles I’ve missed.

The new group dynamic is strange but expected. A boarding school for troubled youth is going to mean there are a few hot headed and withdrawn characters. Some may open up to you and unless you’re going for the full Terminator Clem, you may want to think about trying to get these characters to open up. You never know, you might be able to use their help later on. The kids are low on food and struggling to get by within the Safe Zone but after an incident a year ago leading to the loss of two of the women, they are reluctant to go outside of it. As Clem and AJ need to earn their keep so to speak, you’ll find the sequence of events unfolds much as you would expect. But I don’t want to spoil things… so I’m not going to say anymore.

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If you are a fan of the Telltale games, you’ll know how the graphics, controls and quick time events have developed over the years and in this latest (and final) instalment of this series, it feels like the game has changed ever so slightly. So far, there haven’t been many quick time events in succession with only a few incidents of combat in a row, which is good as a way to ease you in again. I found that the changes in camera angle were improved from Clem looking at something to it zooming out and panning slightly to expand your field of view. There are actions which indicate that they will have a consequence, for example ringing a bell may alert walkers to your position giving you less if no time to explore, so it’s worth considering these a little more carefully. I didn’t feel that there were obvious big decision in this episodes however there are still decisions to be made which will affect relationships and the overall story.

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Graphically, the game sticks with the classic Telltale style and the world looks more overgrown and delapidated, much like our protagonists (except for Clem’s short hair of course) so the lack of colour is to be expected. Clem is slightly older than the last time we saw her in the New Frontier and it looking slightly more grown up, even though she is still a kid. Her new look is really good and fits very well for the environment, even if it is the only splash of colour in the place. She still stands out from the rest of the crowd and she looks capable which is important in this environment. I think the developers have taken a lot of time and care making Clem grow up and I think they have done a good job in this regard. I’m always a fan of games that put the ocassional piece of music in, so I was glad to hear a song in this particular game which reminded me of the soundtrack for The Last of Us and The Walking Dead tv series. The song is called ‘Waiting Around To Die’ which although it comes across as morbid, it worked very well as a piece of music to tie to this episode so I’m really hoping there is more where that came from over the rest of the season.

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Done Running was a nice introduction to the Final Season. While there was some action, which was to be expected, there were also some moments where Clem and AJ need to try and connect with others are a long time on the road. In such a volitile world where there aren’t that many of the living left, it’s a desperate, but also dangerous, situation as we have learned before. Still, while the opening act felt a little slow at times, it’s clear that this is the introduction to what could be another soul crushing time in Clem’s life. I do worry that AJ will become a liability, he doesn’t understand how to behave, how to interact with others and the fact that he’s a tot with a firearm is rather alarming but it could make for some unpredictable outcomes which may test how we play the season out. Overall, it was an enjoyable episiode but it hasn’t given me the shock, awe and worry that previous episodes have just yet but I look forward to the next episode coming to us all on 25th September when we can find out what happens next.

The Season Pass for Telltale’s The Walking Dead: The Final Season is currently £18.99 and is available now.

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