Monday, October 6, 2014

The Walking Dead: No Time Left Review

The first season of The Walking Dead concludes, bringing its story to a satisfying conclusion.  It may not be as long, or have as many puzzles or non-quick time event style action scenes as some of the earlier episodes, but it's likely its gripping story and fantastic pacing will leave you satisfied, yet wanting more.

The episode begins after the shock ending of episode 4, exploring the consequences of those events.  You are given an option to try to remedy the situation, which leads to differing scenarios of how the characters react to Lee.  The episode quickly shifts to a rescue mission, and this is where it shines, pacing wise.  It conveys a sense of urgency throughout, and because the team is rushing to their destination, it has some of the most nail-biting encounters with the undead Telltale has given us yet.

The episode does slip a bit in terms of the improvements in player interaction that have been made the last few episodes.  The puzzles haven't been difficult this season, but they have improved in quality over the course of the season.  That's sadly not the case in this episode.  Gone too are the action scenes with direct player interaction, as this episode consists solely of quick time events.  This episode consists solely of quick time events and choice based gameplay.  However, the choice based gameplay that leads to differences in how you are perceived by the group continue to be strong here, and since that is the main gameplay of this season, it does manage to mostly make up for the lack of gameplay in other areas.

The music is atmospheric as always, fitting the episode well, right up to the closing credits.  Where the episode really shines, however, is the voice cast.  They have always put in fantastic performances this season, but they are at the top of their game here.  This episode has the most emotional story of the season, and the voice cast helps with that tremendously.  Both returning and new characters have their lines delivered with great passion, and in a story that tugs at your heart strings as much as this one does, that's extremely important. 

Even though the gameplay is not as robust as the last few episodes, No Time Left manages to finish up the season remarkably well.  It may be lacking the puzzles or action scenes with direct player interaction that Telltale has been fine-tuning in the last few episodes, but its well told and well paced story does well to compensate.  The atmospheric music and solid performances from the voice cast help tremendously as well, with the latter delivering their best performances to date.  All in all, it's a satisfying end to an exciting season.

Final verdict:

4 out of 5

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