Although this review is spoiler free for episode 5 it is written on the assumption that you have played the previous 4 episodes.
The Walking Dead game is fantastic. Yes I am being blunt but it has to be said. If you are looking for an immersive and involving story telling experience you literally cannot find a better game than this. Episode 5 has an advantage over the previous 4 episodes in being the final episode, we aren’t building relationships or caring about what other people think, this is the accumulation of all that work that you put into the previous installments. Don’t get me wrong there are some HUGE choices to make but this game is all about getting to Clementine. All the decisions you made come around full circle as you see how you shaped your story. In this episode we get to appreciate that all those hard choices weren’t just for a stat screen at the end of the game.
Speaking of which the relationships that you have formed really shine here, there are moments where Kenny refers back to moments and exactly how he felt about me. These small touches made Kenny and Lee’s relationship feel human, like it wasn’t always bad and it wasn’t always good. That is why I hated Kenny in the first place because he tuned on me, but in life when we meet people we might like them at first but learn to dislike them. In the end Kenny’s only crime was for being too human. On the note of Kenny I must admit that he is joint first with Lee for character of the series and will go down as a great example of how to make great characters.
Like I said this is a mission to save Clementine, no other thoughts enter Lee’s mind and because of the ending last time he literally is obsessed with saving her. I always felt that Lee’s love for Clementine was what made him a great character, it is their time bonding that allowed his character to shine. He was a man with no experience trying to do the right thing by looking out for a girl who had lost everything.
Lee has always been the unofficial leader of the group but in Episode 5 it feels more natural, whereas before he would suddenly be asked ‘What shall we do Lee?’, now he is barking out orders and people are showing greater respect than they ever did. Lee has always been a nice guy but now he was a leader as well, his character had been growing and this is a fully grown Lee.
This tone in the game provides a more focused affair with less time searching and interacting with people, the pace is faster and there is more action here. Whilst I love the searching and character interaction it seemed suitable to shift the pace up a gear for a climax where a man on the clock is desperately trying to save ‘his’ little girl. In that respect Episode 5 is probably the shortest of the 5 episodes but not by a lot and if you’ve enjoyed the first 4 you are definitely getting your moneys worth.
The Walking Dead isn’t just an example of how to make adventure games, it is an example of how to make games full stop. Throughout we have made difficult choices to shape our story and now those choices have all come to fruition. The choices that we made and the people that we met all help form a conclusion to what could easily be game of the year. There are moments where you reflect on the past and moments that will have you welling up. The Walking Dead successfully immerses you in the world of Lee and makes you care for him, his friends, clementine and his story to save her.
To conclude buy this game.