Ah, another day, another new The Walking Dead season and more people to die. I always get this feeling in this franchise’s first episode of every season – you meet all these new people, they’re so nice, everything works perfectly, until the end of the episode comes, only to realize how f*cked up this little world of theirs was and now that you are a part of it, you gotta deal with it.
Indeed, the final season of The Walking Dead, which would have a numeric value of 4, starts off with Clementine and, the now toddler, AJ finding themselves in a small community. The only difference is that this time, we’re all kids! To be honest, I felt refreshed that there would be no adults and things might look nice for a change, only to have my expectations shattered, by finding out that kids can be as equally f*cked up as adults can, especially when they are under the pressure of grownups. Now that I think about it, I’m actually not really that surprised, since living in a world full of zombies, having to survive through each day and every new dawn is a miracle … it just hardens people, and Clementine is the living embodiment of this statement.
Nobody can deny how much she has grown since season 1, and I myself, someone who has followed this game from the very beginning, can see very clearly how cold and ruthless Clementine becomes with each passing season. However, these are necessary qualities in order to survive in such a harsh world, especially when there is a kid with you. This has always been Clementine’s story, right from the very beginning and I am actually eager to see how it will end (can I just say that I am not happy, because I have a hunch things will end up, the way they did in season 1 – oh I noticed the title of the final episode Telltale, you cheeky people, you … it has the name of the ending song in season 1).
Anyways, let’s go over the story of episode one real quick before I mention gameplay. So Clementine and AJ are off alone to survive the harsh reality of the zombie infested world and they come across a train station, eager to investigate since they are low on food. Moving on further in, we find a secret stash of food, however, of course, it would be too good to be true and it turns out to be rigged with a grenade exploding inside destroying much in its trail. Talk about selfish people … one thing is to try and protect yourselves from scavengers, another is to destroy a whole bunch of good food, only to prevent someone else from taking it, long after you’re a part of the zombie population.
As you might guess, the explosion attracts walkers and we try to escape with our car, only to crash and be knocked unconscious. We wake up in an unknown room and soon find out that we were rescued by a bunch of kids, who have their own community. It seemed quite nice in the beginning, as we got to talk to most of the kids and get to know them and I was kind of refreshed, thinking to myself “this season, maybe it will be different”. Oh, how foolish of me… As if I hadn’t learned the previous 3 seasons that people are meaner d*cks than zombies in this game…
After bonding time is over, we get to choose whether we want to go hunting or fishing, in order to help out secure food. Of course, things get a bit bad for the party you didn’t choose and you end up with food shortages. So, in my original playthrough, I went fishing with Violet and Brody. You know, Violet kind of reminds me a lot of Chloe from Life is Strange, however she was a tad bit more likable (at least she has a reason to be mean to people … unlike some butthurt shady teenagers… *cough* Chloe *cough*). After we are done fishing we go to meet up with Louis and Aasim, only to find out that the hunting traps have been sabotaged and we won’t be able to secure a lot of food for the night. Brody goes into a rant (excuse her …) and we decide to go to the above-mentioned strain station in order to try and see if some of the food survived that explosion.
It was a good plan and an even better execution, if I have to say so myself, with the exclusion of Abel – the greedy scavenger or raider or whatever you wanna call him, who wanted to steal some of the food. You know, I have exactly 0 regrets that I pushed that motherf*cker out the window to the zombies … he was pointing a gun at a kid and a toddler … like, excuse yourself, Abel. But we get the food and we return to camp, or should I say school, since that’s where the kinds have set themselves up, surprising everyone with all the food we brought. Brody wasn’t very happy when she learned what I did to Abel, and I remember getting pissed off at her, but I can’t really blame her for reacting that way, when I found out why she did.
Everything is still smooth until AJ and Clem are woken up during the night by voices and Clementine goes to explore what the hell is going on. I actually thought the raiders have come here to … well raid us, but the truth kind of surprised me. We walk in (walk in is an understatement, of course) on Marlon and Brody talking and we find out that the twins, who had supposedly died, didn’t die like everyone was told they did, rather than Marlon trading them to the raiders, for safety. You know, this was the point of downhill for me. I wanted to believe that maybe as a group of kids they will be better than this, however, it turned out that, again, people are so dumb in situations like that (mainly blaming the raiders here thought). I think I mentioned this in one of my reviews for season 3, but I believe that more people have died by people in this game, than by walkers … which is kind of sad in its own pathetic way.
I’m going to have my mini rant here, because it concerns the ending of the episode anyways. I was kind of disappointed by the ending and not so much as to what happened, more in the fact that I couldn’t change what happened. I actually took my time to experiment with the choices and options and all the endings and … spoiler alert … in not one of them did Marlon survive. No matter what I did, he will always get shot by AJ at the end of the episode. And this kind of ticked me off. Apart from the hilarious scene, where AJ doesn’t really realize what he had done, I was pissed in the fact that my choices didn’t matter. Yes, in my original playthrough, I beat the crap out of him, but I said that we could still fix this and what was the point of that “Marlon will remember this” if he literally dies like 5 seconds later. Okay, I could accept Brody’s death, because she was a means to an end, but I think that the game should have provided us with a more dynamic ending, with the options of either Marlon dying, him leaving or staying at the school. I mean, come on Telltale, you can do better than this… you have done better than this in the past.
Enough story time, let’s go into gameplay briefly. I’m kind of pleasantly surprised … or actually refreshed is a better word for this, because the game kind of expanded from what it had in the last season. It’s good to see branching activities again and a nice touch here is also the consequential actions we can perform. So here, apart from dialogue having options, our actions can also have consequences, which is nice. Kind of like, makes you think twice, before acting like a retard. Also, Telltale introduced collectibles here, which you use to decorate your room in the school, and I also like this, because it kind of adds a personal touch … also I’ve always been a trophy (achievement) w*ore … pardon the expression. This is also my first time playing this game with a controller and I have to say it feels so much better than on keyboard … but I will give credit for this one to personal preferences.
I’m kind of happy with this game, because I can see the progress every time. If I look back at how season 1 was and compare it with what we have now, it’s definitely a huge leap and I always like to see games improving with sequels and adding new stuff. The only disappointment for me in this episode was the ending and more so the lack of variety in the ending. So, as a verdict, I’d give it an 8/10. I would give it a 7, however Rosie tipped the scales to 8 and I hope I don’t come to regret this with seeing another dying dog.