The Walking Dead: Episode 3 review for XBLA, PSN

Platform: XBLA
Also On: PSN
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: Yes

To say that things don?t get better for Lee, Clementine and the rest of Telltale?s Walking Dead crew in Episode 3 is kind of an understatement. Whereas the last episode upped the ante in violence and horror, by depicting that humans could be just as bad, if not worse, than the zombies themselves, this episode showcases the internal struggle that threatens to tear the group apart.

It?s getting to be a bit difficult to write these reviews without going into spoilers territory, but I?ll do my best to keep this as spoiler free a write-up as possible. After all, there?s not much to say about the gameplay element that we haven?t already discussed, as much of that hasn?t changed from episode to episode. You still control Lee as the main character, and you?ll still walk around limited environments talking to characters, engaging in tough dialogue choices, and occasionally needing to figure out small puzzles.

Again, like in previous games, the puzzles are not very difficult. Most of what you do in Episode 3 revolves around gathering up an object or two and performing some sort of task associated with the gathered objects. There are a limited number of things you can truly interact with, so figuring out what you need and where to use it isn?t hard at all.

There is a little more emphasis on action this time out, including one prolonged shoot-out at the motel that sort of backfired for me, emphasizing that Walking Dead?s particular set-up isn?t really suited towards precision, aiming, and gunfights. It?s a relatively short sequence, but certainly isn?t the highlight of this chapter.

However, once again, the character interaction and plot progression here is superb. While the game has already made you make a series of hard choices, that doesn?t let up in Episode 3. In fact, you?ll end up making some of the toughest choices you?ve had to stomach so far, including a number of life and death situations for a good portion of the cast. If you thought the internal conflict was about to reach a boiling point in the last episode, you?ll definitely see some payoff in Episode 3.

And as always, the choices you?ve made up to this point have definite impact and repercussions as you continue along in this episode. I?m continually impressed with how well the Walking Dead tracks and makes use of the choices I?ve made, even if I?ve sort of forgotten a few events along the way. I love that every decision I make has some sort of weight to it, which makes me really gauge the way I continue this story. Even if I shift my allegiances, the game manages to reflect that shift in a realistic way, and judges my decision appropriately.

If you?ve been on board with the game up to this point, Episode 3 will fail to disappoint. It?s another excellent entry in what is easily shaping up to be Telltale?s best work yet, and there?s no reason to stop playing the series now. If for some reason you?re reading this review without having actually played the previous chapters, I?d highly urge you to rectify that situation immediately, as this is some of the best digital content available on XBLA and PSN released this year, and certainly deserves your attention.

Grade: A-