For Clementine

Back in April, gamers had a chance to start an epic journey—one that involved being thrust into the midst of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead universe via the start of a five-episode game series by Telltale Games. On this journey, the unlikely relationship between an 8-year-old little girl and a man turned convict after a crime of passion would consume everyone who played this landmark game; protecting this child quickly became the center of your apocalyptic world. Now, seven months later, Telltale’s episodic roller-coaster ride looks to come a halt, as Lee and Clementine’s adventures in the zombie apocalypse are all but done for the time being.

Admittedly, it’s hard to talk about a game such as this for several reasons—chief among them being that gameplay centers squarely on the story. Many gamers will have different situations going into this final episode of Season One due to the branching paths caused by the countless decisions made over the course of the previous four episodes. And because of this, the last thing I want to do is spoil any of the insane surprises in store for you in this episode. I can assure you, though, that if you thought the heart-wrenching moments and plot twists were going to slow down with this final chapter, you thought wrong.  There’s some resolution, but all I can say is that every decision has a consequence—and Lee’s sins will come back to haunt him in powerful, terrifying ways if you weren’t careful over the course of your playthrough.

I’ll also say that even though this episode may be the most emotionally charged, it’s also noticeably the shortest of the series. That’s not to say it’s not worth your money, since everything you’ve worked toward comes to a head here—but, clearly, not everything can burn at the high this particular episode does for as long as the previous episodes ran.

Aside from the emotionally charged story, this episode also features some new and tweaked gameplay elements that count on players knowing the controls. Fewer prompts and more frantic instances tested my reflexes more than any previous episode—while also heightening the tension of the events transpiring around me while I looked for Clementine.

At the end of the day, enough cannot be said about Telltale’s The Walking Dead, whether you’ve been with it from the beginning like myself and downloading the final episode today or purchasing the fully compiled season on disc on December 4th. It isn’t the most involved of videogames in terms of gameplay, but it’s truly an accomplishment in game storytelling—and this episode only continues what Telltale started while leaving plenty of questions swirling around to ensure the already confirmed second season will kick off with a bang. If you’re a fan of The Walking Dead, point-and-click adventure games, or just intricate storytelling, this series is a must-have and should be in everyone’s game-of-the-year discussions. You’d be doing yourself a disservice not playing this game.

SUMMARY:  Right from the start, this episode cranks up the tension to 11. Unfortunately, this may also be why it burns itself out as the shortest episode of the series. However, it’s also one of the most satisfying, as everything you’ve built up to finally comes to a head—and in the end, you’ll do whatever you can to protect Clementine in this accomplishment in videogame storytelling.

  • THE GOOD: Leaves itself open enough for a second season.
  • THE BAD: Shortest episode of the series.
  • THE UGLY: Human nature.

SCORE: 9.0

The Walking Dead: Episode 5—No Time Left is available on Xbox 360 (XBLA), PS3 (PSN), and PC. Primary version reviewed was for XBLA.