The Walking Dead: Around Every Corner Review

Gaming


The Walking Dead: Around Every Corner
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Platforms: Mac, PC , PSN, XBLA (Reviewed)
Release: October 9, 2012
Price: 400 MSP ($5) – Available Here

Overview:
Telltale Games has created quite a legacy for themselves over the past few months with one episodic franchise that is taking the world by storm. Telltale’s The Walking Dead series has created a zombie game unlike anything else on the market and with their episodic releases; they have created a fan base eager to see what will happen next. Over the last three episodes, the reviews of which can be found here, here and here, we’ve followed a group of survivors through thick and thin. Now that the fourth episode, Around Every Corner, has been released, what will Lee and the group encounter now?

Story:
We join the survivors in Around Every Corner as soon as they pull into Savannah and disembark from the train.  As the survivors venture into the streets of the city it is clear to anyone that the group is not only on the brink of shattering, but they are being crippled from the inside out. Not only is there an injured member of the group slowing them down but also a man whose life was shattered not a day before. Plus with the events of the previous episode still fresh in our minds, we know that no one is safe from the zombie apocalypse, not even children…

To top that off, anyone who has made their way through The Walking Dead from the very beginning will be hard pressed to not be saddened by the fact that the original Macon group has now come down to only a few distraught survivors which have been through hell and back. That being said, it is hard not to feel disconnected from the newer members of the group which were freshly introduced in the closing of A Long Road Ahead, as not only were we given little time with them, but little reason to care for their survival.

That is unfortunately still the case with Around Every Corner, as the episode does barely anything to focus on Chuck and Omid as the two are barely shown on-screen while Christa often provides assistance, but her first priority is always Omid. Plus, there is Ben… Now as the group manages to find a relatively safe place in Savannah, Kenny desperately searches for a boat to take them away from it all. Unfortunately things won’t be that easy for them, as zombies are everywhere in Savannah and the streets are full of stripped vehicles and boarded up buildings. With the strange voice over the radio still fresh on our minds, a new survivor’s colony with twisted rules and other survivors to encounter, Around Every Corner proves that there is always another twist that can happen at any time.

It is worth noting that one of the most concerning plot points of Around Every Corner4 is only barely dealt with until the closing minutes of the episode while the bulk of the episode focuses on trying to find and fix up a boat for Kenny. Thankfully with the various situations the group finds themselves in, players will constantly be at the edge of their seats.

Now The Walking Dead has always been about the player’s own choice and how they interact with one another and never has that been clearer than in this episode. The series has done an excellent job of making players feel connected to the group of survivors and in Episode 4 players will find some of the most difficult choices they will encounter. While a few of them are simply survival based, other decisions will strike to the very core of who the player is as they must make a choice no one should ever have to.

Visuals:
As with the past episodes in the series, Around Every Corner provides a distinct visual style that many fans of the comics would appreciate and this art style makes some of the nastier moments in the game all the more gruesome. As mentioned earlier, there are plenty of zombies to kill this time around and gore to be had and while it may have seemed bland with realistic visuals, the art style Telltale has consistently used for The Walking Dead makes these gruesome scenes all the more brutal.

It is worth noting that Episode 4 is probably one of the least troubling episodes I experienced as far as technical issues went. During a few scenes, a few zombies’ bodies seemed to move a lot faster than their shuffling forms would allow, appearing to vibrate as they walked. However outside of that there were no disappearing character models, sliding movements or strange positions like what has occurred in previous episodes.

Audio:
As before, the voice quality of the characters in Around Every Corner is top notch and you can really feel the emotion in these characters’ voices during desperate or depressing situations. There are a few new characters introduced this time around, though only one is given any extensive voice work but it is still performed admirably.

All of the various situations you will encounter while playing through Episode 4 are accompanied by some impressive background tracks as it seems that Telltale has pulled out most of the stops this time around, making sure that every track fits perfectly with the situation, enhancing the emotions felt at the time with stellar background music choices.

Gameplay:
As Lee ventures through Episode 4 they will encounter a light collection of puzzles. These puzzles are rather simplistic and involve solutions that are simply common sense based, though they do help provide a bit of an adventure feel as players will need to explore their environment to figure out how to advance.

Now while action sequences where Lee and the group’s lives have been on the line are nothing new, Episode 4 is the most action packed episode so far. While the last couple of episodes have factored in how human beings can be just as horrible as zombies, this latest episode brings the undead back with a vengeance. Savannah is full of zombies and Telltale never hesitates to put the group at the mercy of the undead.

As with episode three, there are a few first person shooting moments where players will need to aim with a gun and kill zombies that are attacking someone or about to kill them. The aiming has been improved and considering players can fire the gun with a simple pull of the right trigger, killing zombies is actually very easy this time around. That being said, it seems that Lee has grown quite used to the zombie apocalypse as he often dispatches zombies in rather quick, albeit awesome, ways. When you put this together with the fact that his pistol seems to have infinite ammo, Lee has turned into quite the zombie killing machine and gamers are there to witness his new ferocity.

Overall:
All of this culminates to creating an excellent penultimate episode with only a few minor bumps in the road. While the group has lost a lot of the dynamic over the events of the last episode and little is done to repair it during this one, Lee and Clementine’s journey of survival is still one for the ages. With more action than past episodes and a new twist that will lead into what may be the most varied episode of them all, The Walking Dead: Around Every Corner will leave players chomping at the bit to see the final outcome in Episode 5.

9-0-capsules-out-of-10

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