The Walking Dead: The Final Season Review – Done Running

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The Walking Dead: The Final Season

£18.99 (On Steam)

ALL REVIEWS: Overwhelmingly Positive

RELEASE DATE: 14 Aug, 2018

DEVELOPER: Telltale Games

Telltale’s The Walking Dead series has been running since 2012 and with the release of the final Episode over the coming months it feels like the end of an era. The Walking Dead pioneered the episodic adventure game format, being split into multiple Episodes and seasons and helped popularise the multiple choice game mechanic.

We have been following the Walking Dead for 6 years now falling in love with its characters, with Lee and Clementine. Now comes the final season and what a series the 1st installment has been!

(Minor Spoilers for the newest episode are below so be warned!)

The Story

The Walking Dead has been one of the best Zombie apocalypse stories I have experienced. The characters are real and complex and the choices you make feel like they have an actual impact on the world.

It feels like for the newest series Done Running Telltale has seriously stepped up their game (pun intended). After finally reuniting with AJ and traveling across country by car Clem and AJ find themselves in trouble. After a raid gone wrong on an abandoned house they are taken in by a group of kids to an old Boarding School.

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The rest you should experience for yourself but suffice it to say the storyline so far has been intense. There are some great characters and its interesting to explore how young people would cope with the apocalypse. Considering most games focus on adults. Being flung into an already tense group dynamic and having to feel your way through different situations all the while being a parent to AJ is an interesting line to navigate.

The first series is like all the others in that it is a slower series from a plot perspective. It set up the main conflict of the rest of the Episode well and does a good job at introducing the other characters to us and it will be interesting to see where it leads.

The Features

The final episode is run on a brand new engine. While I’m not exactly the most tech savvy person even I can see the improvement from previous games. The usual Telltale formula has been refined over the years and the quicktime actions and overall game play is far more fluid than in earlier installments.

That’s not to mention the graphics. The game looks beautiful more detailed and has certainly improved. Being at least 8 years into the apocalypse the nature slowly taking over buildings and the more rural forested setting also add to the experience and remind me of the Last of Us in style.

As a Telltale game there are of course multiple choices you can make that alter the story. So far the choices have been minimal and it will be interesting to see how they develop and what new choices will come our way. My biggest hope through is that our choices carry weight. Too often in game with branching decisions do they end up feeling meaningless in the context of the wider story. With this being the final installment. There is scope for some really dramatically different endings based on the path you choose because there is no need to find a way to bring each branch back together into the next game. We will just have to wait and see what we get.

The Relationships

This time round the game puts greater emphasis on how your actions impact your relationships with the group. The end of Done Running offers a breakdown of what characters each feel about you and this is all made more challenging by AJ.

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Telltale have done a great job in forcing you into a real balancing act. With AJ to protect and teach there are times where I found myself going against my own judgement to teach AJ a lesson. There are times where AJ does not seem to understand the concept of ownership or dismisses those that do not survive as weak. And I found myself trying to explain and avoid AJ becoming too hardened and ruthless to the world.

To Conclude

The Final Season is the end of an era, 6 years in the making. Telltale has been consistent throughout, producing a great story with memorable characters and it will be a shame to see it end. Over the years Telltale has built upon its success and refined the mechanics culminating in this final installment. For one I cannot wait to see where things go and what the next series (releasing this September) will bring.

I love the Walking Dead series and am intrigued to see how it all ends and how the relationship between AJ and Clem develops (hopefully not ending in the same way as Lee and Clem!). For all the positives though I think it’s the right time to end the series. The popularity of the Zombie game has risen in population and begun to wane and what better than to end on a high? I play the Walking Dead for the story and the characters so I truly am loving it so far, the story has come full circle, Clem is time and again mirroring Lee in her actions even being in a car crash like Lee at the start of Season 1. She’s certainly committed!

All I hope is that me and Clem manage to steer AJ into a similar path to Clem and balance the need for survival with the need to maintain our humanity.

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