This is it, the final season of Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead. We now follow Clementine’s footsteps. After three rewarding seasons, The Walking Dead: The Final Season brings in a lot of changes, we get to witness Clementine’s growth and as a parent to AJ like what Lee had for her. It’s Clementine’s time and this first episode, Done Running, slowly unveils what the future episodes hold.
Writing reviews for episodic games like this make spoilers difficult to avoid. As much as possible, I’m only going to talk about evident changes that this new season has. But still, be aware for some minor spoilers below.
Done Running starts at a time when Clementine is all grown up with AJ as her former self when Lee was still around. AJ is nothing like Clem. He is stubborn, brave, but also easily influenced. The decisions you make highly affects AJs perspective on certain things. Let’s say if you try to kill a person in front of him, he surprises you in situations you least expect it.
That goes the same to the group of people you stumble after surviving from an accident. Clementine gets to meet a bunch of teenage survivors clumped up in what seems to be a private school hidden in a little forest. I’m the type of player who wants to please everyone, so at first, it seemed pretty easy to win all of their hearts and gain their trusts. When you develop these attachments to certain characters, you feel obliged or the need to save them. With Telltale Games’ approach to these kinds of games, it’s already expected that certain characters will die and you have to either choose who to save. It’s kind of disappointing in a way that you’re still not 100% in control of what’s going to happen with specific characters. You can’t save all of them. Certain characters are destined to die whether or not you try to save them. There’s no point in trying, apparently.
The improvements on Telltale Games’ engine was really impressive. Aside from the obvious graphical upgrade, what’s new about The Final Season is the camera angle. Unlike in the past seasons of The Walking Dead, the third-person over-the-shoulder view brings you to connect with Clementine. It also adds the horror atmosphere throughout the game. Combat also becomes more natural, while it’s still your typical quick-time-event sequences, you’re given at least little control. You can kick a walker’s leg first before stabbing its head with a knife. There are also instances in the game where you can take advantage of the traps scattered around the field. You’re more involved, in short.
Done Running didn’t give that much of a great impression as a season starter. You’re more focused on many things like making AJ apologize to a lot of people in the group which took a few more minutes and other unnecessary fillers. While I do understand that Telltale Games is trying to build up the characters and their relationship that would eventually be a huge impact in the season finale, knowing that this final season is only up to four episodes, they could have focused more on Clementine and AJ in the first episode like what they did with Javier in Season 3: A New Frontier.
Disclosure: This review is based on a retail copy purchased by the author.