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Review: The Walking Dead Game Forces All Hands In Brutal, Snow-Covered Finale

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the walking dead the gameWhat would you do if you were starving, exhausted, and injured, out in the middle of a snowstorm, and you were forced to make one of the most difficult decisions of your life, all based on your capacity for friendship and forgiveness? It’s not a question that normally pops up in people’s day-to-day lives, but for The Walking Dead: The Game‘s Clementine, it’s just a Tuesday afternoon. Her transition from war-worn group member to take-charge leader is at the heart of “No Going Back,” the game’s excellent Season 2 finale, and it’s up to players to traverse the emotional landscape to allow her to reach the other side with any of her morals intact. It’s a rough journey, to say the least.

Starting off in the middle of the gunfight that ended Episode 4, “No Going Back” exemplifies its title from the very first second. While I’m trying to keep spoilers to a minimum for this review, I don’t think I’m giving too much away by saying the Russians are all disposed of in a most bloody manner here, leaving Clementine with Alvin and Rebecca’s baby, which Kenny becomes obsessed with and names Alvin Jr. The rebellious Jane also makes an appearance early on, joining Luke, Bonnie, and Mike to make this something of a full family unit. And we all know what happens when family gets together under duress, right?

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The Walking Dead: The Game Relives Every Tragedy In Season 2 Finale Trailer

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A video game is often only as good as its lead character, and Telltale’s The Walking Dead: The Game rests comfortably on the shoulders of young Clementine, a survivor who has gone through just about every kind of tragedy in the game’s two seasons. The Season 2 finale, “No Going Back,” will be available for download tomorrow, and the five-minute preview seen above makes me want to put on a battered baseball cap and hit the streets, looking for a reason to live. It’s kind of depressing.

When we last saw Clementine in Episode 4, she was in the middle of a Mexican standoff between members of her group and members of another group, called into play by an asshole twerp named Arvo. We didn’t even get a “Next Time on…” segment at the end, making one wonder just what the hell is in store for these characters.

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The Walking Dead: The Game – Tragedy And Childbirth Make Episode 4 A Series Highlight

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While the Episode 4 SPOILERS are kept to a minimum, you’ll definitely want to play Episode 3 before reading.

walking dead gameIn the world of The Walking Dead, the only safety is in knowing that there is no safety. Undead walkers are around every corner and behind every door, just waiting to turn people’s faces into mulch. Yet Telltale’s The Walking Dead: The Game has consistently proven that humans are still capable of the most monstrous actions in this post-apocalyptic world, and Episode 4, Amid the Ruins, is a dark and dreary reminder of that fact. Complete with tons of gore, decision-making, and the brief potential for humane sympathy, of course.

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Telltale Unveils The Walking Dead Episode 4 Trailer And Release Date

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Though they generally put out fantastic products, Telltale Games is often thought of as the scourge of humanity by gamers who hate the company’s seemingly random release dates. Fans wait months between episodes of games like The Walking Dead and the now-completed first season of The Wolf Among Us, with the announcements usually arriving only a week or two before the episodes hit the Internet. Such is the case once more, as Telltale revealed the full trailer for the fourth episode of The Walking Dead: The Game Season 2, “Amid the Ruins,” and confirmed the installment will be available for download on July 22. Maybe I’m biased here, but it certainly looks like it was worth the wait.

Spoilers ahead!

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The Walking Dead: The Game, Episode 3 Hits You With Dark, Violent Days

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the walking dead the gameOne of the key differences between video games and television is many games’ reliance on players being desensitized to violence, while television will often try to shock viewers with moments of brutality. In episodic fashion, Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead: The Game has now given us nine installments of what has often delivered truly engrossing storytelling, and rather than merely forcing its main character to kill and kill and kill, the game asks players to embrace the psychological side of survival horror with its decision-based branching narrative. There are some truly horrifying decisions to be made during the latest episode, “In Harm’s Way,” and one in particular that will test just how far gone players have gone in terms of bloodlust, as seen through the eyes of the hardened young Clementine.