THE WALKING DEAD: THE FINAL SEASON
By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on April 9, 2019
I can only imagine that being a survivor after the zombie apocalypse has swept across the planet is far from easy. Especially if you're just a little kid. If you're lucky, you meet someone who takes care of you and teaches you to take care of yourself, so you can grow up in relative safety. And if you're really, really lucky. they don't die on you. One such kid, albeit not really, really lucky, is a girl called Clementine, and it's time to see the end of her story...
Yes ladies and germs, it's time to witness the last season of Telltale Games' acclaimed The Walking Dead game series. Well, the series is no longer exclusively Telltale territory, seeing as how Skybound Games has taken over developing duties for the last two episodes of this final season. Now, enough has been said about the reasons behind this switch in developers, so I won't go into that. The only thing I will say is that, personally, I'm very glad Skybound decided to finish the story and give us some measure of closure!
Back to the game at hand; after seeing Clementine struggle to come to terms with growing up, as well as everything that's happened to the world for three whole seasons, the story of the once little girl is coming to a close in this four-episode final season. As we rejoin Clementine, she is still traveling round with AJ, her adopted little brother. As it has been since the beginning of the series, the search for food and shelter is always the first priority. Also, Clementine has to teach AJ all he needs to know in order to not only survive, but grow up to be a strong and just young man in this dangerous world. Of course, with AJ being a young boy of approximately six years old, this will not always go off without a hitch.
The story of Clementine has never been an easy one. When we met her for the first time, back in 2012, most of us instantly fell in love with her innocence and cared for her as best we could. Now, seven years and countless deceased friends later, Clementine is a young woman who is more than capable in dealing with the ruined world around her. And although she is still young, she serves as a mother/big sister figure for the much younger AJ. As we start the very first episode of the final season, we catch up with Clem and AJ, as they are on the road. They come across a seemingly abandoned railway station and decide to search for food. But, as in mostly the case in the world of The Walking Dead, things go from alright to fubar in no time flat...
As the Walking Dead games are all about the development of the story, I will not be talking about that. After all, the games in this series are best enjoyed without any knowledge about the story upfront. All I will say is that, if the previous seasons of The Walking Dead games had you sitting on the edge of your seat, then the final season will take away the seat completely and leave you staring at your screen in horror, amazement, disgust, empathy and sheer joy... all in the span of an episode!
The controls and basic gameplay hasn't really changed throughout the series, and this final season is no exception to this rule. You can make your character walk around the environments, talk to people, investigate and pick up and use objects. Conversations with other people are a big part of the Walking Dead experience, so get ready to talk a lot. Luckily, these conversations never feel dull or trivial, and give you a lot of insight into the ruined world. At other times, the game will go into a more action oriented mode, in which you'll have to hide from, or even fight, walkers as well as other people. When this happens, the camera usually draws somewhat nearer to your character and you'll have to react to a series of quick-time events. Do this successfully, and you'll survive. Get it wrong... well, you can probably imagine what will happen.
Visually, this final season of The Walking Dead looks better than any Walking Dead game has ever looked before. Now, I know this is usually to be expected because the game is a few years younger than the previous one, but this season looks so good, I just really wanted to point this out. The characters look amazing, as do the environments. The cool thing about the visual upgrade from previous games is the fact that, now, characters blend into the background much more, making for a truly balanced and complete picture. The environments are positively brimming with detail and really enhance the Walking Dead experience. So, girls, guys, everyone who worked on the visual aspects of the final season; I loudly applaud your awesome work!
Of course, it takes more than beautiful graphics to make a great game. Luckily, The Walking Dead also excels in every other field imaginable. The story, the sound, the gameplay, player immersion; every one of these things is nothing short of top-notch, making these games an experience you will not want to miss. So, What's left to say? I personally love the Walking Dead games and am more than sure that a lot of people out there feel the same. If you're a fan of graphic adventures, you should really give these games a try. And while it isn't mandatory to have played the previous three seasons, you will be selling yourself short if you don't! This is made substantially easier since the Walking Dead Collection was released, bringing us all episodes of season 1-3, as well as the 400 days episode and the Michonne mini-series in one cool package.
I have been on this journey with Clementine ever since the first game came out and have absolutely loved every gut-wrenching, heart-warming or blood-curdling second of it! And while I am a bit sad that this epic adventure has come to an end, I'm really glad I got to be a part of it for the last seven years. So before I sign off, I would just like to extend a fond "thank you" to everyone who helped make the Walking Dead game series into such an awesome experience!