Video Game Review: The Walking Dead — The Final Season, Episode 3
Better hope that finger isn’t loaded.
Please note that since each episode of The Walking Dead — The Final Season features the same graphics engine and control setup, those elements will not be repeated in our reviews for the final three episodes. To read our complete thoughts on that, refer to our review of Episode 1, Done Running.
The final season of The Walking Dead has showcased TellTale at its peak, and the first two episodes have hit all of the biggest, most emotional beats found in the genre of interactive fiction. Much of this stems from the sheer history of Clementine, and as the third episode, Broken Toys, opens, we see Clementine as we’ve never witnessed before.
With the Ericson school in shambles, friends captured into slavery and a prisoner in their hands, Clementine may not be the official leader of the group but she’s both the emotional and strategic driver.
Yet at the same time, Clementine’s goal us to protect AJ — not just physically, but emotionally in a world gone to hell. Thus the episode’s first major segment pits Clem in full Rick Grimes mode, all while AJ is watching. It’s clear that the resulting actions will leave an impact on the young child, leaving a moral quandary that is TellTale at its best.
Without diving into spoilers, the rest of the episode turns the dial up on character and tension. James, the mysterious teen who used to be with the Whisperer gang, gets more backstory about his history and philosophy. At the same time, the Ericson kids get a look at their own pasts, which grounds them while establishing the stark context of life in the apocalypse.
There’s also one flashback scene that encapsulates Clementine’s entire arc, and the feelings you get in that moment may demonstrate that TellTale’s series is the best among any in Robert Kirkman’s franchise.
Violence is inevitable, though. And since this is The Walking Dead, things are going to go wrong and choices will be made. It is rough and emotional and you get the nagging feeling of dread as the story throttles towards a confrontation with Lily and her gang. The action suffers a bit here, due to the clunky nature of TellTale’s action programming. This ain’t Uncharted and it shows in the clumsy violence.
The next episode caps off the entire series — and TellTale as a company — and it’s entirely possible that it will end in nihilism, as so much of The Walking Dead does. But given the journey we’ve taken with Clementine, we think ending with hope would be the proper way to go.
Clementine’s story is hurtling to a close, though her penultimate episode hits the appropriate emotional highs and lows as set by this final season. Saying goodbye to Clem next episode will be bittersweet but at least her final season has made it three-quarters through at peak TellTale.