The Walking Dead Episode Three: Long Road Ahead

PSN, X-Box Live, PC

Rated M

The latest installment of Telltale Game’s episodic video game based on The Walking Dead comic debuted to hungry fans with more deaths and more bugs. Once again, after downloading the add on, I was prompted to download a patch to correct some issues. But unfortunately this didn’t even fix all the bugs.

This is the latest string of games to release with known issues. Silent Hill HD collection was riff was with problems that have only been corrected for the PS3 version and any gamer knows the debacle with Fallout New Vegas. This is the second time this series has had an update on the first day. Episodic games, unlike TV shows and, now, movie franchises, are not created in a lump sum. This inevitability leads to release delays and apparently bug issues. The continued lateness of these games are a perpetual downfall for this series, and I don’t think the original goal of having all five episodes out before the TV version starts October 14 will not be met.

The second episode was action packed and kept you on your toes; now this episode slows down to really focus on the characters, their conflicts, and their choices. There is a lot of satisfaction for games to finally see our choices play out. The plot unfolds differently for players and their choices than it has in recent episodes making the player feel that their choices really do matter.

Lee must investigate the disappearance of supplies that Lily is not authorizing. Finding the culprit leads to a bandit raid, the troupe leaving the motel, and, ultimately, the death of a fan favorite. The issues between Lily and Kenny FINALLY come to a head, and Lee has to deal with the problem with only input from the player. The ensuing chaos leads the gang to an abandoned train and dealing with the side effects of one of their own being bit. There is plenty of zombie action, but the key to this episode is the character drama.

This has always been the biggest draw to TWD. TWD is a character driven comic, show, and game. It is our bonding with this character and the fear of loosing them that endures us to their plight in the zombie apocalypse. In this episode, we really see growth from the youngest of the crew. Ben must face complex feelings and deal with making adult choices. Clem herself matures though she has more growth to go before she’s really ready for this zombie world

The only drawback to this episode is the bugs. Early in the episode, when I made choices it cut off character conversations and there were times when Kat was holding an invisible Duck. But these were minor issues. I am still unhappy with the game play mechanism (aiming and attacking with the same hand) but I knew that wasn’t going to change. But these do not keep you from enjoying the well scripted game.

Emotionally moving and building up towards an explosive finally Long Road Ahead overcomes its bugs to provide a solid TWD tale.

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