This season of The Walking Dead got off to a bit of a rocky start as players had to acclimate to controlling Clementine, not Lee, and Telltale had to find their footing with this new dynamic. It didnt take them long. Episode 2 created tense situations by pitting older story elements with newer ones, testing my loyalties and forcing me to make tough decisions. With Episode 3, In Harm’s Way, Telltale has raised the bar once again and delivered not only the best episode of The Walking Dead to date, but one of the most involving videogames that Ive ever played.

Perfecting the Wheel

I was going to use the phrase reinventing the wheel but that isnt entirely accurate. Telltale didnt reinvent the wheel; this is the same choose your own adventure storytelling that weve seen in games for years. It just works better than it ever has because the story that it fits into is among the best Ive seen in gaming.

The writing in The Walking Dead has always been solid but its reached a point where the choices have become so compelling that its showing me what this genre couldve been all along. Telltale Games were already the master of story-based gaming, but now theyve cemented their legacy.

There is No Choice


Im a nice guy by nature (just ask my mom!), so when I play games that allow me to choose a side, so to speak, I naturally play as altruistically as possible. I have a hero complex thats exclusive to videogames. Mass Effect, Bioshock, Fallout 3 all good guys. Even when I do a second playthrough with the intention of seeing what the other side of is like, I find myself split down the middle in my decisions, unable to go full dark side.

With Episode 3 of The Walking Dead, I didnt have a choice. And I realize now that thats how its intended to be played. When I choose to say or do something, it means that Im not as engrossed in the story as I could be, because if I were, it wouldnt be a choice. Obviously Im not going to spoil anything here, but there were moments in the game where I was so angry and upset that I already knew what action I would take before I was given any options. It led to me doing things that are very out of character for me and that should stand as a grand testament to the effectiveness of Telltale. The writing is incredible, but the voice actors deserve equal credit for doing it justice and reeling me in.

I’m still blown away by how little control I had over myself when it came to making decisions.

I Know That Voice!


Speaking of voicework, theres a character who pops up in Episode 3 with a voice that many people wont recognize, but I certainly did. I was excited at first, but I was quickly taken out of it when the actors natural humor came through very strongly.

It becomes obvious that the character is being played as comic relief, to the point where another character flat out mentions that you need people like that around to keep things light. Once this direction is established, its much easier to accept and the characters overall likeability leads to some powerful moments.

The Walking Dead: 400 Days

In between seasons one and two of The Walking Dead, Telltale released the 400 Days DLC. The “special” episode featured a new cast of characters and promised to factor into the main narrative. It’s fantastic that Telltale is weaving their own mythos and it’s a total bummer that my useless memory sometimes prevents me from recognizing elements that I should know.

However, those who played Episode 2 of season two know that a character from 400 Days shows up at the end and the ties continue throughout Episode 3… depending on how your playthrough of the DLC went. Episode 3 already had so much going for it before I realized that 400 Days stuff was popping up, which is just icing on the cake.

The Bar Has Been Raised


I don’t know how they’re going to top Episode 3, not that they have to. Honestly, they can come pretty short of the bar set by this episode of The Walking Dead and still deliver a great time, but I really hope that the season finishes just as strong as it’s gotten. I’ve never been so engrossed in a game and my anticipation for Episode 4 couldn’t be any higher.

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