When an episodic game series hits the ground running, it’s hard to keep the pace going the entire way through. Though The Walking Dead was able to hit a fever pitch in Starved for Help and maintain it with Long Road Ahead after the strong start from A New Day, things have finally slowed just a bit in Episode 4 – Around Every Corner. A more timid pace with a focus on building up tension for the final episode makes this installment the low point in the series, but that doesn’t mean it’s a letdown. It’s still The Walking Dead, and Around Every Corner will offer plenty to keep players invested in Lee and Clementine’s journey.
Now in the remnants of what was once Savannah, Lee and company are about to find out if Kenny’s salvation boat really exists.. And that’s… just about all the story resolves in Episode 4. We don’t really find out anything new about the voice on Clemintine’s walkie talkie, or whether or not the poor girl’s parents are alive are dead. It’s all mostly posturing and positioning.
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t an interesting story to be told. Players learn of a society within Savannah (similar to the comic’s Woodbury) and the dangers within. There are also plenty more Lee and Clementine moments that will both warm gamers’ hearts and pull at their heartstrings, while the Lee-Kenny relationship will be put through even more tests. A bit of focus is put on Ben – someone who definitely needs to start making things right – but if you didn’t like him before, don’t expect those feelings to change. Despite the story’s issues, the ending – while not exactly what I was hoping for – hits a high intensity and will have you begging for the finale.
There are a few new characters introduced here, but only one truly stands out. That fresh face is Molly, a Savannah survivor with spunk, smarts, and strong instincts. She’s become, hands down, the most interesting character introduced since Telltale decided to take an axe to most of the original gang. This includes Omid and Christa who, despite their ample screen time, fail to cause a real connection.
Around Every Corner features more of the first-person shooting first seen during Long Road Ahead. These are used sparingly (there’s only two of them) and never feel forced or out of place. Even better, they’re used while the player tries to protect or save other members of the group. Although one of the high-tension shooting moments kept those I saved safely behind a door, the other had them right in the line of fire and inches away from death. It gave me a sense of urgency and the need for finesse that got my blood pumping; a wonderful companion to the game’s intense dialogue and QTEs.
What looked like a runaway freight train has slowed down just a tad, but by no means is The Walking Dead: Episode 4 – Around Every Corner a disappointment or black mark on the successful series. Fans will still get plenty of enjoyment out of the continued evolution in Clementine and Lee’s relationship, a strong new character, more thought-provoking moments the property is known for, and one intense lead-in to the game’s final chapter. I say, “Bring on Episode 5!”
Review based on PC release.