The long wait is finally over. The Walking Dead: Episode 3 – Long Road Ahead has finally been released by Telltale Games, and is available for download on PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. The latest chapter, which is the third in a five-part series, details what may be the most dangerous moments yet for Lee Everett and his group of survivors. From the fortified motor inn to Georgian railroad tracks, Long Road Ahead is set to take things to a whole new level.
Both the first and second episodes of The Walking Dead managed to do a phenomenal job in terms of building characters and forcing tough choices on the player. In the third episode, the game takes a step back from its focus on character building and lets havoc run loose on all of the decisions players have made. Characters will fall apart before Lee’s eyes, and the player’s choices will directly impact the group at a much faster pace than in previous episodes. Truly, The Long Road Ahead is the most emotional episode yet, and will make players question themselves more than ever before.
Things were already close to the melting point in Episode 2, and right at the beginning of Episode 3 that point is finally reached. Not only does the group begin to crumble even worse than before, but players will have to judge for themselves when someone from the group is called out as a traitor. Moments like these are where The Walking Dead flexes its figurative muscles, evoking guilt-ridden and tense emotions from gamers over and over again, pushing its characters in a such a way that sitting on the fence just stops being a viable option. Previous choices – and new ones – are set to have huge ramifications in this episode.
In terms of gameplay, the system has thankfully remained unchanged. Telltale has set up a system that works well, and has certainly hit its stride in terms of placing action icons around the environments. It’s typically very clear what to do or where to go, and players will know when the time for action is at hand. Most importantly, the action plays out smoothly – even though some of the button-mashing events in this episode are a lot less challenging than those in previous installments.
Your trust will be put through its ultimate test in Episode Three.
Truthfulness is a significant theme this episode – and an issue that threatens to undermine all the trust Lee has managed to build up in his relations with everyone, Clementine included. From opting to reveal Lee’s murderous pass to outright lying to new characters, players will have to make quick decisions and will likely find themselves oddly judgmental of their own words mere moments after choosing to say them. Long Road Ahead is extremely guilt-driven; emotionally, it is the lowest most of the characters have ever been. Despite its story-intensive developments, the game still has some action moments – but certainly fewer than the farm in Episode 2.
The Walking Dead: Episode 3 had its fair share of bugs on release day, including glitched camera angles and character models that disappeared during cutscenes. It’s pretty awkward talking to Duck when the kid is pulling an unintentional Hollow Man, but thankfully none of this occurred during the game’s more dramatic scenes. Despite these technical shortcomings, gamers will find themselves wanting to play the episode again right after they finish the first time, if only to see how drastically different things could have ended up had different choices been made.
If there is anything thing players will realize by the end of the game, it’s that the living are still the largest threat. Furthermore, whether Lee will burn bridges to protect Clementine, or extend the hand of friendship, remains the player’s choice. Telltale Games may have been behind schedule with Episode 3, but the finished product advances the series to a titillating point of no return, and provides a thrilling, edge-of-your-seat experience from start to finish. Long Road Ahead will leave players with an insatiable appetite for more, as the direction of the series finally reaches the point we all saw coming from the very beginning: it’s truly do or die time for Lee’s plan. After the shock ending of this Long Road Ahead, it’s safe to say that Episode 4 can’t arrive soon enough.
The Walking Dead: Episode 3 is available now for PC, PS3, and Xbox 360. Game Rant played the PS3 version for this review.
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