Lee Everett and the remaining survivors have come a long way since his initial police cruise from Atlanta. Having survived countless walkers, bandits, internal struggles and heartbreak galore, it seems almost fitting that The Walking Dead tries to make each of those issues re-appear during Lee’s conclusive episode.
Entitled No Time Left, the episode throws small decisions out the window and larger choices have monumental ramifications. With time running out to save Clementine, Lee and the few remaining survivors (or possibly just Lee himself) embark on one last trip through the bloody streets of Savannah.
In Episode Four, the group usually had time between events to slow down the narrative and provide some story-building conversations. For the finale, TellTale has removed the small-talk and placed gamers into some of the most intensive action scenes yet (late in the episode, there’s a killing spree that should satisfy any gamer’s lust for walker-stabbing). The conversations that do happen between the action aren’t lightly worded, but either have you making life-or-death choices or trying to explain your actions – including ones made long ago. This is one of the strongest points of the entire series: by reflecting on Lee’s (and, by extension, the player’s) choices, TellTale Games has once again made gamers question their own morality, which creates a surprisingly deep connection with the characters.
Ultimately, for the season finale of a fantastic emotional journey, No Time Left is a little too short to do Lee justice. At around one hour and twenty minutes from start to finish, it’s certainly the shortest episode of the entire series. While everything packed into the last episode offered top-notch storytelling and action sequences, the story of Lee’s rescue of Clementine could have been fleshed out more, particularly where other characters are involved. On the technical side, there were a few issues with framerate earlier on, but TellTale is already working on a patch to fix those problems. In any event, both of these faults are quickly overshadowed by the success of the episode – offering a satisfying conclusion.
Gamers will find themselves going through the final scene with heavy hearts, directing the flow of what has been one of the most gut-wrenching conversations in the history of gaming narrative. Be sure to stay around post-credits, where an additional scene certainly sets the ball rolling for a second season, which is still unconfirmed – though TellTale stated it would love to make it official. Many will walk away from No Time Left craving even more – given that The Walking Dead presented fans with the opportunity to craft their own stories little by little. While the ending may be virtually the same regardless of these choices (a la Mass Effect 3), Lee and Clementine’s unbreakable father-and-daughter connection will leave gamers marked with a lasting impression.
The Walking Dead set out to prove that moral choices and character development could deliver an amazing experience, and TellTale Games has combined these elements for a solid blend of narrative and quick-time action. The entire series is an excellent playthrough from start to finish, and although the season finale isn’t as conclusive as some might like, it rang true to Kirkman’s Walking Dead and should ultimately be pleasing to fans.
No Time Left can be a real tear-jerker, and delivers strong performances all across the board to finish a high quality series with gusto – if you haven’t jumped into Lee’s story, we highly recommend it.
The Walking Dead: Episode 5 is available now for PC, PS3, and Xbox 360. Game Rant played the PS3 version for this review.
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