The Walking Dead: Episode 3: Long Road Ahead – Review

Platform | Release Date
XBLA, PC | August 29, 2012
PSN | August 28, 2012
Developed by Telltale Games
Published by Telltale Games

The Pitch:

Lee Everett, a man convicted of a crime of passion, has been given the chance for redemption in a world devastated by the undead. Players will experience life changing events, meet new characters and familiar ones from the original comic, and also visit locations that foreshadow the story of Deputy Sheriff Rick Grimes. The Walking Dead offers a tailored game experience – player actions, choices and decisions affect how the story plays out across the entire series.

Through the first two episodes, Telltale’s series based on The Walking Dead has been a critical darling. Realistic, complex, and sympathetic characters find themselves in dire circumstances, and as players we cling to our controllers and wait for the chance to breathe.

24 hours after finishing Episode 3: Long Road Ahead, I’m still fighting for air.

It feels larcenous to tell you even that much; I’m so hesitant to share the slightest detail that might tarnish someone else’s playthrough. Somehow, over the course of a few hours, Long Road Ahead presented the most emotionally impactful and gut-wrenching experience I’ve ever played. Brutally intelligent in approach, the newest episode plays to some of our darkest fears, drowns us in unbearable sadness, and turns every source of hope to despair.

This unabashed attack on hope is the most overwhelming. Throughout the series, I have been able to act in ways I felt were good and moral, holding out hope for a happy ending. Hope has been a sanctuary amidst the Walkers. In my mind I see a set of scales, and for all the horrors I’ve witnessed I imagine an equal helping of joys await to balance the scales. The noble hero will triumph because he’s noble and heroic and by extension so are we. This is a game, after all. Escapism.

But I don’t feel noble or heroic anymore; I feel like a liar. I’ve told Clementine things will get better someday. The words were written by Sean Vanaman, spoken by Dave Fennoy, but I said them. I think she believed the words, but after this Long Road, I know I don’t believe them anymore.

Now I know those scales can never equal out. These characters live in a world that isn’t fair; it’s dying. When things are bad, it’s only because they haven’t had a chance to get worse yet. It’s magical and wondrous to see such a powerful example of this medium’s potential for emotional impact, but it hurts like hell in the process.

About Adam Bash

Adam Bash was the host of the Fall Damage podcast and is currently a contributor to Splitkick. He helps make the site do things.
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