Published on December 6th, 2012 | by Derek Strickland, Contributor
The Walking Dead Episode 5: No Time Left Review
Review Notes: A copy of the game was provided for review purposes.
The last chapter of The Walking Dead game revs up the suspense with many plot twists that were introduced in the last episode. Clementine has been abducted by an unknown malefactor, presumably the man who had been talking to her via the walkie-talkie she always carries, and Lee has been bitten by a walker, making every second of life all the more precious and giving prestige to the title No Time Left.
Lee devotes his last remaining moments of life to finding Clementine, and will not rest until he’s assured that she’s safe. The others (depending on the choices that you’ve made throughout each of the chapters) stand behind Lee and his decision, putting all plans of escape via the boat aside to bring Clem back.
Once again, this chapter of The Walking Dead delivers a groundbreaking performance that’s infused with horror, drama and masterful suspense, creating a series of emotionally jarring situations that chill as well as touch your heart. Players are driven and motivated to find the charming and innocent Clementine, who represents the last vestige of hope for the group, and remains Lee’s last remaining reason for living. (Note: The following text may contain spoilers)
As the story develops and the survivors make their way back to the mansion, they find the boat missing, and with it their guaranteed chance to make it out of the city. This dismays everyone, putting Kenny in a near-hysterical state of anger in the process. Vernon, the doctor who actually had helped quite a bit back in Crawford, actually double-crossed the team and stole the boat, presumably making off with his own group.
The loss of the boat is a huge blow to their morale, but the survivors make do with their situation, and this actually anchors them to their quest to find Clementine. With no other choice, they move forward with Lee at the lead and following him into the dead-filled streets of Savannah to reclaim Clementine…
In terms of gameplay mechanics, No Time Left continues the controls and other features that are familiar elements in the other games, including the third-person views and blend of creative action and dialogue sequences. Not much changes in the last chapter except for the dynamic story arc where many decisions are weighted, allowing players to choose their own paths that they’d like to take.
The last chapter keeps the signature point-and-click style to it while still having the free-roam feel, and depending how you play the game–whether you use a gamepad or the standard keyboard/mouse combination–determines your control scheme.
Players still have to interact with in-game environments and find clues or other objects to solve mini-puzzles that utilize critical thinking skills.
Dialogue decisions are still involved, allowing gamers to choose their responses to various interpersonal questions as well as interactions with the other survivors. Players can also determine how they want to respond to various in-game situations: at one point, for example, players can actually choose to have Lee’s arm cut off in order to try to save him from infection. Hey, it worked for Herschel in the show–maybe it’ll work for Lee?
No Time Left also keeps the series’ grim and grisly horror-infused gore, which has become a staple to all things Walking Dead. Players will come across many gut-wrenching displays of horror, some of which will actually affect you emotionally and may bring a tear to your eye. The finale continues to explore the ruined world and its effects on the human psyche, and our survivors must face terrible decisions that would strip the steel out of even the strongest gamer’s resolve.
Despite the nightmarish realities and terrifying horror, No Time Left touches players in a very real way with Lee’s struggle to get Clementine back. Every gamer feels a kinship with the charming and quite tough little girl, and as you play you feel motivated to do everything you can to get her back: to make any decision, to do whatever it takes to reclaim her.
There are many instances where players must make use of their button-mashing skills or firearm accuracy as the familiar mechanics are creatively used throughout the game. Whether you’re pushing a piece of furniture to obstruct a horde of undead walkers or trying to jam a door shut. For example, gamers will have to mash any one of the four face buttons (or keys on a keyboard, if you play without a keypad) rapidly and quickly press a random button to complete the sequence.
Along with the button-mashing sequences, there are instances of third-person shooter action where players annihilate zombies with good old-fashioned gunslinging. During these moments players usually have to move backwards while shooting. These often lead to things happening to your character–such as Lee’s leg falling through a rickety stair–that inhibits players so they have to focus not only on shooting walkers but on the secondary goal.
The action sequences bring a sense of both fun and direness to the gameplay, and many times players have to make a decision that will affect the rest of the game: “You can’t save both of them, so pick one” or “It’s either you or them”. These hard choices go a long way into making The Walking Dead games memorable as well as gut-wrenchingly emotional.
Final Truth: No Time Left concludes Telltale’s critically acclaimed game adaptations of The Walking Dead, bringing the series to a close with a shocking conclusion. With a realistic cast of characters who have their own personalities and reactions to the nightmarish world around them, The Walking Dead titles have brought the comic books to life in a brand new way with a series of games that adapt to your specific choices.
Episode 5 carries forth everything that the other chapters have put into place, blending masterful horror-infused suspense with zombie-slaying gunslinging action along with incredibly creative nightmarish scenarios and sequences. No Time Left plays like both a movie and a game, engaging gamers in an expansive and disheartening emotional journey that stays true to The Walking Dead universe. It’s terrifying, heart-wrenching, and invigorating at the same time, and brings a great gaming experience for fans of the comics everywhere.
+ Awesome zombie-slaying action
+ Emotional story arc
+ Realistic characters
+ Masterful suspense
+ Plot twists
+ Game adapts to your in-game decisions
– Can be quite heart-wrenchingly sad
– Inappropriate for some players
The Walking Dead games are now available for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Windows/Mac and iOS. For more information please visit Telltale’s official website.