For those who have been following closely with Telltale’s episodic arcade title The Walking Dead, it wouldn’t be far fetched whatsoever to say that zombies are the worst. From Lee’s humble, prison-bound entry into the zombie apocalypse to the crew’s near death experience at a seemingly lovely farm, there have been no shortage of thrilling moments throughout the first two episodes, and we’re incredibly pleased to say that things only intensify during “Long Road Ahead.” It shouldn’t come as a surprise at Telltale’s continued success, but after seeing the third episode’s credits roll, we found our jaw on the floor and our hearts beating abnormally inside our chests – a formula of success.
After the horrid events that took place during episode two, the curtains open with the team in major distress, but at least safe. Depending on your choices throughout the series, characters may or may not be present, but nevertheless, you quickly find out that someone’s been stealing supplies from the camp. Better yet, you find out that this someone has been dealing with the ugly bandits you’ve come to know and hate. Events quickly turn south after the aforementioned thieves overthrow the motel, and as you can imagine, your party is in dire need of answers that eventually come through some of the most gut-wrenching sequences yet.
Without spoiling the major events that stack-up throughout Long Road Ahead, we can confirm, and admire, the fact that whereas episode two revolved around more surprises and “WTF” moments, the third installment focuses on Lee and the squad’s desperation that nearly overthrows them on. Surprisingly, though, fewer surprises equal more action, which compliments the narrative excellently. One moment that that totally through us off guard was the motel shootout. Instead of finding interactive ways to take down the bandits, you simply pull out your scoped sniper rifle and pick apart the foes while your friends dash for safety in the camper. It seems simply enough, but it’s such a nice change of pace from the first two episodes and deserves praise.
The sequences we alluded to above are truly Long Road Ahead’s most appetizing feature. By now you’ve invested in these characters (if you haven’t, you’re not playing the game right), whether or not you truly care about them, and as trouble increases and those characters are no more, you begin to honestly sit back and tell yourself that this is only game. You become so enthroned to what’s to come, praying for good but expecting the worst, that every corner has you on the edge of your seat. It may sound cliché but Long Road Ahead is a pivotal example of what games can do and be for people.
With that being said, there are some notable bugs in Long Road Ahead that may leave some bothersome through this emotional thrill ride. A few times we found ourselves glitching through the environment, through objects, and eventually having to restart from our last save because of these bugs. These issues don’t detract from the overall experience, but they’re still noticeable and can somewhat of a pause in your emotional state.
As our three hour experience came to its horrifying, yet oh so satisfying conclusion, we couldn’t help but sit and playback all that had just transpired. If you thought things couldn’t get worse in The Walking Dead, you’re horribly mistaken; and if you thought Telltale couldn’t top its previous two entries, you’re also mistaken. Long Road Ahead, plain and simple, is one of this year’s hottest titles, which is an accomplishment in and of itself being a 400 MSP arcade title. Zombies, emotional disaster, and death are back and for Walking Dead fans, that’s exactly what you want to hear.
[Reviewed on Xbox 360]