As usual, The Walking Dead is an emotional experience. One in which, despite only using a joystick and a handful of buttons, reminds you why video games are an art form. Something which takes you beyond passively watching like a voyeur but making you a participant. Making you wholly responsible for the life, death, happiness, or misery of people. Something you are constantly forced to not take lightly. For, whenever you do, even with a small delta of outcomes, you can only look towards yourself.
For more on The Walking Dead: Season 3 (A New Frontier)/ Episode 5 “From The Gallows” – Look below.
Play Through Time
1 Hour – 20 Minutes
If there is one thing you learn about the TellTale Games’ products, it is that promises are always what matter most. You can do a lot of terrible things to people. You can deny them a moment of happiness, even be selfish at times, but breaking promises is unforgivable. For the other two things? Well, often if they were in your shoes they’d do the same thing. However, promises are what form communities. Promises are what make it seem, when it truly matters, you won’t just think of yourself.
Hence why the first one of the episode deals with Javier’s father. As long established, Javier and David don’t get along. There are attempts from both sides, but it usually falls apart. However, after a cancer reveal, one of the last things your father asks of you is to love your brother. Something which will become increasingly hard as his survival instincts trump his humanity.
Yet, you can try to change that. You can push Gabe to be kinder to his father. Heck, you can even show him that, despite it all, there can be hope. That maybe, despite all the nonsense, you do stand by your brother’s side. However, alongside promises, one thing consistent with TellTale Games is having to choose between two people or two groups. One of which usually suffers, whether you are around or not.
For my gameplay, I always preserved my relationship with Kate and Clem. When Kate needed me, I was there, and while I didn’t always give Clementine what she wanted, I was there when it mattered. Take for instance giving Dr. Langard a lethal injection of drugs. I didn’t allow that. However, when it came to her having her first period [note]Which isn’t talked about what so ever.[/note] I did the best I could.
As for the rest? My loyalty wavered based on their actions. I tried to be loyal to David, but he is like a used douche. Tripp and Eleanor I tried to be loyal to, but they often made that easier said than done. Yet, even in your betrayals, you can at least do no harm. Hence why Eleanor remains alive. Unforgiven for her part in Richmond’s almost downfall, but alive.
But perhaps what matters most is that, with sparing Dr. Langard’s life, so comes the answer Clementine wanted. She finally learns where AJ. However, unfortunately for us, that seemingly will be a journey for another season. Something, I feel could very well turn into the final one.
It Gets You Emotional
Being that the characters I have been trying to keep alive, since the beginning, I didn’t have to choose between, this episode was a breeze. For with Clementine and Kate on the same side, it became solely a matter of keeping them alive. Especially because I was able to get the whole group to help save Clem in season 1. Then, in season 2, I nearly kept everyone I liked in season 2 alive. So, naturally, I didn’t want to end my good luck here.
Thus making every decision nerve racking, especially with the way the soundtrack kept playing that cue. I can’t explain the sound offhand, but it is the one which often seems like it comes before a quick time event. Now, granted, usually, the only thing that gets people permanently killed is when you hit one of the colored buttons, but you never know? For example, they changed the quick time events to now require you to hit the same button in a new way. How could I have known they didn’t make it so people could permanently die due to quick time events now too?
Yet, perhaps what makes this episode emotional is because it makes you want to save those you may not give a damn about. Like, for me, that was Gabe and David. I didn’t like Gabe because, like most young men in this franchise, he was annoying as hell. On top of that, he was whiny just like Ben from season 1. However, there was something about his relationship to Clementine which made me want him to survive. After all, he was someone to provide her normalcy. A guy to have a crush on, fall in love with, get to be a teenaged girl around. That is, versus the bad ass I raised her to be.
Then with David, while he was a used douche, he was my used douche. Okay, a better way to put it, the writing does help you get into their complicated relationship. I have gone back and forth between trying to keep David happy and not making Javier seem like a pushover. Yet, I tried to never cross the line. However, looming over us was the issue of me and Kate being a thing. Something which, as you spend more and more time around David, and see him unravel, you almost want to sacrifice. Not because you don’t love Kate but more so because your brother is hurting.
I mean, he lost his daughter, his parents, and now has just his brother, son, and wife. That is what could keep him sane. It could be what pushes him to change. However, as noted, when it comes to Kate and Clem, I would screw anyone over. So, naturally, as bad as I felt for him, I was not going to put his feelings before Kate’s. Sorry.
Same Old, Same Old
I have said this in probably every episode since Season 1: Things are just too linear. You can’t pick up important stuff that is optional or nothing like that. Your journey is a pretty narrow path which eventually comes to a fork in the road. One which, you make a decision and keep going to the roads converge.
On The Fence
Your Decisions Matter
This may sound like something which should be praised, but the problem here is the payoff. Now, while it was nice to see Jesus come in and rescue me, alongside the end game results, I never felt like wiping my brow. You know, thanking whatever made me think “Don’t kill him,” “Don’t piss that person off,” or “Be nice to that person.” Now, it could be because I got the result I wanted. However, I do feel that maybe there wasn’t enough major outcomes to make you think the majority of your decisions mattered. Of course, some key, when you only get two options, choices did. But in general conversation, it is hard to say if those cross over and affect your ending.
Overall: Positive (Buy) – Recommended
For people like me who love video games, but suck at shooters, don’t have time for most action/adventures, and find racing games repetitive, this is for us. As noted sometime during season 2, The Walking Dead, if not TellTale Games’ offerings, are made for those who don’t have massive amounts of time. An example, I’m playing Mass Effect: Andromeda and have barely scratched the surface. That is after 14+ hours of gameplay. Of which, I’m at the point of repeating the same tasks on a different planet.
That is, versus games like this where, yeah, I may only get, at most, an hour and a half of gameplay, but it is fairly to the point. On top of that, because it is so lean, there aren’t as many distractions from the story. Making it so, the only true breaks are when I’m forced to walk a few feet, click a button to grab something, but otherwise am fully engaged. After all, cut scenes allow me to participate, quick time events keep me from complacency, and I am forced to care. I am forced to truly be emotionally invested for I have been with one character for years. Since she was an animated child, and ever since then, each group she has found I have become attached to.
Hence the Positive label and the recommended one. For The Walking Dead will help keep your gamer spirit alive even after the price of consoles push you off to PC. And also, with it being half the price, or less, of the average game, you not only get more bang for your buck but more enjoyment out of the little bit of spare time you have.