The Walking Dead: Season 4/ Episode 1 “Done Running” [Season Premiere] – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

Title card for the final season of TellTale's The Walking Dead.
0.00% (0)

While the final season doesn’t feel like the beginning of the end, you will get this full circle feeling as you do for AJ what you once did for Clementine.


Developer Telltale Games
Publisher Telltale Games
Director(s) Chris Rebbert, Vahram Atnonian
Writer(s) Jessica Krause, Adam Esquenazi Douglas, Jean Francois Guastala
Date Released 8/14/2018
Genre Drama, Horror
Good If You Like Point and Click Games

The Walking Dead

Games Which Feel Like a YA Novel Without Being Cheesy

Zombies

Noted Voice Actors
Clementine Melissa Hutchison
AJ Taylor Parks
Marlon Ray Chase
Brody Hedy Burress
Louis Sterling Sulieman
Violet Gideon Adlon
Aasim Ritesh Rajan
Omar Keith Silverstein
Tennessee Zaire Hampton
Willy Justin Cowden

Play Through Time

2 Hours and 24 Minutes

Summary

On Our Own

Somehow, Clementine has a car and with AJ, they are driving the open road. That is, until your usual obstacle, in this case, a train derailment, stops them. Leading to, naturally, a search for supplies. Which begins the process of you molding AJ just like Lee molded Clementine. The difference being AJ is younger, was primarily raised by you, and is growing up in the time of walkers. So, his moral compass is very unlike Clementine in season 1.

Case in point, he seems perfectly fine with killing two walkers who are tied up because they were a couple who committed suicide. And let it be noted, the game tells you the boy is like a sponge so showing strength, weakness, mercy, etc, all shifts AJ’s handling of the world. For me, that’s my baby but at the same time, I wasn’t going to kill walkers who weren’t bothering anyone so I sent his behind in that hole to open the door.

Was it dumb? Probably. But, the boy has a gun, knows to always look for exits, and he is getting to that age where I got to trust him. And When I say I, it’s is sort of a royal “we” since I mean myself and Clementine.

Point is, while AJ is a kid, he is a kid being held to post-walker apocalypse standards. Yet, there are still mistakes. Take not knowing the trap door with food in it was booby trapped. Also, not having my knife on me at all times and using the car keys to kill a walker. Which, once the car got started, and we were surrounded, led to us getting into an accident.

Commentary

AJ with the last bit of food him and Clementine have.

Just to double check, A New Frontier did not end with Clementine walking about with AJ right? I feel like we did a major time jump. But, I will say, with that time jump, it also feels like TellTale stepped things up – slightly. While I got caught in a glitch, when I finally got control of the character, I didn’t have to restart the whole game to fix it. So, it was just something minor.

But, let me say, the controls and combat are definitely different, in a good way. They still have some kinks to be worked out, like the ease to kill a walker could use some fine-tuning. Also, it would be cool if there were more jump scares. As for the aforementioned minor issues?  Sometimes prompts don’t pop up and that leads you to get killed in a frustrating manner. Like when you are leaving the train station and you think you can walk around the walker that AJ has pinned, or kill it, but the prompt doesn’t show.

The Campus of Misfit Kids

We find ourselves in a home for troubled youth that is solely run by said troubled youth. Why? Well, when the apocalypse hit the adults left. Thus making Marlon, who may or may not be the oldest, the one in charge. Something which most don’t complain about, outside of Brody. As for you? Well, after the initial worry of where is AJ, you find out he is biting and not necessarily making a whole lot of friends. Well, outside of Louis, a guy who clearly has a crush on you.

But, guess what?! You may have options! For alongside Louis is this girl named Violet who, a little more than a year ago, lost her girlfriend. There are others who fill the camp like the cook Omar, a kid around AJ’s age named Tennessee, who was the brother to Violet’s ex, Willy who also looks around AJ’s age, and a few others.

For the most part, the main ones you get to know are Marlon, Brody, Violet, Louis, and you have the option to get to know one more person, I wanna say Aasim, but it depends. In order to show you and AJ can help with the day to day, you are tasked with helping Violet’s group with spearfishing or Louis’ with checking traps. Pushing you closer, assumingly, to either one for a relationship.

Being that I fancy Clem to maybe be queer, or bi, I sent her with Violet and Brody. This leads to learning how things used to be when the twins were alive, from Brody, and learning she was with them when they were reportedly killed. Leading to her and Violet kind of having some beef. After all, they are, alongside Rosy, the only girls there and Violet isn’t exactly cuddly and warm. She is the type you can imagine on the wall, one foot against it, monitoring all movements in the room. Yet, she can be sweet if you try.

Speaking of trying, part of your tasks, and the game does straight up give you tasks, with a nice banner, is not only getting everyone to become comfortable with you but also AJ. Someone who, as noted, wasn’t making the best impression while you were knocked out and recovering. Thus leading to you, once again, taking on that mom role and deciding how AJ is going to turn out. Will you force him to apologize, note his manners, share, and things like that? It’s for you to decide.

Commentary

You being tasked with helping AJ to make friends.

I don’t have a kid, but damn if it wasn’t scary really having to take into account every decision I made around or with AJ being scary as hell. Because, with this being Clementine’s last season, you can’t really know if they may kill her off or not. So I want this little dude to be ready to survive on his own but also capable of being part of a group. Yet, there is also the factor of not wanting him so trusting he gets taken advantage of. It’s a very weird balance that I can barely imagine dealing with, in terms of having my own child.

With that said, yay for sexuality choice! This is assuming Violet is even a possible love interest. For while I was very pro-Louis at first, because he is Black, and I want Clem to have a normal relationship, he was trying too hard. Also, he was friendly. The nice and friendly ones always die first and I’m not trying to add to this child’s trauma. Better off with the lesbian girl who may be a bit rough, but with a heart of gold, than the extrovert who is likely to get himself killed.

Heck, just to introduce AJ to the idea, I pointed out Violet and her exes’ heart thing inside the hut where they kept the fishing supplies. Just so he doesn’t think it is icky or weird. Really showing you how much I’m trying to make this boy adaptable. For who knows, he might be gay? He is a bit too young to know for sure but, he’ll be coming up on that age when he gets butterflies soon. Might be for Tennessee since he is one of the few, if not first, around his age he has met

Nothing Is Forever

We’ve been on this journey with Clem a while and we know groups always have issues. Whether they are biological family or formed a community, the things they do to survive will eventually cause issues. In the case of the troubled youth home, it is that Marlon might have sold the twins to raiders. Now, in terms of sold to do what? Not talked about. All we get to know is that Marlon had made some kind of deal, and Brody seemingly was aware of it.

Also, we learn the same deal is put into place for Clementine and AJ. Those two get given up and the kids continue to have autonomy. Something Clementine learns with you sneaking about and listening in. Leading to Brody being killed for saying too much alongside you learning you were supposed to be the next sacrifice. Which coerces Marlon to just screw giving you up and locking you with Brody so hopefully you get killed.

However, you’re Clementine so you kill Brody and get out of the basement, where the conversation was, and see your dear AJ with his gun pointed at Marlon. In that moment, it is time to see if all your schmoozing paid off. This includes picking between Violet or Louis to be your champion and I foolishly picked Violet and damn if she wasn’t like “I don’t know you.” Luckily, Marlon isn’t that good of a liar so he breaks and then you get to decide to damn him or try to be understanding. Not that it really matters for AJ shoots Marlon.

Commentary

With Violet pulling a Mariah Carey:

I was really left questioning if all my schmoozing, getting AJ acquainted with everyone, and all that, mattered. Especially since, at the end of the game, we may have gotten a rundown of how everyone felt about us, but I don’t know if that affected the ending or not? Much less, as usual with these games, you can never be sure which decisions really matter. Not everything is given a notification and, without a rewind feature, you are constantly left wondering is it worth jumping back all the way to the last save point?

But, I must admit I wasn’t necessarily over the moon. I love the updates that were done, but nothing feels very much like we’re wrapping things up. It’s almost routine now. New group, food shortages, backstabbings, and etc. The only thing pushing this is Clem’s final season is the full circle moment of Clem stepping into Lee’s shoes and having to mold and take care of this kid. One who, honestly, with him killing Marlon, which seemingly happens no matter what, makes me wonder if, no matter what I do, will he become a psycho or monster?

Other Noteworthy Facts & Moments

  • Release schedule for rest of the season
Episode 1: 8/14 Episode 2: 9/25 Episode 3: 11/06 Episode 4: 12/18

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. How Tennessee’s face get burnt?
  2. When did Clem get AJ, and where did they find that car?
  3. How long have the raiders had this deal with Marlon and did anyone, besides Brody, so it seems, know about it?
  4. At this point, did they ever mention why the apocalypse started or if anyone is trying to cure the living so they don’t become the Walking Dead (I don’t watch the series or read the comics so I don’t know)?

Highlights

The Batman: The TellTale Series Endgame Recap

While TellTale has always had that percentage system of how many people agreed with you, you becoming aware of how in tune a character is with you is fairly new. Something which you have to wish was provided before the end, so you could maybe redirect how someone feels about you, but baby steps, right? It just means, in the next episode, you know who you may need to give time and attention to, if you want to win over everybody.

You Feel More Involved In The Action

While there was only one real situation when killing walkers were optional, the action not solely being quick action cut scenes gave a bit of diversity to the action. For even if it still is limited to either killing them quickly or taking their knee out then killing them, it gives you a small option into mixing things up. It could still be better, like maybe you getting options to what weapons you use, and stuff like that, but maybe with whoever takes over the series, they can present that. If not in future licensed properties.

It’s A Full Circle Experience

AJ looking at you in a analyzing kind of way.

As gamers, we have been raising Clementine for over 6 years, at this point. We met her as a child, saw her progress into a teenager, and now she has to be somewhere in her late teens or early 20s. Our little Clem is a woman now and she is taking care of a kid. One who is probably school age and is being taught all she did.

Thus bringing a full circle moment for it is like you are raising two children in a way. Clem is your first born and AJ your second, and you getting a second chance, knowing how Clem turned out, makes you question your original decisions. Should you make AJ tougher, more soft and social, should you allow him some sense of fantasy or keep it real even if it hurts his feelings? It’s a delicate balancing act you don’t really get with a lot of games. Add in you are responsible for how others perceive him too? It makes The Walking Dead seem like a post-apocalyptic parenting simulator. Which is just fine with me.

Criticism

The Glitches

Were there many? No. However, it is difficult to excuse any glitches whether it is a $100+ million game or something smaller, less tech advanced, as this one. Especially glitches that stop you from progressing forward. A face looking funny or something like that, it’s weird but forgivable, but having to exit out and go back in, not so much.

On The Fence

The Inventory System

You being let know that the game has collectibles.

While The Walking Dead still doesn’t present the idea that having this item or that one will make your task easier or harder, for the most part, with there being some hint of an inventory system, that could change. Maybe not this season, since the only example of optional inventory was taking keys off a walker. However, maybe in the future you’ll have to decide between carrying this or that rather than being able to stuff everything, maybe even AJ one day, into your backpack.

While We Get A Full Circle Moment, This Doesn’t Feel Like Clem’s Final Season Yet

I was never the type who learned to appreciate introductions are but the beginning. I’m the type who likes to be sold from the start and feel that wave consistently until the end. Something which is very unrealistic, I know, but when you pay money and commit hours of your life to something, you don’t want to question later on, “Should I have spent that money elsewhere?”

Which isn’t the case for this episode but, at the same time, it has been 6 years and this is the end. At this point, I’m in it till the wheels fall off. However, if someone were to just jump into the TellTale style for the first time, they might think this is some BS.

Overall: Positive (Must Play)

If you’ve been playing this since the beginning or middle, it is time to ride it out till the end. As for newcomers? While TellTale still presents some of the most engaging stories you may find, you may feel it doesn’t provide much for you to do when all you have to do is select a response to someone.

Yet, this is still being labeled Positive. For, in terms of entertainment, there are very few productions out there which are two hours that are worth your time. Especially ones which are dramas. And while there are still so many things TellTale Games can improve on, it still makes you wonder what it would be like if Netflix, or other streaming platforms, presented the same choose your own adventure style. For while the genre isn’t new, TellTale is arguably the one doing it best right now.

Follow Wherever I Look on Twitter, Like us on Facebook and Subscribe to the YouTube Channel.


Check Out Other Video Game Reviews








How Would You Rate This?

Negative Mixed Positive

About Amari Sali 3103 Articles
New Jersey native Amari Sali takes the approach of more so being a media advisor than a critic to sort of fill in the gap left between casual fans of media and those who review productions for a living. Thus being open about bias while still giving enough insight, often with spoilers, to present whether something is worth seeing, buying, renting, streaming, or checking out at all.

2 Comments

  1. I still haven’t tried these games though they do sound really interesting. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it and reminding me I really should check these out at some point.

Questions, Comments, or Opposing Opinion?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.