I don't really know what I was expecting, to be honest. There's a moment late on in The Walking Dead Episode 3 where the game tells me I may not like what I'm about to see, that I may want to reconsider and walk away.
Stubbornly, I pushed ahead anyway, felt it was important for Clem to witness and to learn, and within a few short seconds - the time it takes to raise a weapon and bring it crashing down on a soft human skull - I regretted it. I squirmed in my seat, I covered my eyes, I tried to look away. But Clem didn't. She looked on, eyes cool and jaw set, and in that moment I wondered, panicked and guilty, whether I'd done her some irrevocable damage. Or had I taught her a valuable lesson?
Your past actions matter to some degree in this episode - characters from the standalone expansion 400 Days may or may not make an appearance, and depending on the outcome of your Episode Two save there are two characters who may not have made it this far in your game. It's the first time this entire season that I felt the game was really reacting to my choices (even if it was just the illusion of choice), that it was really pushing me to see how far I was willing to go and how viciously I was willing to fight back in the face of pure savagery.
And I'll be honest, I surprised myself with my own brutality. In the end, my Clem was willing to do things my Lee never was. And in a way, it was sad to see that loss of innocence, but when encouraged to compare her to the similarly-aged sheltered and sedate Sarah, I reasoned that at least Clem was capable. At least she'll be safe. It becomes almost a mantra, something you repeat to yourself whilst pushing her to make more dangerous choices that'd make a lesser human wince. At least she's capable. At least she'll be safe.
This episode also addresses, though never answers, why the rest of the group are so willing to put Clem in danger instead of themselves. It doesn't exactly resolve the issue, but at least Telltale is aware of the dissonance. That said, my Clem is growing up by the second, and for better or worse there's not much left that I don't think she'd be able to handle. The next chapter can't come quickly enough.
After a fairly subdued second episode, In Harm's Way cranks things up a notch and then some. This is tense, unforgiving and utterly brutal stuff - Telltale at its finest and a breathless reminder of what makes this series so brilliant and unique.
- Brilliantly paced
- Comic fans, look out for the Image references
- Jane is an interesting new character, can we keep her?
- Clem's not our little baby any more
- Carver can sometimes be a little too similar to the Governor