Season 3 of Telltale’s The Walking Dead had what to me felt like an incredibly strong reintroduction to the world after what felt like a somewhat lacklustre second season. By giving us new characters, including a new playable protagonist, Telltale breathed new life back into a series that I feared was beginning to get stale. Of course the series is still very much a continuation of what we have experienced in previous seasons, the creators made the right choice in showing us new characters and locations to discover. Episodes 1 and 2, both released together, set a good narrative standard for the series to follow, which for me personally was furthered with Episode 3: Above The Law.
I will try not to delve too deep into the revelations within the episodes, but I will say that Episode 3 definitely delivered on a narrative scale following Episode 2’s great, yet somewhat predictable cliffhanger. It further develops the story and takes it into interesting directions, that although may seem inevitable still keeps the player interested due to the unique form in which Telltale chose to tell their story. The use of non-linear storytelling keeps the game interesting by revealing the story to the player at a gradual pace, unearthing secrets present and past.
However, despite Episode 3 carrying on the interesting narrative, I felt that I was given a lot less in the way of actual gameplay. Telltale’s games are perhaps notorious for their focus on story, character and narrative and often abandonment of typical point and click game mechanics and puzzles. Typically this is not something I would be too upset by, as Telltale have carved a unique niche for themselves in the video game landscape and experiencing the stories they create is often refreshing. However, in this episode in particular I feel that they gave me far less to do besides choosing dialogue boxes and the odd quick-time event.
The continuing story of both Clem and Javier is interesting and beautifully structured, and this particular episode takes some exciting and dark turns both in the horror of the game and also the decisions that you are provided with, but I feel that more puzzle solving and gameplay elements that don’t consist of quickly tapping E or dodging left and right during Walker attacks would make for a more enjoyable playing experience. Despite this, I feel it is still worth persevering with, as the storytelling is definitely strong enough to keep players engaged.