Just when you think you’ve got this, that you’re used to what The Walking Dead has to offer, you can be sure that Telltale is going to switch things up on you. If you haven’t already picked up the previous chapters in the game, please, stop reading right now, and go download them. This game is a masterpiece well worth playing, and at $25 for all the episodes, it’s a steal.

The Walking Dead: Episode Four: Around Every Corner sees the ever-shrinking group of survivors arriving in Savannah, on their quest to find a boat. Of course, things quickly go downhill once they arrive, and you’re left with a lot of difficult decisions to make and walkers to kill. The people around you are starting to unravel, as death becomes more and more common and hope continues to fade.

The story, as it has been all along, is stellar. Several new characters are introduced into this chapter, and all have something to bring to the story. Voice acting, as always, is superb. There are many heart-wrenching moments throughout. Most importantly, this chapter managed to surprise me despite being a bit jaded to the zombie apocalypse. While avoiding spoilers, this episode lets you know that absolutely no one is safe. Some of my favorite characters so far in this story are introduced in this chapter.

 

As always, the choices you make continue to be the biggest focus of the game, and Telltale has worked hard to make them matter more than ever in this latest chapter. The consequences of your choices aren’t always immediately clear, but when the credits roll, you may find out just how big of an impact they’ve had; not just for this episode, but the upcoming fifth part, as well. It’s a tightrope walk that you will undoubtedly lose, as it’s impossible to keep everyone happy throughout the episode. At the end, you’ll get to see which members are still in your party going into the final chapter, letting you compare with other players to see how well you stack up. It’s an interesting perspective that lets you compare yourself to other players in a new way, and gauge your progress throughout the game.

In addition to the choices, there are quite a few action sequences throughout Episode Four to complement the puzzling we’ve become accustomed to. These sequences generally consist of popping off headshots into a crowd of walkers headed your way. It’s a mechanic that’s used quite a bit more than in previous episodes, and it works well with the mouse and keyboard. The game’s aim system is quite forgiving, making headshots pretty easy to achieve, but the game will ask you to multitask. It becomes a game of balancing your time, and if you look away from the walkers for too long, expect a gory death. The episode keeps you on your toes more than any other up to this point, and you never quite feel safe.

Going into Episode Four, I made the mistake of thinking that I was ready for whatever curveballs Telltale had to throw at me. They’ve shown me, without a doubt, that I was wrong. The ending is the best yet, and a fitting setup to the season finale.

 

Here’s the Rundown:

+Still manages to surprise players after 3 previous episodes
+Excellent story continues
+Top-notch voice acting, sound, and graphics
+More action is a welcome inclusion

10  represents a game that you would unequivocally recommend to all gamers. This score is reserved for games you consider to be not only the best of their genre, but to be one of the best games of the year.  A 10 does not have to be absolutely perfect — we do NOT hold games up to an impossible standard because that simply is not fair.  Ebert and Roeper did not give 1 and 9/10ths thumbs up.

The Walking Dead “Around Every Corner” was developed and published by Telltale Games. It was released on October 9, 2012 for $4.99 on Steam. A copy was provided to RipTen by the publisher for the purposes of review.