After the troubling announcement last September that Telltale were closing their doors in the middle of The Walking Dead: The Final Season, the game has, at last, emerged from the grave to finish telling the final arc of Clementine’s tale.
This serves as a heavy sigh of relief (thanks Skybound) for those of us who have thoroughly enjoyed this latest (and possibly greatest) of The Walking Dead series, with not one but two absolutely stellar entries up to this point. So, with that in mind, how does Episode 3: “Broken Toys” stand in regard to its forebears?
Well, structurally, Broken Toys is a bit of an odd duck in terms of how it tells its story. For most of the episode, I assumed that this would be the build-up to the big battle, with the final episode going out on that massive note. Instead, the battle with Lily and her gang of raiders is the final set-piece of this episode, leaving the content of the finale as anyone’s guess really.
Still, this is not to suggest that the third entry of The Walking Dead: The Final Season disappoints in any way, shape or form. On the contrary, “Broken Toys” maintains the smart pacing, sharp writing, and solid characterization that has dignified Telltale’s swan song up until this point.
Part of this strength, again, comes from the pacing. Previous Walking Dead games often had long segments where you would walk around talking to people, or solving environmental puzzles. The Walking Dead: The Final Season continues to jettison these gameplay dragging designs in favor of keeping things moving toward their eventual destination.
In that regard “Broken Toys” only features about 5 or 6 main sequences, stitched together with the occasional cut scene, and like the previous episodes, it’s truly over before you know it. The collectibles and missable trophies make players feel less like they’re on autopilot, and again, the combat can be surprisingly challenging.
Still, as mentioned above, with the primary plot threads seemingly wrapped up by the end of “Broken Toys”, it leaves players wondering what exactly the 4th episode will comprise of. Certainly, the cliffhanger ending that the episode finishes on will leave some elements to be resolved but that can only carry the game so far.
Should fans be expecting a sort of epilogue style episode, or maybe something a little more out there in terms of presentation? Either way, if the final episode can maintain the trajectory that has been established thus far, the last story from Telltale’s The Walking Dead should be finishing off in fine style.