Played Tell Tales The Walking Dead episode 3 this weekend. There were some shocking things that happened in this episode. Yet I kind of feel that this episode was a down note and revealed the game behind the story.
This episode starts with Lee and Kenny walking through town searching for more supplies. Kenny climbs up a familiar ladder to get into the supply store, but when Lee tries to go up the ladder breaks. So you are left with a little puzzle to help Lee get up. When you finally figure that out there is a sequence with a girl stumbling out of a nearby building with walkers all over her. Lee lifts his rifle to help her. Then the situation gets more dire when you see that she is bitten. Kenny is asking, "what the heck you think you're doing?" Lee responds, "we should put her out of her misery." When Kenny replies, "no, that will attract the walkers." So you as the player are left with the choice to either shoot her or not.
I chose to not shoot her, because well... she's going to die anyways. And she is helping a lot of people out by distracting the zombies.
After you get the supplies and get passed the inevitable walkers that nearly kill you, you are back at the motel and into an argument between Lilly and Kenny (the dude that killed her father). They are arguing about whether the group should leave the Motel bunker that they seem to have been living at for a little while now. Kenny has the RV all suped up and ready to roll (I'm surprised they didn't put a Dale Earnhardt sticker on the side of that RV). So they start screaming and going on and you take sides with one or the other until it finally breaks away.
You walk out of Lilly's room and Carley (or Doug, if you went that route) says that she wants to talk to you. At this point your left with the freedom of your character to walk around and talk to all the different members of the group scattered around the area. You talk to Clementine and she is doing something with leaves and paper. You talk to Ben and he is being a pimple-faced teenager. Kenny and Katjaa are insistent on moving on and that Lilly is a nut job.
When you talk to Carley she gets all flirtatious and you say stupid things back to her. Then she gets serious and urges you to tell the others that you are a murderer. Of course you're all like... "chill woman, JESUS!" But you can decide whether or not you agree with her. This opens up the option to start conversations with other group members about the truth of your past. Here I decided to only tell Kenny since Lilly already knows and Kenny is really the only other leader of the group. There is more thought that went into that decision but it's tedious to type.
After the group pow-wow when you get back to the Motel you are also confronted by Lilly about a traitor in the midst of the group. Lilly is claiming that someone is stealing supplies... "the good stuff." Seeing as Lilly has become a crazy person, my first reaction was taking her less than serious. But she is insistent and this is a pretty common Walking Dead trope.
So I begin snooping around to find clues that will lead me to the traitor... this all leads me to find supplies stuffed in a bag, stuffed in an air-vent outside of our wall. After I take the supplies from the vent and report back to Lilly all hell breaks loose. The bandits have our group on the ground with guns at their heads. Lee tries to make a plan with Lilly and she goes off to the roof to snipe these a-holes. Lee (you) are then left to negotiate with these guys. So I try to calm the situation and within two conversation points Lilly has sniped the first dude. Then you are then left with saving everyone else with your marksman skills.
This is where it starts to unravel for me. Tell Tale puts in some good old jenky 3rd person cover shooting. I'm not coming to this game for this. I mean it was pretty easy (yet floaty) to aim, but there's no place for this in an adventure game. Well, there is no place for it if it is just slapped into the game without any real mechanic behind it. I got no good experience out of the shooting in the part of the game.
So you shoot through some bandits and zombies, then the gang hits the road. And Lilly is still heated about the stealing of "our" goods. Then Kenny (without his high-beams on) hits a walker and the RV is pulled to the side of the road. Kenny gets out of the car to scrape the walker from the bottom of the vehicle and Lee, Lilly, Carley, and Ben step out of the RV for a proper chat. Lilly is pointing fingers and intensely blaming Carley for being the traitor and sneaking meds to the bandits. Carley is more or less telling her to "Fuck off." Ben meanwhile is about to wet himself. And Lee (you) are trying to get a handle on the situation. Then when you think you have a wrap on things and you are about to get back into the mobile home, Lilly up and shoots Carley square in the face.
It's a shock. Obviously Lilly had some deep seeding issues with Carley. I don't really understand why it happens because there is no real evidence pointed towards either perpetrator. I guess Lilly was just really threatened by Carley. But at this point I feel more it was because Carley/Doug would be too hard to branch out past this episode. Yep, that's it.
You (Lee) as a sane person leave the face-shooter behind.
...On the road again. Katjaa and Kenny urge you to come to the front of the RV. Here they reveal to you that Duck has been bit. At this point, I already know how this is going to play out. But we trudge on and straight into a train blocking the road.
The group stops here to get the train moving. Lee (you) investigate the area and create conversations with others until you can get out of this area. While going around the area you meet a new character, Chuck. He's a booze-loving hobo keeping his home on this train.
You eventually solve the small puzzles and get the locomotive in motion. Now you are again confronted with the Duck situation. You confront Kenny and try to talk some sense into him. I ended up fighting him, well I let him beat me up. Then eventually he came to the realization that there is no hope for his son. Kenny then stops the train and you can offer to shoot his son. I did offer and let the family go off and say goodbye to Duck. Then, of course, you hear a commotion and run to the scene. You tread upon the scene of Katjaa offing herself, Duck still alive, and Kenny in total dismay. And I go ahead and shoot Duck in the head and bring Kenny back to the train.
Now back on the train you are again in one of the those moments where you have to talk to everyone to move the story along. Chuck (the newly added hobo... HOBO UNLOCKED) has no qualms in telling you how to handle Clementine. Again, this just feels like a thrown together way of your character to finally face the fact of teaching Clem how to survive/shoot and get her hair cut.
Then to change things up... you run into a roadblock. There is a tanker hanging in the way of the train tracks. And since you've lost so many people due to death in this game... we have some more new characters.
At this point of the episode I can really just see the gameyness of The Walking Dead that I have not felt in previous episodes. I feel as if they keep going to the same bag of tricks. They are going to shock you with someone dying then after that they need to add more characters so you have plenty of people to talk to. I wish at the third episode you could start to get in deeper with characters. The only character that you have any sense of connection with at this point is your 9-year old companion. I really enjoy the relationship with Clem, but I feel that lacking from all the other characters. Kenny has been around the longest. In previous episodes the center of his character was protecting his family. Now with his family gone he is glum (understandably), but I would hope to see a more dramatic reaction to the loss of his core. Maybe they will advance that character. I don't know. I kind of fully expect for him to be killed in the next episode so that they don't have to develop him any further.
I love these games. This episode just seemed like a down note. I hope to be pleasantly surprised by the next episode, but to me it seems that the deadlines for these games are killing the fleshing out of characters and stories at this point. Sometimes the easiest thing to do would be to kill off characters so that past choices do not affect the future games any more. It's seems that bringing in new characters keep the overall group at a shallow depth.
This episode just fell flat for me. I hope that the Tell Tale guys bring it with the next two episodes.