It’s been a long time coming, but we finally have another entry in Telltale’s famous ‘The Walking Dead’ series. Episode 3 ‘Above The Law’ continues where the two-episode opening package left our new player character, Javier.
After an explosive onslaught of new characters and world development in the first two episodes, I went into Above The Law hoping it would continue the fine form.
The episode starts by slowing the pace down with a flashback. Whilst taking a lot of weight out of the cliffhanger this provides us with some more detail about Javier and David’s relationship pre-apocalypse.
When we return to the present the revelation is still thick in the air. Javier’s reunion with his assumed dead brother is powerful, especially considering how he’s been harbouring his wife and children in his absence.
The emotional connections already made in the time leading up to this point are testament to the development of the story, and it consequently makes each choice tough now that David is back in the picture. It’s a heavily complicated scenario and one that Telltale have yet to pose us with, keeping the story fresh and interesting.
Javier’s reunion with his assumed dead brother is powerful, especially considering how he’s been harbouring his wife and children in his absence.
I enjoyed how the episode was mostly absent of Clementine for the first half, despite how crucial she is to the entire series. This was a bold step in the right direction in regards to developing the exterior characters, and it didn’t feel soulless without her.
Regardless of the script which has been excellent so far, the voice acting is starting to feel very natural as the actors slip into their roles. Kate is emotionally distraught in a genuine way.
Clementine eventually returns and steals a powerful scene involving AJ. There are a number of harrowing moments decidedly adjacent from some of the more jovial scenes in the previous two episodes as we delve deeper into the gritty underworld that controls post-apocalypse America.
Regardless of the script which has been excellent so far, the voice acting is starting to feel very natural as the actors slip into their roles
The problem with what I’m describing so far is that it basically could be an episode of the TV show. When judging this episode as a game, there is precious little to do. To my knowledge, there was one scene where I was free to walk around an environment and inspect things. Funnily enough, this scene was timed and during a moment of crisis.
The rest of this episode is cutscene after cutscene until a short but memorable action sequence. Whilst I enjoyed the ability to control how far I went off the deep end, the moment in question will make fans of the TV show groan at its obvious parallels.
Gladly, up to this point, there wasn’t a cop-out scene where regardless of the choice you make, the same result happens. This is something that this season has been quite good at. But that doesn’t excuse the fact that this episode feels very much like a short interactive movie with a few inputs strung here and there.
There are a number of harrowing moments decidedly adjacent from some of the more jovial scenes in the previous episodes, as we delve deeper into the gritty underworld that controls post-apocalypse America.
However, the ending of this episode really drops the ball. You are made to choose between David and Kate on your escape plan, and despite the fact I picked the latter, I still ended up in the predicament with David when a Deus Ex Machina interrupted our plans. It’s not too much to ask at the end of an episode for a meaningful junction which is resolved in the next, right?
I can understand the set-up, but it quickly reminded me of why I stopped watching the TV show after too much of the same experience, being knocked back by my own already low expectations. This is the game faltering, but due to the fact that this is the ‘middle’ episode, I can only hope this means that 4 really steps it up.
Despite my gripes with the lacklustre agency of Above The Law, it was still, much like its predecessors a marvel to look at. Scenes where the light shone through the windows of a hospital to illuminate the cel-shaded scars on a character’s face stand out to me, and I found myself almost obliged to screenshot some of its visual glory.
Overall, this episode was extremely passable. Much like a filler episode of the popular TV show, Above The Law is a means to a grisly end, one that I hope will be sorely worth the wait. Telltale have stuck their character claws into me and I’m invested in the life of Javier and Clementine, and despite a few grievances, I’m not ready to give up on this series just yet.
This copy of The Walking Dead Season 3 was purchased digitally on Steam by our Editor In Chief Jordan Oloman. He spent 2 hours doing family therapy in the post-apocalypse