The fabled day has arrived, and the final episode of the Walking Dead Final Season is available now. Thanks should be given to Skybound Games for finishing Clementine’s story after the unfortunate closure of Telltale Games, as this episode honors the investment of longtime players.
Picking up right where Episode 3 left off, The Walking Dead Episode 4 players find themselves thrust into the action and dealing with the outcomes of their choices. Perhaps the most profound influence is how quickly those decisions are affecting AJ, with his commentary playing a major role in his development from beginning to end. The Walking Dead Final Season fans will likely appreciate how well this episode connects past seasons and past episodes while maintaining a real impact from the hard choices presented thus far.
That said, fans will also likely realize this episode lacks some polish – Episode 3 was nearly complete at the time of Telltale’s closure. The development of Episode 4 occurred afterward, for the most part, so it makes sense given all that has happened. And despite that, the Walking Dead Final Season episode 4 is something every fan of Clementine will want to jump into as soon as possible.
After some early action, Episode 4 quickly slows down as players escape from the horde and encounter the first set of collectibles. Completionists will want to be sure to gather them, as they are somewhat different this episode than others. This is because two of them are picked up in the first act, one is automatically picked up OR locked behind dialogue depending on previous choices, and the last is in Act Three, which can seem out of place. Unlike previous episodes that had 6 collectibles, this episode only has four.
It’s uncertain if this was intentional, as Act Two is completely devoid of these collectibles, though there are areas when collectibles would make sense. It could be a result of the development change, or it could be because of the fast pace of the second act. Throughout this episode, this pacing can seem out of place, as the action comes and goes in a sometimes forced manner. This is especially evident with the beginning of Act Three, wherein players finally get answers to a few questions developed throughout the season, but it seems awkwardly placed to stretch out the anticipated results of Act Two.
Pacing and structure aside, the story content of the final two acts plays on the expectations of the players, as it has been known for some time that this would be the end of Clementine’s story. True to Telltale-level storytelling, this expectation is lived up to and subverted at the same time, with players going through a true rollercoaster of emotion, as Clem and AJ’s relationship reaches new heights.
Not only do we see how the choices all season affect AJ, but we finally get to see how deeply this affects Clem. One choice forces players to consider how well they’ve taught AJ all season, with the entire weight of the season falling on Clem and the player’s shoulders in one key moment that sets the tone for the rest of the episode. The hard choices, the pulled heartstrings, and the wholesome approach to these two beloved characters make this episode stand out, even among other episodes of the Walking Dead Final Season.
But these moments are undermined with small issues, though none are entirely breaking. In trying to live up to the unique art style of previous episodes, a few scenes end up being so dark that they may as well be skipped over. One key moment makes it hard to determine not only what is happening but if there is something the character is meant to do as they advance down a bridge.
This lighting issue isn’t the only issue on the bridge, either, as the combat for this section also suffers from a few issues. It’s worth mentioning that this episode does not break any molds with the perception of the zombies, abandoning the unique perspective established in Episode 3: Broken Toys. So, as players try to kill these mindless creatures on the bridge, it’s clear the combat was not fully developed.
Nevertheless, those rare combat hiccups do not diminish a well-woven story that focuses on the growth of AJ and Clementine. The episode ends with a clear indication that Clementine’s story is over, and players can feel a sense of closure that would have been deprived if Skybound Games did not save the Walking Dead Final Season. It’s unclear if Skybound would ever (or could) continue with another game set in the franchise, but the ending leaves enough room to see that this is indeed possible.
Every episode this season has ended on a strong note. There is the absolute shock at the end of Episode One. There is the cliffhanger of Episode Two. There is the explosive ending of Episode Three. And Episode Four is no different. In ending Clementine’s story and the Walking Dead Final Season, players get a sense of fulfillment, as the ending only feels natural for everything that Clem and AJ have been through.
Episode 4: Take Us Back of The Walking Dead Final Season is out now for PC, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One. Game Rant was provided an Xbox One code for the purposes of this review.