‘The Walking Dead Episode 5: No Time Left’ is Very Creepy
By: Jeb Haught
DEVELOPER: Telltale Games
PUBLISHER: Telltale Games
SYSTEM: Windows 8/7/Vista/XP (Xbox 360, PS3)
PRICE: $10 Download
ESRB RATING: Mature
REVIEW RATING: 4.0 stars (out of 5)
Just when I thought the zombie fad may be … err … dying off, the popularity of the undead is resurrected by “The Walking Dead” TV and video game series. This year, fans of the TV show have been satiating their macabre desires in between seasons by playing installments of the video game, and the latest episode is filled with twists and turns as well as plenty of bloodletting!
While both series follow different characters in the same setting, “The Walking Dead Episode 5: No Time Left” centers on a man named Lee. “Episode 5” sees Lee searching for the abducted child, Clementine, which concludes in a silly chase that seems removed from the zombie-infested world. Like past episodes, key characters will die, and this time Lee must make a difficult decision that will determine how … umm … handy he is in the future.
At first glance, this video game series doesn’t look special. In fact, some people would consider the cartoon-like visuals to be mediocre. There’s no sprawling vistas or heavy attention to detail. Even the point-and-click game play is unremarkable. What sets this game apart is the excellent storytelling coupled with the cause-and-effect choices forced upon players.
Ever since Episode 1, players have had to make extremely difficult decisions on the fly for their character such as: “Do I help this person while putting Lee in danger?” Other decisions involve forging alliances, which usually turns other people against Lee. Most of these decisions have immediate results, while others affect how Lee is treated later in the game.
Episode 5 focuses more on storytelling and less on difficult choices as it becomes obvious that some characters were never meant to survive. However, the excellent ending for “The Walking Dead Episode 5: No Time Left” (which also ends the first season of the video game series) makes up for this and sets up Lee and Clementine as the dynamic duo to follow in 2013!
“Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2”
SYSTEM: Microsoft Xbox 360 (PS3)
ESRB RATING: Mature
REVIEW RATING: 1.5 stars (out of 5)
“Hakuto No Ken,” better known as “Fist of the North Star,” is the ultimate Japanese anime. It features over-the-top, uber-brawny pugilists with surrealistic powers fighting for control of a post-apocalyptic wasteland! With such cool source material, what could go wrong by turning it into a video game? Who knew the answer was “everything”?
Instead of confusing players with a new storyline, the developers have decided to retell the exact same tale from the first game. Sadly, the story is conveyed mostly through still images of characters with no actual animation, and there’s no English voice-over this time around. That’s not just a slap across the face to players of this full-priced game; it’s more like a punch to the gut!
Just like the original title, this sequel features game play similar to that of “Dynasty Warriors.” Players first choose a character, and then they venture out onto bland battlefields and slay thousands of boring enemies that all look and fight the same. Yawn! While the environments were mildly interesting in the first game, they’ve been dumbed-down for the sequel. Even more insulting is the fact that it seems like the developers literally copied visuals and fighting moves from the first game into the sequel.
Occasional battles against leaders provide more of a challenge than fighting the masses, and players can toss out a powerful signature move whenever their power meter is filled. Unfortunately, every character’s combat abilities from the first game have been copied to the sequel with hardly any noticeable additions. The only difference I find is that boss fights require more dodging and frequent use of signature moves to defeat, which doesn’t seem like an upgrade to me. At least there are a few new characters to play with.
Still, “Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2” is so bad on every level that I wouldn’t even recommend it at half the price!
REVIEW SCORING SYSTEM
5 stars = Must Have
4 stars = Very Good
3 stars = Above Average
2 stars = Bargain Bin
1 star = Don’t Bother
Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB)
E10-plus: (Everyone 10 and older)
T: Teen (13 and older)
M: Mature (17 and older)
To find out more about Jeb Haught and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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