Much like Rosie, I am also worried about everyone.

Title: The Walking Dead: The Final Season – Episode Three – “Broken Toys.”
Platform:  PlayStation 4 (reviewed), Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Windows PC (Epic Games Store).
Developer: Telltale Games
Publishers: Skybound Games
Release Date: Out now
Price: Please note these are digital season pass prices:
PS4: Â£19/$20
PC: Can now only be purchased through the Epic Games Store, unless you already bought it on Steam or GOG, and then the last two episodes will download for you though that. Anyway, it’s £19/TBC.
Nintendo Switch: Â£19/$20
Xbox One: 
TL;DR: They’re still not bitten, and it’s glorious.
Family Focus:Click here for more information

The Walking Dead has had a tough few months. To put it mildly. With the shock of Telltale’s sudden closure and the loss of jobs for the bulk of their employees, fans were left just as bewildered as what was to ultimately be Clementine’s fate. Thankfully, Skybound came through and picked up the series, and after a lengthy wait, we’re back with Episode Three – Broken Toys, and in true form, the developers and writers have knocked it out of the park.

To recap, shit went down at the end of Episode Two, with half the group winding up captured, with Louis or Violet being dragged off, depending on who you choose to save, and a surprise cameo from Season One – Lilly. No, we didn’t miss you. Needless to say, the stakes are high, and the plot of this episode primarily revolves around working on a plan to get their people back. Rather than just being all about weapons and strategy, it’s nicely balanced out with some lighter moments that flesh out the characters, and the narrative is only stronger for it.

First and foremost – god bless the writers for that joke, because I have genuinely not laughed this hard in a while.

The only slight issue I have with this episode (apart from a couple of narrative aspects, which I’ll get to later) is that the animation seems a little off. There’s a lot of beautifully cinematic scenes, but some of the animations almost seem like they snap to the next pose suddenly, and movements seem jerky. That being said, even with all the issues that plagued this episode’s development, some of the more stylistic scenes are absolutely stunning, especially when coupled with the music score. It really brought the world to life, to make it feel like these characters are living, breathing people in a not so living, not so breathing world – it feels real. And since I compared A New Frontier to “an episode of Eastenders,” I don’t think I can give higher praise than that.

Though the explorable hubs and the dialogue choices have all been consistently great this season, there is one slight nitpick with the gameplay. It feels way too easy for walkers to grab you, especially if they’re sneaking up on you from behind, and the second you are grabbed, you’re only left with the lethal option. This became a particular problem during the mission at James’ camp – he wants you to not kill any of the walkers. Okay, great, I’ll try and honour your request. Until it was the sixth time I’d been killed by the damn things, because stunning them only keeps them down for so long, and they quickly get back up. If they get close enough to grab you, you have no choice but to stab them, which automatically means your relationship with James sours a bit. Coupled with the nasty habit the walkers have of sneaking up behind you, this could use rebalancing a bit.

Unlike a lot of zombie fiction, I always feel that the reason I’m so invested in Clementine’s adventure through this hellscape is because of the characters we encounter along the way. It’s not all about blood and gore and who can generate the most badass zombie kills, because that schtick only works for so long. Seen one zombie disemboweled, seen ’em all. It’s the quiet moments that draw out the true tragedy, and the hope spots, of the Walking Dead, and Episode Three does both, really, really well. The party in the middle of the episode did exactly what it intended to do – make us actually believe we could get our people back, and care about those we were sending off to battle. We’re not subjected to endless, awkward info dumps of backstory – it’s cleverly woven into the context of the episode until it feels like a natural conversation.

On top of this, the romance feels so much more fluid and tangible this episode. I picked Violet’s route, and it’s truly charming to see the soft, sweet moments that Clementine truly deserves, coupled with a heftily hilarious dose of teenage awkwardness. Compared to last season’s dreadfully forced romance with Gabe, this is nothing but an improvement, and I’m going to be very upset if something dreadful happens.

Which it very well might because the horror is back, in a big way. Without going into spoiler territory, much like Episode One, this episode doesn’t pull its punches and has some beautifully shocking right-hooks in there. Bravo, writers (and if you’ve played the game and chose Violet to save, you know exactly what I’m talking about), you made me feel like I got punched in the chest upon that particular reveal. I love it.

Just a warning – the next section discusses major story choices and spoilers

I mean it. Look at the cute picture. There be spoilers below.

I absolutely love the writing this season. I really do. But the stuff with James this episode, really didn’t make sense. Firstly with the mission I was complaining about, to spare the walkers, go into the shed with the windchime, and see if you think they’re still monsters. I’m sorry, James, but I absolutely do. We know they’re attracted to sound, and no amount of gorgeous scenes with killer soundtracks where a bunch of zombies stand around and look at a windchime clattering away will make any difference.

This also ties into the final choice – do you let AJ shoot Lilly, or do you let her go, as she’s injured and allegedly not a threat? I 100% agree we shouldn’t be teaching six year olds that murder is okay, but when we’re arguing about a known threat who kidnaps kids to fight in their weird child soldier cult, and cuts out tongues because they had a mouthy captive… there’s not really a whole lot of thought that needs to go into that decision, especially when you consider what happens if you let Lilly live. My suggestion would be to swap Lilly for Minerva in that final scene. Do you give the traitor a chance to redeem herself, or do you gun down the tragic, brainwashed victim who you know damn well does horrible things to survive? It was an odd way to try and push the “protect AJ’s innocence,” message, and I don’t doubt that me picking to shoot Lilly won’t come back to haunt me, but even so. Let’s see what Episode Four brings.

Anywho, spoilers over. Here’s a picture of Violet.

In short, “Broken Toys,” is another excellent addition to a fantastic season, and I’m looking forward to the finale.

The Good

  • Has the perfect balance of action and character development.
  • Writing was stellar.
  • Romance felt very natural and well done.

The Bad

  • Two months until the next episode!

Family Focus

The Walking Dead – Episode Three: “Broken Toys,” is rated PEGI 18 due to ”
violence against vulnerable and defenceless characters, strong violence and use of sexual expletives,” and ESRB M for Mature due to “Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language.” Not one for the kids.

Disclaimer: This review is based on a retail copy of the game purchased for the purpose of this review.