The Walking Dead: The Final Season – Episode Four ‘Take Us Back’ Review
Reviewed on AllAlso available on Sony PlayStation 4, Microsoft Xbox One and Nintendo Switch
In the seven years since Lee first met Clementine, Telltale’s The Walking Dead has taken us on a journey of friendship, survival and moral dilemmas that has enthralled players all over the world. Take Us Back incorporates all of these mechanics to make the final ever episode one of the best in the series.
Take Us Back picks up immediately where episode three concluded, leaving Clementine and AJ stranded on the burning remains of a sinking ship. The opening sequence sets the tone of the episode with a high intensity sequence that sees Clementine attempt to get herself and AJ off the boat and back onto dry land. The frantic pace continues for the entirety of the episode, and while at times this may rush some sections of the game, it perfectly matches Clementine’s desperation to get her friends home safe.
The central theme of this episode surrounds AJ’s internalized struggle with his identity as a survivor. The entire season has revolved around Clementine’s lessons, shaping AJ’s character and teaching him right from wrong. In this episode his frustrations and feelings come to a boiling point leaving Clementine wondering whether she taught him any of the right things at all.
Because AJ has been learning from Clementine’s actions, a few of the main choices in this episode are decided by him based on how he’s been taught to survive since the start of season four. Seeing him learn how and when to make the difficult choices whilst taking decisions away from the player makes for a heart-stopping sequence of events that won’t easily be forgotten.
At times Take Us Back felt a little rushed, as though the final episode would have benefited from a longer running time to tie up loose ends and fully explore the character development that finally begins to bloom. There’s a long anticipated flashback which bridges the gap between the end of Season Three and the start of the Final Season, but it feels a little anti-climactic, seeming to fizzle out once Clementine achieves her goal.
The graphical style continues to uphold a high standard, and animation seems to be smoother than ever, from the quivering lips of a scared toddler to the crazed expression of a furious Raider, these small touches strengthen the already excellent storytelling.
The musical score elevates the gameplay to a higher standard, with some of the most action packed sections conveying more terror and desperation because of the soundtrack accompanying the gameplay. Towards the end of the game beautifully sung tracks set a tone of reflection as the game begins to conclude, leaving a bittersweet taste in your mouth.
Considering there was a time not long ago where it seemed we would never see a proper conclusion to The Walking Dead, the finale we do get is wonderful. There are a few end outcomes based on your path through the story, each as strong as the one before. But, most importantly, there is real closure here, and a sense that this was a journey worth taking.