Telltale brings the third season of The Walking Dead to a close with the most understated finale of the whole series. This episode isn’t as tense as some of the others, but it sets about closing the plot threads, and does so in a way that accounts for your interactions with other characters over the course of the season while also ensuring that Javi’s personal story, and the family politics that permeates the narrative, drive it.
This season has benefited in general from the shift in focus, and Clementine as a support character has definitely been interesting, making the player wrestle Javi’s interests with hers to try to come to a satisfying conclusion. As a result, most of this finale deals with the way relationships between characters have turned out over the course of the other episodes as you choose allegiances and loyalties, working out who in your family means the most to you. This results in this episode’s multiple endings, where different characters take center stage and help Javi to redeem the situation in Richmond, being completely overrun.
These intricate family moments are the episode’s strongest moments, the conversations and interactions feeling like a natural progression of their relationships. The series employs flashbacks again to provide more substance and background to some relationships, layering them for the player to make more of an informed decision and ensure that they are comfortable with their choice.
The actual plot points themselves don’t feel all that new; we’ve had a number of overrun settlements over the course of the series and, at its heart, this is just another one of those, scrambling to deal with the walker infestation before it becomes too much. Admittedly, these attempts do often have different outcomes in the franchise, but there is a sense of repetitiveness about it that’s hard to forget about. The other story elements keep it above water though, and the strength of Telltale’s characterization is enough to ensure that there is still a large degree of investment.
There’s lots more zombie killing to be done here, and Telltale enables it by introducing multiple quick time events that follow directly on from each other like combo moves, ensuring that you’re as fast as possible when dealing with the walkers as they approach. Speed is of the essence and where normally you wouldn’t really expect repercussions if you took a second to orient yourself – the game is a little less forgiving here. In general though, it stays much the same and almost blends in to the background of the familial story at hand.
That is not to say that Clementine is neglected. Quite the opposite, as she becomes an integral part of your decision making, having a direct influence on Javi’s family no matter which way you choose. The game makes sure to remind you that it hasn’t forgotten about her, and by the end it becomes clear that the next season will switch focus back to her and her exploits. Overall , From the Gallows is an unassuming finale that does pack some punches, but makes those punches feel inevitable as Javi learns more about his family, and about himself. It rounds off a strong season that has definitely had stronger episodes, but it continues to bode well for the franchise that we remain invested in these characters.
PUBLISHER – Telltale | DEVELOPER – Telltale | ESRB – M | PLATFORMS – PC / PS4 / Xbox One/ iOS / Android
RECOMMENDED – While From the Gallows is not strong as the previous episode, Thicker Than Water, it is still an emotionally satisfying conclusion to this particular tale that finds its strength in its characterization and atmosphere, which makes up for any lingering feeling that the franchise is becoming a little repetitive. Here’s to a great fourth season.