Most anticlimactic ending ever?
I was excited when I saw that Episode 5 was out. I bought it and went to go load up my game and finally finish this masterpiece....but then I realized that I had reformatted and lost my save game file.
So I had to play the first 4 episodes all over again, which was fine (although the lack of actual choice in the game is even more obvious). After 8 or so hours of replaying the game I was finally ready and excited to see what would happen.
Will Clem be found? Who was the guy on the radio? Would they get on the boat? What will happen to Lee and what will he do to ensure Clem's safety (if saved)? Little did I know that all of those questions would be answered in the shortest and most boring way possible.
Would they get on the boat?
The time spent during the last three episodes talking about a boat, finding a boat, risking everything to find parts for the boat, and fixing the boat is more or less killed 15 minutes into Episode 5. Not in any dramatic way mind you. Ben tells the group that Vernon's group came and took the boat. That's it. Vernon isn't seen taking the boat, and isn't seen any time after. Three episodes worth of conversation and gameplay is negated by a secondary character just saying that the boat is gone......ridiculous. Imagine the battle in the final Lord of the Rings movie just being Aragorn telling people that they won the battle without showing it at all.
Will Clem be found?/Who was the guy on the radio?
She's taken without anyone noticing. Lee falls asleep in the same room as Clem only to wake up a few hours later to find her gone and no one even saw or heard her being taken. After a mysterious talk over the radio with a dangerous sounding man who seems to have been ingeniously observing and involving himself in the group even before they boarded the train Lee and the group prepares to find and defeat this mysterious figure....
....After being a mystery for multiple episodes. After seeming like a figure that involves Clem and Lee in something much larger than just surviving. After all that.....he is just the dude who's mad that you stole food out of his car and simply takes Clem to a hotel room. Not only is he not a mysterious figure, but his powerful aura he portrayed by unnerving the group through messages and stealing Clem like a shadow is completely ruined. He get's hit in the head with a wine bottle by the 9 year old he kidnapped because he didn't lock the door to the room he was keeping her in. A 9 year old with a glass bottle more or less thwarts the main antagonist of the past 3 episodes....
What will happen to Lee and what will he do to ensure Clem's safety (if saved)?
Throughout the whole game Lee is constantly looking out for Clem. He grows to love her and realizes that he will do anything to protect her. He's gone through multiple dangerous situations and killed plenty of walkers just to protect this girl he has grown to care for. At the end of Episode 4 he is bitten and we see that our Hero is not invincible, but Lee has had plenty of setbacks and always comes out of them. If anything, he thrives during these moments.
....So what happens? He rooftop hops a few blocks, and easily retrieves Clem from the worst Villain the Apocalypse has ever seen in a hotel room. Then, just as he is starting to show that trademark Lee-ness (new word) by guiding Clem through the horde of zombies, he passes out and has to be saved by the 9 year old girl. Surely when he recovers he'll do something to help Clem right? Nope, he wakes up only to die a few minutes later next to a radiator. He doesn't pull through and guide Clem to ensured future safety. He doesn't die in an action packed heroic moment saving Clementine. Nope, he lays down on the ground and says he can't get up....then he dies. The end.
Although I think they are no longer unique and are borderline cliche now within the genre, I'm completely fine with tragic endings. I'm fine with Lee dying. I'm even fine with Clem being left alone. The problem is the incredibly lackluster way it's done. Lee finds out where Clem is, gets across town to the hotel, "defeats" the bad guy, "rescues" clem, and escapes in about the same time it took to leave the Motor Inn and get the train started........and was less exciting than the train startup sequence.
The game also displays a message before every episode claiming that your choices and gameplay affect and change the story. So why is there only one ending? It's obvious that in other episodes your choices don't affect the story at all, but couldn't they at least try to make that beginning message a little bit true? I've played side scrolling platform games with 3-4 endings, yet the adventure story based game who's major selling point is choice and player involvement in the story can't even make 2.
Telltalle phoned this one in. It's that simple. Instead of creating an actual final episode, they created the intro sequence/back-story to season 2. I suspect that they had a real ending thought up, but once the sequels were approved they had to toss it and change it from a finale to a short transition.
This is probably the most disappointing "sequel" (kind of) I've ever played.
Episodes 1 through 4 are Brilliant.
Episode 5 is to the first 4 as Crystal Skull is to the Original Indiana Jones Trilogy.