The Walking Dead: The Final Season review | A heartfelt send-off

The Walking Dead: The Final Season gives the story the heartfelt ending it deserves. Our review…


Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead may have found critical and financial success in other mediums, but arguably none have managed to penetrate the cultural zeitgeist quite like the interactive one Telltale has gradually crafted.

Yes, the journey of Clementine and her very human story of making tough decisions within a zombie-infested apocalypse has inspired the hearts of many since the first season released back in 2012 – to the extent that it was partially down to the sheer will of players that she was even able to make it this far.

If there was any fear that Telltale’s sudden closure in October 2018 would detrimentally impact Clem’s closing tale, let it be said that the concluding moments, without doubt, give Clementine her due justice.

And even if the team that finished The Walking Dead: The Final Season isn’t the same one that started it, Skybound and the aptly named Still Not Bitten team have succeeded in creating a small, tightly wound set-up in which to say goodbye to this universe and its beloved characters.

Picking up soon after the events of Javier’s story from The Walking Dead: A New Frontier, it feels good to be placed back in direct control of Clementine again after a long time away. She’s a changed person from the little girl we first found hiding in a treehouse at the start of the first season, having since stepped up to be a protector to an orphaned young AJ – Clementine’s now much like the guardian figure Lee Everett was to her back then.

This decision to invert Clem’s role helps raise the stakes much higher than what we’ve seen for Telltale’s The Walking Dead for some time, with you no longer so much making the harsh choices as simply guiding them.

The Final Season’s first episode, Done Running, is a good example of this. An early sequence sees Clem and AJ forced to raid a nearby outhouse in search of food and supplies. Circumstances like this would usually be thought of as standard fare for any Walking Dead property, yet just before heading in you’re asked to reiterate to AJ what the standard protocol is on such matters.

Do you tell him, “find a way out”, “check the windows” or “find somewhere to hide”? Small moments like this represent your chance to subtly help form the man AJ may eventually become, potentially causing ripple effects in a later episode that could aid or come back to haunt you.

As the narrative progresses, you soon realise that the territory war AJ and Clem find themselves swept up in is a more contained affair than the road trip tenures seen in previous seasons. This is smart, given the slightly shorter episode count, as it allows each member of Ericson’s Boarding School for Troubled Youths’ ensemble cast to slowly unfurl their character, letting you settle into the best alliances and relationships that make sense for your Clementine.

Location plays a bigger role in The Walking Dead: The Final Season than ever before, finally giving Clem a home worth fighting for even if the overarching through-line centring on a turf war between camps feels a little trite.

All four episodes offer a healthy amount of interesting dialogue options between characters, unique locations to briefly explore, and a fair few action set pieces that, while engrossing, still haven’t solved the classic Telltale formula of having you awkwardly complete QTE tasks in sequence.

There’s nothing in terms of gameplay that will amaze you in The Walking Dead: The Final Season, but where it does surprise is in the discussion it adds to the debate of what it means to be a walker.

Up until now, the survivors Clem has associated with have killed the undead without question. However, through new character James – an ex-member of a group known only as The Whisperers – this changes. He’s someone who chooses to live among walkers and in doing so believes that there’s more humanity to the flesh-eaters than most would think.

Unless closely following The Walking Dead in the comics, you wouldn’t know such people exist. It’s but a small part of how this final season, in particular, adds colour to this world, coming to a head when Clem is forced to consider it.

The Walking Dead: The Final Season offers up the same bout of moral quandaries Telltale’s take has become known for, but twists the knife even further by knowingly mirroring certain scenarios and dilemmas, stretching back all the way to season one.

The conclusion of Clementine’s story has been a long time coming, and for the most part, sticks the landing without any indication of the outside turmoil it took to get her there. The Walking Dead: The Final Season delivers the emotional gut punch we all wanted, and provides a fitting end to one of video gaming’s best-loved characters.


Every episode sees Clem’s relationship with AJ deepen according to the lessons you teach him, and the actions you take. Lash out in an act of ill-judgement and it’s quite possible that AJ will notice, resulting in certain unexpected swerves in the narrative that are no longer in your control.


Emotional, thoughtful, and unrelenting, The Walking Dead’s final season gives Clem an appropriately heartfelt send-off.


Genre: Episodic adventure
Format: PC (tested) / PS4 / XBO / Switch
Developer: Telltale Games / Skybound Games
Publisher: Telltale Games / Skybound Games
Price: £18.99
Release: Out now

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