Season one of Telltale’s The Walking Dead is one of the few games that can live off of its story telling ability alone and be an amazing game. Season two is a continuation of Telltale’s mastery of shaping a story in a video game without using a lot of gameplay mechanics. Even though season two falls short of the perfectionist season one, this season manages to build upon an already impressive character: Clementine. As the first season was more focused on Lee and his group of survivors, this season represents Clementine’s story.
The first season was about protecting Clementine, in season two, you are Clementine. After the emotional events of episode five in the first season, Clementine continues the struggle to survive in a broken world infested with the undead. As Clem, players will interact with characters old and new throughout the game. Being an episodic interactive drama game, the choices you make as Clementine molds the story into a more personal tale.
The plot moves in a linear fashion, but the choices you make along that path branch off into new conversational pieces and changes the relationship that you have with these other survivors. Besides the final choices at the end of the season, you won’t have that much power to say alter the entire story.
Characters that are meant to die, will die when they are meant to, and characters who are needed down the line for the story’s sake, will be there. I won’t go as far to say your choices don’t matter in the long run, because it does change the way people interacts and looks at Clementine. However, if you’re expecting all of your decisions to come back to haunt or save you, don’t. It may seem unfair as these interactive drama games usually makes every choice matter, but at the same time, the fact that your choices won’t always comeback to affect your life in the future is pretty realistic. Sometimes one word can alter your fate, and sometimes it doesn’t.
Some players will like that about this game, some won’t. Instead of having your choices affect the overall story, they usually attack your thought process as the decision maker. You’ll struggle to pick a character to side with over another, you’ll experience the heartbreak of betrayal and you’ll hate yourself for making what seems to be “the wrong choice.”
+ The game creates great moral quandaries
+ The final choices
– Some decisions do not have any pay off
– Choices from season one and 400 days do not carry over in a meaningful way
The overall story of season two is very well put together. As I stated before, season one was more about the group, but this season is about one solid character. Clementine is one of the best child characters to have ever been at the center of a video game or movie. She is a survivor thanks to the events of season one, and season two benefits greatly from having her as the centerpiece of the story.
Clem can be calm, kind and trusting, but if the situation calls for it, she will call characters out for their sh!t, get the job done if it needs to be done and make critical choices when the time calls for it. In fact, at times it seems as if the group relies too much on Clem. They ask her to do things no child should ever be asked to do, even in a zombie apocalypse. I can understand asking her to climb through small gaps if she is small and quick, but asking her to sneak into the office of a madman is a bit too much at times, especially when the others seem capable enough to get the job done by themselves.
After all, Clementine is just twelve; why is she always the one giving pep-talks to the middle-aged men and women in the group while also shouldering a lot of the physical labor? Speaking of the uselessness of Clementine’s group, most of them aren’t even worth it. When you meet the new group of survivors, they are nothing but jerks towards Clementine (for an insurmountably stupid reason) and one of them even accuses her of being a spy. I understand that Clementine needs the group for survival purposes, but they do nothing but cause trouble and drama.
From a logical standpoint, as strong as a character Clementine is, I’m surprised she couldn’t just say “screw this, I am better off without these nobodies.” There are a few redeemable characters, but this group doesn’t come close of matching the magic of season one’s group.
+ Clementine is the character of the year so far
– Most of the group is either useless or unlikable
– The logic of asking a twelve-year-old to handle most of the problems way too often
Just as previous Telltale games, all of the action sequences are tailored by quick-time events and button prompts. It is regular fashion for an interactive drama game to have these mechanics as its main tool, so it fits the game perfectly. Action sequences are tense not because of twitch reactions you see in shooters, but because of the scene the game presents to you. The game paints the imagery of a twelve-year-old getting attacked by a middle-aged man or undead foe, and it is your job to make sure she doesn’t get hurt. The quick-time/ button prompt thing works, because it doesn’t get in the way of the game’s golden eagle: The story.
The one overarching flaw of Telltale’s games having long load times and frame-rate issues rears its ugly head again. It isn’t as bad as previous games or the first season of TWD, but it can still take you out of the experience when you have to sit behind a loading screen that’s taking a tad too long.
+ Since Clem is a little girl, every time something goes down, you feel the danger
+/- Standard gameplay that never gets in the way
– Typical technical issues
Despite my qualms with the most of the group of survivors, this season of Telltale’s The Walking Dead is an amazing one. This interactive drama game is a must play for fans of The Walking dead, whether it be the Television show, game or comic. It’s also a must play for gamers who prefers a good story over fast paced gameplay. It doesn’t recapture the emotional magic of season one, but instead it created Clementine, the girl who does what has to be done.
Overall: 8.75 out of 10