Published on May 12th, 2014 | by Justin Smith0
The Walking Dead: Season 2
Wow. I always think that post-apocalyptic zombie games are getting old but I’m continuously proven wrong by certain titles. The Last of Us proved to me last year that the genre is far from dead, and Telltale’s new episode of “The Walking Dead: Season 2” has done it again. Full disclosure, I did not play the first season and I had to get caught up to the story by reading up on it and then playing Episode 1 of Season 2 before I played this episode. I am a fan of the show (depending on the season) and I do know quite a bit about the comic. That said, Telltale’s storytelling absolutely stands it own to both the show and comic and could arguably be more gripping.
I’ll get gameplay over with first because, to be completely honest, it takes more of a supportive role to the story instead of a center piece. For those who have not played Telltale’s titles, they’re more of interactive stories than they are video games. This isn’t to say their stories could better be told in another medium, in fact, it’s the interactive nature of these titles that really set them apart from the show or comic. You control Clementine throughout the story, and really “control” is only given to you in a few circumstances. In those circumstances you can walk around and interact with objects or the environment, typically studying or solving a puzzle. But, most of the time the game takes over and you’re reacting to the scripted situations. There is pretty much no exploration and it is entirely linear. If that sounds like an issue keep in mind it does not really need exploration considering its story relies heavily on its controlled pacing. In those sequences you’ll largely be doing quick time events – pressing buttons in the right time and right sequence. A lot of people understandably hate quick time events, but honestly there isn’t really another option in this type of game. The game isn’t about the action, it’s about everything else. The conversation trees and choices in what you do or say make up the bulk of the gameplay. The game is notorious for its “character will remember that” prompts when you choose a certain dialogue option or action. While some of the choices don’t seem to matter too much in the long run, many of them do make a difference. The creators are pretty ruthless in some of the decisions you have to make. If there’s one thing these writers know how to do it’s pull at your heart strings.
The story is really the main reason why you would purchase this game. As said, the gameplay really just supports the story. It’s very linear overall and most of the time you, as a player, take more of the role of an observer. But it does put enough control in your hands to make differences, and it’s that bit of interaction that really pulls you in. The first season was known for being so sad that you can look up streamers crying while playing the ending. The second season is no different. The Walking Dead show and comic also have their brutal moments but they lack the interactivity of the game. You’re so drawn into Clementine’s struggle that I have found myself more looking forward to the next installment of this season than the next season of the show. All of the characters are fairly well acted – and just like the show or comic, anyone can die at any time. Since I can’t really spoil anything, just know that it’s incredibly sad. It’s sad stuff happening after sad stuff, in a perpetual cycle of sadness. That might sound like a ding against its writing, but it isn’t. I cannot commend enough how gripping this story is and how it’s really changed my mind on zombie fiction in games.
As for the second episode in comparison to the first, it’s really just more of the same. If you’re a veteran of the game series then you know exactly what the game is like. It continues the story and stays just as gripping as the first episode, if not a little more interesting. The first episode of the Season 2 sets the stage and gets you used to being in Clementine’s shoes. The second episode sets up the major conflict that I think Season 2 will be based on. It runs about the same amount of time as the first episode, I completed it in about two hours.
I haven’t been a huge player of point-and-click adventure games but this one sold me. I’ll be eagerly awaiting the following episodes of this season. I might even branch out and look for more games like it. Yes, it’s that good.
4.5 out of 5