Telltale Games’ episodic video game series named after the popular AMC tv show (and graphic novels) has become a rather hot commodity. Not only does it do an admirable job of portraying the drama inherent in the plot / concept of the rural zombie apocalypse, but it also delivers some great gameplay as well. Stylistically speaking, the action is all over the map with elements of point and click adventures as well as the more traditional 3D games. The selling point of course is that it basically puts the storytelling on autopilot, placing you at the helm as the main decision maker, thus allowing you to interactively craft the way everything unfolds. This season presents us with no less than 5 new episodes to sink our gaming teeth into, and we’re going to look at each one individually…
Let’s try to do this without any major spoilers too…
Episode 1 – All that Remains
For all intents and purposes, this episode is devoted entirely to Clementine, who is being forced to grow up and adapt to her insane surroundings. Naturally, your choices will pave the pathway that her story takes, allowing you to transform her as you see fit. Of particular note are the scenes which allow you to move around and freely explore the landscape, which stands as a nice contrast to the elements which have you simply responding or acting in a canned manner.
Episode 2 – A House Divided
Whereas the first episode was definitely a bit more pensive, the 2nd “A house divided” definitely swings things in the other direction with more action. Clementine is still present of course, but Carver more or less steals the show here as it is his doings that generates most of the tumultuous changes throughout. Those who love choices and a large, sweeping scope will feel better served here too, as it seems as if there are many more possibilities present, depending upon how you actually play, that is.
Episode 3 – In Harm’s Way
No ongoing series would be able to carry any true dramatic weight without some serious antagonism and that’s exactly Episode 3 is all about. Captured by Carver, Clementine must choose how to handle the situation as she watches her friends being brutalized by a madman. The themes of retribution, revenge and escape are mostly what’s echoed here. In the end, this one will weigh heavily on your mind and conscious.
Episode 4 – Amid the Ruins
You could look at ep 4, “Amid the Ruins” as being nothing more than a lead up to the impending finale, but in truth it’s much more than that. The way it portrays those inexorable moments of solitude and contemplation, the lesser known and quiet elements of a zombie survival situation are what it grants you access to. Don’t get the wrong idea though, there will most certainly be moments of frantic desperation and violence, but they are artfully placed and spread out. Throughout all of this you’ll also have to deal with the concept of loss again, which is made all the more painful because you’re also attempting to learn more about various characters in the process.
Episode 5 – No Going Back
No seasonal series is complete without a dynamite finale and episode 5, “No going back” is certainly no exception to that rule. There’s plenty of tense action and obviously a gut-wrenching set of final choices which determines how things pan out. All in all, it is par for the course, delivering exactly the sort of drama-fueled storytelling and scenes of human frailty that we have come to expect from the series.
The Walking Dead Season 2 works great as a standalone set of episodes, obviously, but is infinitely better if taken as a whole with previous entries. It basically continues on with the same methods of distilling gameplay and action too, landing somewhere between watching a television show and handling an interactive title. Whether or not you’re just getting into the franchise or are already fully emotionally invested, Season 2 is definitely a must-play assortment of chapters which will end up weighing heavily on you, in the best way possible.
Rating – 8.5
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