The world can be a cruel and unforgiven place, especially in times of turmoil. If you didn’t learn that after playing The Walking Dead Season 1, you will certainly understand with The Walking Dead Season 2. For season 2 of The Walking Dead, attention has shifted focused toward Clementine, who is no longer the young, innocent child we remember from season 1. She has seen the worst the world has to offer and seems to have hardened up between the end of season 1 and the start of season 2. It doesn’t take long for things to pick up in a hurry with the first episode of the season, All That Remains.
Within the opening 5 minutes of The Walking Dead Season 2, you are awoken to the reality that it is still not safe to trust anyone in this dangerous zombie-filled world. Death manages to loom around every corner. And the actions of human beings can still horrify and frighten when the very idea of “survival of the fittest” is in full swing.
Clementine seems to have grasped this harsh reality, as she is no longer the same girl that Lee taught how to shoot a gun, or the young child hiding in her treehouse. From the onset of Episode 1, it is evident that Clementine has changed. Her attitude, her voice, her entire outlook on the world has changed as she has gotten older making her a fascinating character to control. Even with her new hardened personality, Clementine still remains vulnerable as ever. No punches were pulled for Episode 1 of The Walking Dead Season 2. Clementine’s youth and inexperience are put to the test pitting her in numerous life-and-death situations. Even in the short amount of time it took me to complete All That Remains, violence ran rampant throughout. Yes, Clementine may be a young girl, but the world is no picnic in The Walking Dead as every single person is scratching, clawing, and biting in order to survive the environment around them. Telltale Games does a fantastic job at relaying this message over the course of the first episode, as no person is entirely safe, even our young heroine, who also must fight to stay alive.
One of the best representations of Clementine’s acceptance of the world around her appears in the dialogue choices you are presented with when in conversation with other characters. From the choices given, you can see how Clementine has developed mentally in the past 16 months since the first season’s ending. A bit less naïve and a tad bit matured, the dialogue options presented for Clementine to players gives various ways to approach a discussion. Play on the emotions of others by coming across as nothing more than a sweet, innocent child. If you want to really turn things up a notch, you can be manipulative in order to make things happen. It is as if Telltale Games is telling players to just throw themselves in Clementine’s shoes; what would you do in those same situations as a child? Or, how would you perceive a young 11-year old to handle those stressful circumstances and verbal exchanges?
The dialogue itself, remains outstanding. The great writing from season 1 has managed to continue on in season 2 of The Walking Dead, which is a huge plus for a game that is so heavily driven by narrative and interaction between characters. I just wish there was more dialogue here though. With my playthrough only lasting an hour-and-a-half, a large chunk of that character interaction did not occur until the latter half of the episode, and then before you knew it, it was already over. The cast of characters that you also come across during the second part of episode 1 are nowhere near as memorable as those from season 1, but things can obviously change as future episodes are released. A few characters do stand out though, including another young girl who tries to befriend our main protagonist, and a pregnant woman, who seems rather wary of Clementine’s presence at her camp.
The gameplay for season 2 of The Walking Dead remains identical, for the most part, to season 1. “Pointing-and-clicking” is still intact, as players move Clementine throughout the environments, but the action is as intense as ever. Important objects will be highlighted, which players can then click on to use or examine further. Certain action sequences have been reworked, as players will be given different directions in which to maneuver toward. By simply the A (left) or D (right) key on the keyboard, Clementine will move in that direction in order to either avoid an oncoming attacker or get past an obstacle in her way. In other instances, players will also have to engage in QTEs, but it requires nothing more than rapidly pressing one button and then pressing another to finish the event.
As great as this first episode was, some minor issues held it back just a little. Technical issues including numerous erratic frame-rate drops and some stuttering were apparent throughout. Otherwise, the game plays and runs phenomenally well and looks stylish to boot. It is also concerning that no major decisions from The Walking Dead Season 1 carried over into the first episode, but I am fully expecting many plot twists and turns to occur in later episodes that will utilize the decisions from season 1.
The Walking Dead Season 2 is off to a strong, yet violent start. The incredible narrative has carried over from season 1 and it seems as though the action will certainly be picking up in the next few episodes. Controlling Clementine is a nice change and provides a unique perspective in such dire and tumultuous times. All That Remains starts off with a bang, and continues that throughout much of the episode. Barring some technical issues, the second season of The Walking Dead looks like another hit for Telltale Games and a worthy successor to what many considered 2012’s Game of the Year.
(This review for The Walking Dead Season Two: Episode 1 was completed using the PC version.)