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The Walking Dead: Season 2, Episode 1 Review: Growing Pains

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Title: The Walking Dead: Season 2: “All that Remains”
Price: $24.99 (season pass)
System(s): PC (Also available for PS3, Xbox 360, and iOS)
Release Date: December 17, 2013
Publisher (Developer): Skybound Entertainment (Telltale Games)
ESRB Rating: “Mature” for Violence, Blood, gore, and Strong Language

Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead kind of came out of nowhere last year, and has so far proven to be magnificent. Released in 5 “episodes” per “season”, the largely point-and-click adventure games based on the comic of the same name have provided some of the best, and most emotional story telling in recent years. Season 1 left me utterly heartbroken by its conclusion, and I’m almost afraid to discover what season 2 has in store.

WalkingDead_S2E1_ClementineCamping

Welcome To The Next Episode

The Walking Dead: Season 2 has now begun in earnest with the first episode “All that Remains”, and we finally get to find out what happened to Clementine and the other survivors from the first season. If Season 1 was any indication, probably nothing good. Reviewing The Walking Dead: Season 2, Episode 1 “All That Remains” is actually a little difficult I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but at the same time there were some great moments I would love to talk about. Suffice to say, that it is very good; maybe not as strong an opening as the first episode of Season 1, but still excellent.

The basic gist is that unlike Season 1, in The Walking Dead: Season 2 you are now playing as Clementine, 16 months after the end of Season 1, joined by the survivors from your first group. Without giving anything away, it isn’t long before she winds up all alone, and eventually with a new group. It’s a little hard seeing little Clementine beginning to grow up. It’s only been a year, but it’s clear that she is hardening into a much different person, and it is simultaneously heartbreaking and kind of awesome to see how badass she is becoming. Innocence has long since been lost and forgotten.

WalkingDead_S2E1_ClementineGrabbed

Feelings Of Empathy

I was initially a bit skeptical about playing as Clementine, as so much of Seasons 1’s emotion was based around trying to take care of her, but there were a few moments in The Walking Dead: Season 2, Episode 1 that showed I had nothing to worry about. In fact one scene in particular was extremely difficult emotionally; I actually felt guilty every time I had to move my mouse. For the most part I didn’t like the story in The Walking Dead: Season 2, Episode 1 as much as anything in the previous episodes, but overall it was still quite good. It was really elevated by a few really good moments. The decision you have to make right at the end of the game didn’t have the impact it probably should have since you haven’t been given enough time to get to know the other characters, but it certainly didn’t feel hollow by any means and you just know it’s going to have a huge impact on the rest of the season.

If you played any of the previous The Walking Dead games in Telltale’s series, you pretty much know what you’re getting into from a gameplay perspective: Some walking around, but mostly it’s a point-and-click affair with a bunch of QTEs tossed in for good measure. Aside for some subtle interface changes, you are getting exactly the same thing here, for better or for worse.

In the visual department The Walking Dead: Season 2, Episode 1 remains completely unchanged from Season 1, which is a good thing. The comic-inspired hand drawn art style remains remarkable and great to look at. It is one of the better art styles around in my opinion, and executed flawlessly. Facial expressions are arguably the most important part of conveying emotion in a character, and once again Telltale Games nails it perfectly. Looking into Clementine’s eyes can be both wonderful and painful, sometimes at the same time.

Music is one area where I feel they actually improved things noticeably. For the most part it all feels just like Season 1, which is to say that it’s very fitting, but fades into the background never calling attention to itself. What really grabbed me was the song that plays during the closing credits: “In The Water” from the band Anadel just feels so perfect for the game, it really added weight to an ending that was otherwise a bit on the weak side. The voice acting once again is fantastic overall. Some voices are better than others, but the worst you will get is “very decent”. All the characters sound convincing, which is probably easier when the script is so solidly written.

WalkingDead_S2E1_ClementineStaring

A Sound Beginning for another Walking Dead tale.

When all is said and done, my overall impression of the The Walking Dead: Season 2, Episode 1 is that it holds a ton of promise for the rest of the season. It remains to be seen how it will be controlling Clementine, but if they can keep finding ways to make you feel as if her well-being is well and truly in your hands, then it should be just fine. The story and decisions didn’t feel like they held quite as much weight as they could have, but I chalk that up to having introduced too many new characters at once without giving the player time to connect with any of them. I suspect this will change as the season progresses. Taken on its own, Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead: Season 2, Episode 1 “All That Remains” is a very solid game; it only falls slightly short, very slightly, when compared to its predecessor. I would recommend anyone who enjoyed Season 1 and is even thinking about playing Season 2 to give it a go.

gamertell score b plus

Site [The Walking Dead: Season 2]

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