Season Two of the “Walking Dead” game is finally here! Anyone who played 2012’s Season One will tell you they have been really anticipating Season Two. Telltale Games’ “The Walking Dead: Season One” was one of the most critically acclaimed games of the year, and for good reason. Not only has it reinvigorated the point-and-click adventure game genre, it has changed the way people think about storytelling in games. Also, for the first time, it was a game that was released in episodes, like a television show.
The hallmark of the Telltale version of the “Walking Dead” is the story – more importantly, the decisions you make, which change the way the story plays out. Even though the game is not based on the smash hit television show on AMC, it is based on the original comic book by Robert Kirkman. The world and the rules are similar to the show, but the characters and story arcs are very different.
The Telltale version of “The Walking Dead” is not really about action; it is about character interactions, dialogue, and making decisions that will impact the whole group. For the most part, the gameplay is slow moving; you can use the analog stick to move around and click on things you want to look at and interact with. In most scenes, there is a lot of talking. When you talk to someone, you are given several options with what you want to say, but not a lot of time to choose, so you have to think fast and pick the option you think is best. Whatever you choose, the game will remember what you picked and it will change the story and what the others will think of you and how they will react to you later in the story. Once in a while, there is some action where you have to shoot some zombies, run away, or save your friends; these scenes usually have a quick time limit, and if you don’t succeed, characters will die and it will not only change the story, but it will change the interactions with the remaining characters throughout the rest of the game.
“Season Two: Episode 1 – All That Remains” picks up where the first season left off with the story of Clementine, a young girl who survived the events of the first season and continues to live in a world ravaged by a zombie outbreak that has ripped society apart. Not only do you have to worry about getting infected by zombies, but the living people cannot be trusted either because they are fighting for survival themselves and want to take your resources. If you played the first season, you are going to want to play on the same console because your saved game and the decisions you made carry over from the first season, influencing the second season.
By the time we catch up with Clementine in this episode, she is a very different girl than you remember; all of the emotional things she had to deal with in One have taken their toll on her young psyche. All of the loneliness, violence, and loss of loved ones has made her grow up fast. The way you play determines how much she remembers and deals with the past, and what you do shapes Clementine’s future. Throughout the game, Clementine meets up with some people from her past and is introduced to some interesting new characters, but who can she trust? How will these new people shape the story? Some of the people I really disliked at first, but as you learn their stories, they become more likable. However, some new characters are very similar to that of the first game. Telltale Games has master storytellers, and they make each of the characters feel authentic, even though most of the adults don’t want to hear Clementine’s point of view on anything. It’s a good thing she is a quick learner and proves to be more mature than most of the so-called “grown ups.”
The action in Season Two is much tighter and better than last season. Clementine isn’t really combat heavy, but she is good at dodging and running, leading to some really tense moments. This game does not pull any punches; there are some scenes that are just downright gory and have cringe-worthy brutality that makes the show look tame.
This episode does provide some really nice answers to burning questions from Season One and does a great job of setting up the rest of the season. I can’t wait to see where they go with the story. Some of story and gameplay feels similar to the first game, but I still think the game is riveting and a lot of fun to play.
If you played the first season, I don’t have to tell you to download this game. If you didn’t play the first game but you are a fan of the comic or the show, then you will want to check this out, but I think you should play Season One so you can see how your decisions affect the game. I am very excited to see where they go from here; the wait for Episode 2 will be unbearable.
-Robbie Vanderveken is the digital operations specialist at The Times Leader. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.