Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Quick Review: The Walking Dead: Game Season 2 Episode 1

Good To See You, Clementine.
The surprise of last year was The Walking Dead developed by Telltale Games.  The game offered players something fresh and new.  It told a great story and gave the players difficult moral choices to make throughout it's 5 episode season.  Yesterday, TTG picked up the series right where it left off. It is still a great albeit depressing as all hell story, still gives the player difficult moral choices with the  big change being this time you play as Lee's protege, Clementine.

This was me waiting for the game to download.
Clementine isn't the same little girl from season one that complained about her ears ringing after shooting a gun.  This time around she is a hardened survivor.  This comes across in several of the dialogue choices that I could and in some cases did chose in the first episode.  As Clementine you can also use her age to appeal to other survivors, but she is still a little girl, which offers a completely unique experience. As Lee you were able to do a lot more with just his height and strength. As with Clementine it might take a few extra moves to get to the same spot.  Outside of dialogue choices there is one scene in particular that shows Clementine isn't the same girl coloring with chalk and making leaf prints.  At one point in the episode Clem comes across a box full of toys. She looks down at the box and picks up a doll.  She holds it in her hand for a couple seconds, and puts it back into the box.  This scene is just one of many that showed Clementine's growth from an innocent protected girl into a survivor. She knows that she can't still be a child in an unforgiving world.

She Is No Longer The Same Frightened Girl
Clementine is also no longer in a large group like the one in season one.  She no longer has the security blanket in Lee to protect her. She can no longer be an innocent child.  Clementine does come across a new group in this episode and they are not exactly the most friendly bunch.  They are skeptical of a girl who has survived on her own. They fear that Clementine can be a threat to their loved one's safety.  This is a huge contrast to the first season where the Lee and company where not completely hardened before meeting Clementine. The old group still had some moral compass telling them to protect a little girl in need. The group that you come across in season two is having none of it.  They have seen what the new world has to offer, they have their own experiences with letting a stranger into the group and they don't want to risk their safety even if it means a little girl is put in harm's way because of it.

The game itself still plays the same. It is a point a click adventure. The interface for looking at and picking objects has been improved dramatically from last year. Also improved is the action game play itself.  Both the interface and game play have obviously borrowed from TTG's other project The Wolf Among Us.  The action feels just as fluid as the fight scene with the Woodsman or the giant troll that you encounter in a bar later.  It is a noted improvement that helps add tension to the game instead of the frustration I would feel playing as Lee and having to use the game's poor mechanics to shoot at zombies.

The game still has the same comic book style as it's predecessor.  The facial animation of the character's are still great, showing rage, sadness, and regret. TWD is story that doesn't need Battlefield graphics to get it's point across. Unfortunately, the game still has the same frame rate issues when it comes out of a loading screen. I didn't experience anything game breaking the first time I played through it and didn't see anything when I watched a friend did as well, which is a good thing as I still live in fear of the rogue camera of last season's episode three.  The soundtrack is once again perfect.  It is subtle during long character moments and fast paced when in a fight to the death.

The Walking Dead still doesn't hold back. The story in episode one was more of a character piece for Clem while it set the table for the events to come.  It also clocks in about 2 hours of game time so you can easily complete it in one sitting which is appealing to busy gamers.  The main plot is a bit murky for now, but they most certainly planted the seeds for a big bad in the near future. If you were worried about a quality drop off from last season don't be.

8.5/10 would recommend


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