The first season of The Walking Dead by Telltale pretty much came out of nowhere and surprised everyone. Difficult choices, some of the best writing in gaming, gut wrenching memorable moments and great atmosphere made Season One many publication’s (including The Gamer Access) game of the year in 2012. Well one year after the conclusion of the heartbreaking first season, the second is here. The question is does it live up to the incredibly high standard of the first? Read more to find out!
The story picks up a few months after the end of season one, and is all about Clementine surviving on her own, growing up in a dark, unloving, hateful world filled with the undead. This season is even darker than the last. Within minutes horrible things happen; characters die, and there is no right answer. That’s not to say the game is too serious. There are some funny and lighthearted moments to even things out. The writing continues to be superb and Clementine continues to be one of the best child characters in all of fiction. If I had to point out a problem with the story so far it is that it doesn’t seem like there is a main plot or anything happening until the end of the episode. Up until then it is just Clementine out in the wild, surviving. As a whole, this piece of the story was entertaining and did what it was supposed to do in hooking me in for the rest of the season. If you haven’t played the first season you won’t be nearly as engaged.
From a visual standpoint things have improved quite a bit since season one. There is more detail, more colors, less technical issues, and it just looks better as a whole. The music and voice acting is top notch as it was in season one, though this time the soundtrack stands out a bit more. Sound effects are the biggest improvement outside of the visuals, sounding a bit more real. It is apparent that Telltale took a lot of its time to amp up the presentation and it was worth it.
Gameplay is what you would expect from a point-and-click adventure game, though this time there is more quick-time-style events along with other improvements. Most of the improvements have gone to the user interface and puzzle solving. Now instead of just selecting one item to use on a puzzle, you have all of them to use and you click on the one you want to use. Decision making and dialogue choices are still a part of the game along with multiple paths. One thing I can say is that playing as Clementine is a completely different experience. She is tiny and can’t brute force the undead like Lee could. Not only that, but when it comes to dealing with people, unlike Lee, she has the be helpless and adorable option. While the puzzle solving and quick time events are largely the same with minor improvements the interactions with other characters is where the biggest change of pace lies.
The first episode of season two of The Walking Dead starts out strong and hooks you in accomplishing the goal of any good intro. The presentation has seen an overall improvement and so has the gameplay. It may be small improvements and more of the same, but it is so good that it’s hard not to care. This first episode does keep up the high standard Telltale set last year and I look forward to seeing the conclusion of Clementine’s story, no matter how depressing or horrifying.
Final Score: 9.0/10