Title: Walking Dead – Season Two
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Director: Sean Vanaman
Composer: Jared Emerson-Johnson
Game Engine: Telltale Tool
With Episode 4 coming out soon for Walking Dead Season Two, it seems like a good opportunity to take a look at the episodes that are released. Plus, there was a great deal during the last Steam sale, letting me finally get it at a great price!
Gameplay: The gameplay is perfect. Absolutely perfect. There’s no other way to describe it. When I loaded up the game and started controlling Clem, everything made perfect sense. But there was new things in there. Repeated button pressing to show Clem’s struggles. Needing to swipe the mouse for her to yank things out. It was small stuff that, when put all together, created an experience that was different from the Season One. Things were not as easy for Clem as they were for Lee. She was smaller, weaker. She had to run and dodge more often than fight. And when she did have to fight…. wow… it was always a challenge.
What I find really interesting is that the style of gameplay was perfect for the style of storytelling. Though it was highly engaging, it was also minimalistic. It emphasizes the story, only requiring the player to be active during the important parts of the story. This is characteristic of the gameplay for a video game by Telltale Games. And I swear they are getting better and better with each passing episode.
Phenomenal Story: Episode 1 is a continuation of the first season, and it’s one hell of an emotional roller coaster. We now see a dramatic shift from Lee over to Clementine. It is difficult to play the story out, growing so attached to the little girl during Season One. I wanted the best for her, I really did. And seeing what was happening to her hurt. But in a good way.
We get to see Clementine as the survivor that Lee wanted her to be, the survivor that Lee trained her as hard as he could for. And sweet mercy, that girl’s been through hell and back, yet she’s still going strong. From the start of her journey through the first episode, she’s lost at least three sets of parents / stand-in parents, faced betrayals from friends and animals, and watched near helplessly as every sense of safety was torn away over and over again. She learned that she had to do the hard things herself in order to survive, and sweet hell on a pogo-stick, she did just that when we watched her stitch herself up.
Sure, it’s a story of Clem’s survival. But it felt like it was something more… it was the preservation of Lee’s legacy. He did so much for this little girl. And as long as she lived, Lee was somehow alive as well.
At least that’s how I saw it.
Voice Acting: They brought back Melissa Hutchison to be the voice of Clementine. I don’t believe they could have gotten anyone better for the role, and nicely done to Telltale games for not switching actresses mid-game. I was concerned about that, I confess.
Melissa did a wonderful job with the central protagonist. I could believe every cry of pain, every gasp, and every bit of anger within Clem’s voice.
Good god, that sent chills down my spine. It was delivered perfectly. Everyone else in the game also did a phenomenal job as well. Focusing on Melissa was not meant to claim others didn’t do a great job. Every voice actor brought their A-game to this title. Everyone did a wonderful job. Heck, I was sucked into the game from the get-go thanks to their work.
Torture: The pain that Clementine went through was very, very difficult to watch. Yes, it fit into the theme and story of the game. Yes, it made perfect sense what happened. But it didn’t make it any easier. When she was suturing her own wounds, and the screen promoted me to move my mouse in a certain way to do it, man, I hesitated. And when I heard her cry out in pain, all I could think was, “WHO THE HELL WOULD CONSIDER THIS FUN???? I DON’T WANT TO DO THIS!”
Causing a little girl pain, even though it was a game, just didn’t sit well with me. But, honestly, that’s my opinion and have heard a lot of people praise that same scene for being realistic and emphasizing Clem’s desire and will to survive.
Not Stand Alone: A decent amount of this game requires an understanding of what happened in Season One of Walking Dead. This isn’t exactly a bad thing, mind you. A sequel to a video game should make references to the original game. But if you consider this game independent of Season One, it doesn’t have the same amount of depth.
The Honest Truth
I knew it would be a great game when I got it. Hell, I knew it was going to be a great game, period. How could it not? And it did not disappoint in the slightest. Right from the shocking death of Omar all the way to Clementine showing she’s far more of a bad ass survivor than plenty of adults, this episode lives up to all the expectations that I had for it. I knew life was going to be a struggle for her, but I had no way of knowing it would be that much of a struggle. Everything was so difficult for the poor girl. But she would not crack. She kept fighting.
As a set up episode, it did wonderfully. It positioned Clementine as the protagonist who could survive.
If you never played Season One of Walking Dead, I doubt you would feel the impact of Omid’s death or Christa’s brutal disappearance. I’m not sure you would really feel the same type of shock or tension as Clem struggled more and more. I doubt you would really understand why Clem held onto her hat so fiercely, even with a gun pointed at her head. You really need to play Season One if you have any interest in this game.
But if you played it, this is a must-have game!
Let’s face it, if you played the first game… I’m sure you wanted to see if Clem would still be alive for Season Two. And when you learned she was, I’m betting you couldn’t wait to buy the game. I know I couldn’t.