Now that Telltale’s The Walking Dead: Season 2 is out in its entirety, I thought it would be best to review the season as a whole rather than episode-by-episode. Season 1 was my pick for “Game of the Year” back in 2012, so Season 2 had big shoes to fill. Although the game had many tension filled scenes, it did not resonate to the degree Season 1 achieved.
Like many of Telltale’s games, The Walking Dead: Season 2 is more of an interactive story with most of the gameplay utilizing quick-time events and point-and-click interaction. Players will face many tough decisions that will mold the story according to your actions. Unfortunately these decisions rarely alter the story in any meaningful way as ultimately you are going to get to the same destinations and outcomes no matter what it chosen. I was blind to it in season 1, but became more aware of the illusion during season 2. In addition, choices from season 1 and the 400 Days DLC also didn’t have much impact on season 2. Most of the characters from 400 Days, who were advertised to effect this season, appeared merely as a cameo. Sure, Bonnie played a big part in the game, but it would have been nice to see her replaced by another of the characters from 400 Days, based on choices from the DLC. In the end, it was a bit disappointing to know most of my choices didn’t matter.
Players now control Clementine as the main character. This is a decision that is very polarizing to me, and the more I think about it, the more I realize how much it affected my enjoyment of the game. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Clementine, and she was tremendously well voiced, but a lot of her involvement in the game didn’t make sense. I found it hard to believe so many capable adults would rely on the actions, decisions, and advice of an eleven-year-old. Often times she was needlessly thrown into danger for the sake of gameplay. When controlling Lee in the first season, it made sense because he was well qualified to be the leader of the group – well at least better qualified than an eleven-year-old. There was a scene late in the game where I threw my hands up in bewilderment, when Bonnie asks Clementine to carry a 5 gallon jug of water as big as her body. Granted the game jokingly played it off as an impossible task with Mike (I know nothing about Mike by the way) bailing her out, but the point is that the game has been doing things like that the entire time.
It wasn’t until I played as Clementine that I realized why season 1 had such a strong emotional impact; it was because with Lee you can better identify with a character in his position. Who didn’t want to play the protective father figure to a naive and vulnerable Clementine in a zombie apocalypse? Season 2 struggles to find a role as engaging. There certainly were likable characters, but I didn’t care about them like I did in season 1, and that may have to do with the fact that many of the characters wanted me dead at the beginning of the game. Even the return of a familiar face, although welcomed, didn’t make me like the person any better. With that said, the characters are interesting at least, although need a bit more fleshing out, and will provide some very intense moments that will put you on the edge of your seat.
Animated with cell-shading to look like a comic book, scenes are presented extremely well to enhance the mood. However there is some choppiness between scene transitions.
Voice acting is all outstanding, and one of the highlights of the game. Each of the five episodes has a different song during the end credits which are quite good.
Comparing season 1 with season 2 is unavoidable, and if you had to ask which game is better, my answer would be season 1. Season 2 is still worth playing, but you may not feel as emotionally attached to it. A more mature Clementine is performed very well, but scenarios she is needlessly thrown into sometimes disengaged me from the story. Although it certainly made for a more interesting game, it might have been better to play as a different character.
Style – Single-player, Graphic Adventure
Publisher – Telltale Games
Developer – Telltale Games
Release – October 2014 (Retail version)
- 3.0 – Gameplay
- 4.0 – Graphics
- 5.0 – Sound
- 3.5 – Entertainment
- 3.5 – Replay Value
Although not as engaging as season 1, season 2 has plenty of moments that will put you on the edge of your seat, but don’t expect the game to drastically change based on your choices.