Last year's The Walking Dead from Telltale Games was nothing short of a gaming phenomenon. An amazing story, a stellar cast, a spotlight return of choose-your-own-path point-and-click adventure, and a faithful adaptation of Robert Kirkman's award-winning comic book series helped make it a game that appeared on many top ten lists of last year (mine included). This past summer we were treated to a sneak peek of what's to come in Season 2 with 400 Days, introducing ourselves to some of the newer characters we'll be meeting. Now the time has come to rejoin Clementine, looking worse for wear in the first episode of Season 2, entitled "All That Remains."
**WARNING: WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS**
With Lee dead, young Clementine is fending for herself in the walker-filled world she lives in. At first she is with Omid and Christa, but is early on broken from her friends when running away from frightening strangers and zombies. You'll come across a four-legged pal, only to have him start attacking when the lone piece of food is discovered in an abandoned camp site. Then it's the meeting of the new cast, building new bonds of trust, along with making new enemies under the same roof.
What Telltale Games did well the first time around was create choices and scenarios that would question even our own survival instincts. How we wanted Lee to act in a certain situation would mirror our own thought processes, whether it was as simple as taking food or the really tough choices like having to kill someone that's been bitten. And now, here we are once again, this time forcing not ourselves, but a young child to be placed in the center of it all.
I'm not gonna lie: some of the decisions you'll make as Clementine can be very unsettling, mainly because you're in control of a young kid rather than an adult. Yes, the actions that you partook as Lee in Season One weren't all that great, either, but at least they were done by someone well-rounded and with a better understanding of the world around them. While I know that Clementine is far more responsible than your average kid (given the circumstances she's in) there were times where I feared what sort of path I was pointing the young girl out towards. Pushing crazed men into lurkers, killing a dog, bashing the skull in of a zombie. All of these things made me worried about the sort of psyche that I was pushing upon Clementine.
And that's why I think Season 2 will draw in players even more-so. Imagine being a young kid out in a world of zombies, and you'd have to fend for yourself in the darkest woods and the highest of mountains. Picture being a child forced to kill in order to survive a horrifying situation such as a zombie outbreak. This is as close as we'll probably get to seeing a scenario like this being brought to life with the most realest outcomes laid out for all of us to see. (A moment involving tending to Clementine's wounds will have you cringing in pain.)
It's still great seeing The Walking Dead looking like the comics in full motion. It's what initially drew me in to the game in the first place. With that said it's sad seeing some of the same glitches appearing throughout this chapter. I get that the game has to quickly change around so as it can fit whatever situation you put yourself in, but I figured by now Telltale Games would've smoothed it out a bit more this time around.
The music and voice-acting is as strong as it was in Season 1, with Melissa Hutchison doing a stellar job with her portrayal of Clementine. A little innocence is gone from her voice, replaced with an attitude that could only be described by war-torn. Jared Emerson-Johnson's haunting score continues to act as the spine of The Walking Dead gaming series, creating both life-threatening tension when terror hits and quiet assurance during the slower moments.
You'll complete "All That Remains" in roughly 2 1/2 hours, with it ending on a nice cliffhanger and hinting at what's to come in the next chapter. Like last time you might get the urge to replay it to see what would happen if you chose a different path. With no word on when Episode Two drops, it might help bide your time if you do this.
- Still telling a great, frightening story
- Well-acted, beautiful score
- Point-and-click mechanics more well-tuned here
- Having to play the waiting game for Episode Two
- Still a bit glitchy like in last season
Episode One is a great start to the new season, with Telltale Games showing what they're capable of once more when placing their hands on a beloved franchise like The Walking Dead. Whatever they have planned next for Clementine, I honestly can't wait to see how it will unfold in the long run. Needless to say I think most of us out there would tend to agree. And now the hardest part comes: waiting for the next episode to appear...
FINAL GRADE: 8.5 (out of ten)
Xbox Live Arcade review code provided by Telltale Games and Sandbox Strategies. Originally posted on the ESH EGMNOW Page.