It doesn’t take long for Telltale Games to hit us with an emotional moment in Episode 1 of The Walking Dead: Season Two, “All That Remains.” The quality of the series continues in this newest installment, only marred sadly by the same returning technical issues that affected both The Walking Dead: Season One and the first episode of The Wolf Among Us. Technical hiccups aside, the episode delivers in spades with the series’ strong storytelling, great voice acting, and improvement in the controls (borrowed from The Wolf Among Us) that makes combat more dynamic. In short, if you enjoyed the first season, you absolutely need to play this. If you haven’t, you could start here, but you really should go back and play the preceding episodes to get the full impact of the story. You can carry your choices over from the last episode played in Season One, or choose to start fresh. Just know that again your choices will influence the game and how events play out in future episodes.
Clementine has been on her own (we do get a recap with a “Previously on The Walking Dead” segment) for a bit after leaving Lee, but as the game opens we find her in the company of Omid and Krista, the couple she first met in Episode 3 of the first season. Events occur that place Clem on her own, before being found by new characters Pete and Luke. They take her back to their group, which includes husband Alvin and pregnant wife Rebecca, medic Carlos and daughter Sarah, and Pete’s nephew Nick. Clem is distrusted at first (not going to say why here, as it’s best for you to discover on your own) but becomes accepted. She goes on a fishing trip with Pete and Nick, but things go bad, leaving us with a cliffhanger ending until Episode 2 is released.
The story is again well told, with your choices shaping it as you go along. It’s always nice to return for additional playthroughs and make different choices, just to see how differently events play out. There are some very tense attacks, by both human and zombie, and the new combat scheme works well and makes things a bit more dynamic. Occasionally there will be a lag in response time though, which can lead to certain death, and long load times until you can retry a scene can be a bit frustrating. But it’s never enough to put you off of the game, as the story and characters are so strong that they override any technical flaws. Gameplay outside of combat has remained unchanged from the previous season, as have the well done graphics. Once again the voice acting is superb and among the best found in a videogame. The whole experience will take you around 2-3 hours to complete, but with multiple choices to be made, replayability is built right in.
It’s another strong outing for Telltale Games, but one does wish they could get a handle on correcting those technical problems of lag time and frame-rate drops. The flaws don’t kill the game by any means, but they do hold the game back from being a good as it could be. The story is again the big draw, with emotional scenes that tug at our heart strings and frankly punch us in the gut. There is one sequence that may turn a stomach or two, but there are a couple of scenes that are more pleasant in nature, such as Clem playing frisbee with a dog or making a new friend. The cliffhanger ending just makes us want the next installment to arrive all that much faster. A must play for returning fans, and a great incentive for those new to the series to go back and play through Season One.
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