Welcome to “At a Glance”, a series in which I give my first impressions of a title and tell you if it’s worth a look or best forgotten. This week I got my hands on the highly anticipated sequel to the critically acclaimed The Walking Dead. Ladies, gentlemen and rotting zombies, I present to you; The Walking Dead: Season 2 Episode One, All That Remains.
Last years The Walking Dead was not only a strong return but also a massive leap for the “point ‘n’ click” genre, and left its mark on many gamers minds and hearts. It introduced interesting, deep and human characters, posed excellent points and asked some very difficult questions, from trust, friendship, morality and survival. The game took a gameplay core based on choice, similar in ways to Dragon Age and Mass Effect, blended their into a wonderful yet horrifying adventure and made something that felt entirely new. Without a doubt the biggest part of the game was the character, Clementine and her journey is exactly where we begin in Season Two.
Due to events in the first season we play as Clementine (if you haven’t played it yet then it’s integral you start at Season One) and the writers have done a good job showing this in the dialogue. Most characters treat you like a small child, a lost little girl. Straight off it does not feel like you are playing Lee at all, Clementine might be older and have been through a lot but a child stranded in the middle of an apocalypse is still as helpless or appear that way to others.
Despite this she has toughened up, is strong willed and desperate to survive, she is a much better protagonist than I expected, perhaps not as strong as Lee but this is still only Episode One.
The element of choice was a big part of Season One, and of course it returns here as well. Seeing as this is only the first episode, its tough to tell what exactly was important, but so far the choices are not that impressive. Each one seems like they could go completely different ways, but most of the time you’ll end up with the same result. Season One Episode One also had this, so it’s obvious that some things are ramping up for the rest of the season. Regarding the choices, there are points in the story in which it seems like a choice would be made, but it gives you none – if you have played it already then hopefully know what scene I am talking about, it just feels a little unfair, especially as you are blamed for it. (And I can’t help but take that personally)
The combat scenes have changed drastically due to Clementine’s age as well. Telltale has obviously learned a lot from their time from The Wolf Among us, making tense combat scenes a lot more physical. In Season One you were a full grown man, so the change to a small child needed to be very different and fortunately it does play very different. As Clementine you must use the walkers to your advantage, ducking out of the way and never going head on into a crowd – it’s certainly an interesting new way to look at and use zombies.
Characters are an important part of any ‘point n click’ adventure and while Clementine steals the show, the side characters are not all that great. Episode One of Season One introduced us to a whole host of interesting and real people, but here, it seems like some are a little cartoon villain evil at times. While we only saw a glimpse of the new group, I am just a little worried Telltale is trying to mimic Season One.
One character in particular literally fits Kenny’s description perfectly, he comes with his own trucker cap and an anger problems, just like Kenny. While the characters of Season Two so far are a little familiar and one dimensional, they all have a lot of room to grow over the next few episodes, oh and speaking of cartoon villains, we do get the name of a possible “governor” inspired-character, Carver. I just hope that none of the group from 400 days ended up where he is.
The visuals have gotten a massive overhaul from last season, with far more advanced animation, superior quality and a surprisingly welcome addition of colour. All the characters look great and I am really loving the new style they have added. Things look different, more advanced. Some very nice lighting affects really make the game look fantastic. On the other hand the soundtrack is a little bare bones. The music is really the same mix from the last season, fitting in place and adding a good atmosphere, but no specific tracks jump out or come to mind other then ending theme “In the water” by Anadel.
In regards to save files from season one and 400 days affecting the story, really nothing so far has come up. Some returning characters do play a part, but aren’t affected by your choices. It’s early in the series so far and I am sure we will see characters from 400 days show up later down the line. Telltale also mentioned Kenny quite a lot up until the launch of the game, so keep your eyes peeled for his fabled return.
One episode in and The Walking Dead Season Two is already a worthy sequel to Season One. It takes everything we loved about the first game and leaves it in a forest crawling with walkers, with not a friends for miles. Clementine has come a long way since that fateful meeting at the treehouse and she has grown up quite a bit. I can only hope that the rest of the season fleshes out and develops her as a person, along with the side characters. I cannot wait to see how my choices develop the story and with a possible main villain on the prowl, the next episode cannot come sooner
The Walking Dead Season Two can be purchased on PS3, Xbox 360, PC and iOS
For more information head over to the official site: http://www.telltalegames.com/walkingdead/#