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The Walking Dead: Season Two Episode One - All That Remains

Score: 80%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure

Graphics & Sound:

The Walking Dead: Season 2: Episode 1 - All That Remains returns us to Telltale's awesome interpretation of The Walking Dead. While a lot of the core game is the same, there are a few elements that don't quite match last season's game and it will be interesting to see how those play out in the rest of Season 2's episodes.

One aspect that didn't change at all was the visual and audio quality of The Walking Dead. I am always impressed with Telltale's ability to replicate the original artwork style of their licensed games, and this particular title is no different. The game really captures the visual feel of the comics and while there aren't a lot of characters seen in both the comics and the game, especially this far along, when they do make cameos, they are spot on.

Audiowise, The Walking Dead sets the mood with low background music that only seems to ramp up when you've encountered one of the heart-pumping moments when you find yourself in the middle of a horde of walkers, something that happens a couple of times in this first episode. The voice acting remains top notch as well. It sounds like the survivors from the first season reprised their roles, and Clementine's voice seems to mature just a tiny bit when the story jumps 16 months ahead. It's obvious that she isn't the same little girl that Lee found in a tree house during the previous season.


Gameplay:

The Walking Dead: Season 2: Episode 1 - All That Remains picks up right after Season 1's brutal ending. Clementine is with Omar and Christa trying to survive day-by-day, but that changes early in the episode and it isn't long before the story not only jumps ahead 16 months, but Clementine finds herself on her own. Of course, what happens and how she ends up alone is something I will leave the player to discover.

Left on her own, Clementine starts looking for a way to survive, but when she has a run-in that leaves her with a bite (though not one from a walker, thank goodness), she realizes she needs help. She runs into a pair of survivors who help save her from a band of walkers, but when they see her injury, they feel like she might be on the verge of turning.

Clementine ends up being brought to the survivors' farm, but the group can't seem to agree with what to do with her. They decide to lock her in a shed and see if she survives the night. Clementine has had to do a lot of growing up since the series began. She knows that even though she wasn't bitten by a walker, she won't make it until the morning and she has to get medical supplies somehow. The question is, if she does happen to patch herself up, what will the new group of survivors think of her when they learn she has stolen supplies from under their noses.

The gameplay style doesn't change much for Season 2. The game still has a icon-heavy interface that was pioneered by the First Season (and since used in many Telltale games), but there are a few differences, especially when Clementine finds herself running through the woods trying to dodge walkers. Of course, some of that can be excused because Clementine is not Lee, and where the older man might have stood and fought, Clementine is quick and nimble.


Difficulty:

The Walking Dead's difficulties have been two-fold in past games. There was the toughness of figuring out the puzzles the games poses to you, something that was never really a challenge to an experienced adventure gamer, but there was also the difficulty in the choices you make. Where Season One had you controlling Lee and constantly trying to decide not only what was right, but also what Clementine saw and how it affected her. Well, The Walking Dead: Season 2: Episode 1 - All That Remains seems to lose a lot of that difficulty when making your choices.

By playing as Clementine and not really worrying about what someone I'm trying to protect thinks about my actions, I found myself able to make the hard decisions easier. I simply wasn't quite as worried about what other characters thought about my actions. Sure, there are going to be consequences since I know I made a few of the new group of survivors mad at me, but I never really felt like the decisions I made were truly pivotal in the long run.

That being said, there is one other difficult part in The Walking Dead, and that comes with actually performing certain actions. I'm not saying that some actions are hard to figure out what to do or knowing the right thing to do, there are just some that are simply harder to get through. The big moment in the First Season was finally cutting Lee's arm off after he had been bitten. Not only was this an emotionally and physically hard thing to do, but the game drug the process out and you had to make a conscious effort to do each cut. It was brutal. There is a similar event in All That Remains, and while the game made it a powerful scene, it just wasn't quite on the same level as that moment last season.


Game Mechanics:

The Walking Dead's biggest mechanic last season was all about making choices that other characters would not only remember, but also react to and your choices would have consequences episodes (or apparently seasons) later. While that core feature is still intact with The Walking Dead: Season 2: Episode 1 - All That Remains, it doesn't yet feel like those choices have the staying power that they did in the First Season. Pretty much as soon as the First Season started last season, you had a fragile little girl following you around who was always there to be shaped by your choices. That simply isn't the case this time around. Not only does Clementine find herself alone not long into the episode, but even when she finally encounters other people, most of them are much older and can't really be swayed by your actions, at least not as far as how they treat you. After that, most of the choices you make are made all alone and only affect Clementine. Sure, there is a big decision at the end of the episode that leaves you choosing between the survival of one character or another (this really isn't a spoiler since anyone who's played the First Season should expect a choice like this), but that doesn't quite have the same emotional impact that the past games had.

While I feel like it is too early to truly judge how well Season 2 follows the amazing previous game, I do feel like it hasn't quite hit the ground running like Season One did. I can only hope that the future episodes will make Clementine's involvement with these new survivors mean that her choices have stronger emotional impacts than seen in All That Remains. It might be worth waiting for a couple more episodes to come out before fully committing to The Walking Dead: Season 2.


-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Minimum System Requirements:



Windows XP Service Pack 3, Core 2 Duo 2GHz or equivalent CPU, 3 GB RAM, ATI or NVidia card w/ 512 MB RAM Graphics Card, DirectX Version 9.0c, 2 GB Available Hard Drive Space, Direct X 9.0c sound device.

Additional Notes: Not recommended for Intel integrated graphics

 

Test System:



Windows 7 Ultimate, Intel i7 X980 3.33GHz, 12 GB RAM, Radeon HD 5870 Graphics Card, DirectX 9.0c

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