WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SEASON ONE SPOILERS!
With the previous season of The Walking Dead videogame achieving unanimous praise and winning countless ‘Game Of The Year’ awards, it was evident that Telltale Games had struck gold with their latest franchise. With critics and gamers alike loving the sheer quality and intelligence of the emotional storytelling, The Walking Dead: Season One delivers one of the most memorable videogame experiences in history. After concluding on one of the saddest scenes in gaming, and after bringing many grown-men to tears, Telltale Games were always going to have a tough time not only continuing this franchise, but retaining the quality at such a high calibre. It is fortunate then that the developers have most certainly accomplished this, building off their previous efforts to create an outstanding beginning to yet another chapter in The Walking Dead storyline.
Starting off a few months after the devastating events of Season One, the player takes control of Clementine as she struggles to survive alongside Christa and Omid (survivors from the first season). After the demise of Lee, the protagonist from the first season, Clem has now matured and continued learning how to fend for herself. Clementine is very much the star of this season, and there is already a massive difference to be seen in her character from before. It is evident to the player where she acts similar to how Lee would and adopt this adult mentality, and it’s this added depth to her character that makes her such a joy to play as. There is plenty more to Clem’s character, and it’s going to be very interesting to see how she develops into this self-sustainable being.
In terms of raw emotional storytelling, episode one starts off with an unexpected shock and continues to supply plenty of interesting scenarios that are guaranteed to have you hooked throughout the entire 2 hour length. While the overall episode may seem a little slow-paced, it is still a joy to play and it can be forgiven because it’s the first episode. Some moments here are incredibly tense, some heart-breaking, and one particular moment that I’m unwilling to spoil is extremely difficult to play through and physically repulsed me. It’s times like that which reaffirm how powerful this series is in getting a deep reaction from the player, and it’s certainly a credit to the talents of the writing team who allow you to invest so much into the characters.
As you come to expect from The Walking Dead, your player actions, choices and decisions all influence how the story will play out. While some situations become seemingly obvious where they can change, the game tries hard to not give too much away, instead encouraging multiple playthroughs to see how much you can alter the storyline. When making decisions and carrying out certain actions players can often predict the fallout that will occur, but again, the game does well to not make these too obvious and you will find yourself making small decisions that escalade to an unforeseen bigger consequence.
Each episode in The Walking Dead franchise has been known for its cliffhanger ending, and this episode is no different, building up enough excitement for the next offering despite a questionable ending point. While the closing event was thrilling, I couldn’t help but feel as though it should have played out a little longer and let the player enjoy it all a little bit more. This would have been preferred instead of having the tension snatched away from you as the game hits the ‘To Be Continued’ screen only very shortly into the final scene.
Primarily you will spend your time conversing with a large cast of characters, and it is in the dialogue where The Walking Dead succeeds the most, delivering very powerful and convincing performances throughout. Though quite a bit of this game takes place in isolation from lots of people, even just the simple dialogue is always entertaining and you certainly won’t be inclined to skip through any it like some traditional adventure games. Clementine’s voice acting is very interesting, and being able to choose how she interacts leads to some interesting scenarios. As mentioned previously, Clementine has grown and changed significantly since the end of the last game, and this reflects a lot in her speech options making for some very interesting scenes.
The general point-and-click gameplay of this franchise returns with players moving around using the WASD keys, and the mouse being used to highlight objects in the scene and interact with them in a variety of different ways. While the ‘adventure game’ formulae of games such as Monkey Island is distinctively lacking in this game, The Walking Dead continues its trend with concentrating on interactivity rather than puzzle solving and exploration. To the games credit, this isn’t a bad thing and it streamlines gameplay nicely to allow little distraction from the story. Though this does result in little challenge, the action scenes in particular allow for mistakes at the cost of changing the events. While it is rarely possible to ‘fail’ any aspect of this game, your performance and player input is valuable and changes the outcome of the game considerably.
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Telltale Games have done it again! Season Two – Episode One is a masterful piece of interactive storytelling that takes the franchise to new heights. You won’t believe how different the game feels just through playing as Clementine, and it’s certainly a pleasure to see such a great female lead take all the limelight. Not only this, but through introducing a great new cast of characters, it all feels entirely fresh despite the very similar gameplay framework. It’s so gratifying to think as early as this that Season Two has the potential to top its predecessor, and I honestly cannot wait to see how this tale unfolds.
- Continues on from Season One brilliantly.
- Very emotional storytelling.
- Many stand-out moments that keep you hooked.
- Clementine is once again a fantastic character, but an even better protagonist.
- Interesting new cast of supporting characters.
- Rather slow-paced (but that’s not much of a problem for the first episode).
- The cliffhanger ending feels like it comes too early.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.