After a well-deserved hiatus, Telltale’s popular episodic series of ‘The Walking Dead’ is back with its highly anticipated second season. Since the ending of season one, a lot has changed for poor old Clementine and the remaining group of survivors. It’s fair to say that what follows, is full of spoilerific content, so if you’ve yet to play season one, or don’t wish to know details about season two’s first episode, exit this page now. If you want to at least get a taster for season 2, then catch the video at the top of the page as I take you through its opening moments.
Still with me? Good. Let’s get down to business….
In terms of timeline, season two picks up many months after Clem said goodbye to her good friend, and father figure, Lee. Accompanied by two remaining survivors from the original group, Omid and Christa, you now step directly into the shoes of Clementine. Your first port of call is a derelict rest stop by the side of the road, but instead of opening with a more menacing tone, the three are caught in the middle of trying to name Christa and Omid’s unborn child.
As they approach the rest rooms, ready for a quick clean up, Clem heads inside to make sure the coast is clear. If you’ve never played a Telltale game, but have played point and click adventures before, then you’ll probably fall in a little more comfortably, opposite a complete newbie. Once again, the very same mechanics for gameplay can be found within its simple UI. As you head towards objects highlighted by a small white circle, you can interact with them by moving your cursor with the right analogue stick.
As you gradually hover above the object, depending on your equipment, you’re then given the ability to interact via the action buttons. Since your cursor is in the shape of a d-pad, each arrow corresponds to your main face buttons. Therefore, an action that’s represented on the downward arrow will mean you have to press X. If it resides on the top arrow of your cursor, then you press triangle, and so forth.
Easing you in slowly, you inspect each lavatory for fear of danger that might be lurking inside, but thankfully you’re safe, for now, and you unpack your bag ready to clean yourself up. Most importantly from this first episode, you’ll no doubt notice how much Clementine has grown; as she participates in tasks you’d probably have thought her incapable of. Shortly after being refreshed, you enter a situation that strikes the tone back to reality. Unfortunately, life doesn’t get much better throughout the first episode, but through the pain and tears, comes some of the most defining moments for Clem’s character.
Saying that, there are many different decisions that you’ll have to face in the starting episode. In comparison to season one, I found the narrative in this first episode to maintain a strong hold most of the time, whilst introducing new elements of danger. I was also happy to once again see the ability to replay each scene, once an episode was completed. To me, games such as this offer a huge amount of replayability and also an insight into our own character; do you face danger head on to protect a friend? Or whimper out and take the road of safety? I bet you’ll learn a lot from the decisions you take, but don’t be scared to go back and take the most risky option; it is a game after all!
*If you were wondering whether it’s an absolute must to play the first season (and additional ‘400 Days’ episode), before season two, then I’d say in an ideal situation, yes. It’d be like picking up the second season of your favourite TV series, without ever seeing the first. With still four more episodes to go, I look forward to completing the rest of the story in 2014. In the meantime, play the first season and carry over your save file – those choices count, trust me!*
- + Clementine is back and strong as ever.
- + Many gripping moments in the first episode alone
- + A cleaner visual palette
- - A few bugs and frame rate issues interrupt the otherwise immersive experience