Love it or hate it, Telltale Games’ approach to interactive story-telling combined with choose your own adventure decision making is here to stay. Some may argue that it isn’t compelling gameplay, yet popular demand and appreciation seems to prove otherwise. I fully enjoyed The Walking Dead Season One, and so far it seems that Season Two will be equally addictive and compelling. I’m avoiding any spoilers for Season One and Two for those who haven’t played it, so if you still need to play the game (and really, you should) you can carry on reading without “the fear”.
Fans of Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead have been waiting for the next installment in the story. The ending of the first game was emotionally compelling, and also felt very complete. Sure, we want to know what happens, but I’m sure many were worried that a second season would feel like a rehash, or further attempt to pull on our emotions. Season two takes a different approach, and based on the first episode will be more action-packed and survival oriented.
First things first, the gameplay has been streamlined. Like in The Wolf Among Us, The Walking Dead Season TWo does away with using the number keys to select dialogue options. Instead, the mouse is used for dialogue and interacting with items, allowing your left hand to be fully dedicated to WASD and the occasional Q bashing when necessary. Other than that, the gameplay is fairly consistent with the previous season: the focus of gameplay is on the emotional experience as you make a range of choices. Happily, the decisions you make matter – even those from Season One carry over to the new game.
Picking up the story after the end of Season One, Clementine is 400 days older and wiser, although still strangely naive at times. The first episode shows her as she becomes separated from Christa, and encounters a new group. As expected in the Walking Dead universe, the group is comprised of some strange and suspicious characters. It’s unclear if Clem will be safer with them, or on her own. That said, we are shown with gruesome detail just how tough she’s become when she sutures her own open wound in their tool shed.
At its core, The Walking Dead Season Two is still about relationships. Who will you choose to communicate with, and in what way? Which people will you befriend or alienate? These decisions have far reaching repercussions – choices that I made at the beginning of Season One are still showing through in Season Two.
Aesthetically, Season Two follows the same design as Season One. The artistic style is essentially the same, and the soundtrack continues to provide just the right amount of ambiance without overpowering the situation. The voice actors are excellent and the game feels very polished.
The problem with an episodic game is that it leaves you wanting more. The first episode was a similar length as episodes in other Telltale games – about two hours. There are still four more episodes to be released over the course of the year, rounding out to a respectable 10 hours of gaming. However, it can be very hard to wait, especially when we’re all used to binge gameplay. Episode one is available now as part of the Season Pass on Steam for PC and Mac for $25. Or, you could just wait and pick it up during the next Steam sale, when more episodes will have been released.
Last Updated: January 7, 2014