The Walking Dead Season 2 took a damn long time to reach its conclusion, not because of the actual story, but thanks to the delay between each episodic release. The first episode was released way back in December 2013 for PC, while the conclusion landed just earlier this week. I finished the tale last night, and I’m here to tell you if it’s a story worth living.
As is to be expected from a review of a game like this, I will try my absolute best to avoid any kind of spoilers. Be warned, I will take zero responsibility if you read this without having played Season 1, as you may unknowingly piece together some vital information that could ruin that story for you. I most certainly do not want that, so please, turn away now and come back when you are ready.
Season 2 picks up a few months after the conclusion of the first. While Clementine may have been nothing more than the NPC who needed to be looked after back then, she is more grown up now, as well as the protagonist for this season. Sure she has seen and been through a lot, but this journey will further drive her away from being a young, innocent child. She will be forced into a deeper maturity thanks to all the tough decisions and dangers that lay ahead. The world is still a hellish place thanks to the inevitable zombie apocalypse, and it will shape her in unimaginable ways.
The first episode is testament to just how quickly Clem has grown. Her situation seems to just get worse and worse, and you’re left wondering how a child her age is making it through each day. She is resourceful though, and not ready to die just yet. Clem soon finds a group to join. The problem is that they are filled with their own problems and issues, irrelevant of the looming zombie menace around each corner. The season focuses on this particular group and their journey, with Clem caught in the middle of all of it.
The situations presented play out somewhat differently to the first season thanks to the differences in main characters. Where Lee might have been a strong adult with a height advantage, Clem is young, a lot smaller, and far more fragile. Brute force isn’t her strong point, which makes surviving the world around her all that more difficult, but a little more interesting. This is not to say that she is incapable, far from it in fact. It just seems a whole lot harder to survive when you’re that small.
Decisions remain as difficult as ever. Telltale like putting together scenarios where there never does seem to be a right answer. Your decisions will shape Clem as a character. She is no longer a child, yet she needs to make calls that even the most intelligible and objective adult would struggle to make. Her maturity is distinct, as the people around her soon start asking for her advice, or relying on her to do the stuff that nobody else seems capable of doing. While she may appear to be the weakest member of the group, they most certainly would not be able to make it though each day without her.
I played the concluding episode last night, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The decisions Clem had to make previously really pale when you consider the choices in front of her this time. The ending, well, I don’t want to spoil anything. Let me just say that what I chose is still haunting me, and I have not stopped thinking about it. The big choice stared me down, offering minimal time to decide what was the best course of action. I don’t know if I chose correctly, in fact, I don’t know if it was possible to make the “better” decision.
The ending left me feeling incredibly uncomfortable. I think some people may not be happy with it, but I was. The uneasy feeling I have is simply proof that Telltale were incredibly successful in drawing me into their world, making me care so deeply for Clem and the people around her. While the story may have had some weak or slow moments at some points, I quite liked it overall. Season 1 was quite something, yet Telltale have somehow managed to make the sequel just as good, if not a tiny bit better.
With regards to gameplay, things are kind of identical to the first season. Walk there, interact with X object, apply X object to Y situation. OH NO QUICK TIME EVENT! I like it like this though. I’m here to play through a story, not micromanage some resources, shoot some stuff over and over again, or perfect my jumping from platform to platform.
One thing I really enjoy is the episodic nature of the game. While some may hate it, I liked that I had bite sized chunks to play through every now and then, with each episode being around an hour or two long. You won’t have the same problem (as all episodes are now out), yet you have the option of playing through each episode and having a break before playing the next. Honestly, I would recommend that. Don’t treat this like some show with 10 seasons that you watch over a period of a week. Take your time and enjoy each episode on its own.
The only real criticism that comes to mind is that when episode 2 came out, I lost my entire save file for some reason. This meant I had to play though episode 1 again to make sure I had the same choices. I’m not alone in this, as Zoe had the same problem and hasn’t played the game since. That was months ago, so I’m hoping a bug of that nature has since been eliminated.
While I loved season 1 of The Walking Dead, I’d dare say I enjoyed this one just the teeniest tiniest bit more. Clementine is a fascinating character, and I really enjoyed every moment of her story.