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Telltale’s “The Walking Dead” Season 2 Review

Warning: this reviews discusses spoilers for Season 1, which is a must-play if you haven’t done so already.

There is no real hope in the world of “The Walking Dead” and any glimmer of it is just false light; any fan of the comics or show knows this but this has not dissuaded any of the legions of fans. It wasn’t until players waded through game company Telltale’s first season of the “The Walking Dead” that fans were given the chance to interact with the world properly but no one could have expected the heartbreak that was in store for them. Season 1 was a critical and commercial success, with gaming critics nearly unanimous in naming it 2012’s “Game of the Year”, as it followed history professor Lee Everett as he struggled to care for Clementine, a young girl of only eight and the only spark of innocence seemingly left. Season 2 picks up a few months later and this time players step into Clementine’s shoes as she fights to survive without Lee and this is no easy goal when zombies are not the biggest threat.

Tough female protagonists have thankfully been on the rise lately (from Tomb Raider‘s gritty reboot to Ellie in The Last of Us) but none are tougher than Clementine as Season 2 pulls no punches on its young heroine. Being beaten, threatened, and shot at are all typical video game story beats but when used on a nine-year-old girl they will hopefully give pause to even the most hardened player. Despite its comic book art style TellTale’s “The Walking Dead” is one of the most mature stories in video games, not just because of its rotting zombies, but because of it ability to perfectly set up difficult moral decisions for the player to wrestle through. From the opening heartbreak in “All That Remains” to the agonizing conclusion in “No Going Back”, Season 2 meditates on how far can innocence go until it’s full lost as players can watch Clementine do everything from threaten a pregnant woman to stitching her own wound or r even have her shoot someone who was once considered a friend; the game also does a great job toying with the notion of what it takes to be considered a true bad guy in the world of “The Walking Dead”.

There are not may cons about Season 2 but what problems do exist are worth mentioning. The season’s story comes across as less focused and seemingly spins it wheels at times when it should be racing forward; part of this is likely due to inevitable comparisons to the first season with its perfect pacing. It can also be off-putting at times when Clementine acts in ways that are hard to believe when coming from a nine-year-old. Season 2 spans nearly 2 years and so growing up for Clementine is inevitable but the writing for her could have been tighter in places. The final gripe comes in relation to how the two seasons are connect; TellTale studio released a shortened episode entitled “400 Days” to bridge the gap between seasons. While the episode introduced several new and intriguing characters but with the exception of Bonnie they are hardly even a factor in Season 2; hopefully they will have a deeper impact in the next season. In the end though “The Walking Dead: Season 2” is still an exceptionally told story and one well-worth playing; each episode is a rather quick run through at a couple hours each. Season 2 is out now and is available for Xbox, Playstation, and PC.

 

Photo Source: Geeksofdoom.com

 

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