We joked around on the podcast a few weeks back that a licensed adventure game about zombies should have never worked, but it did. Last year Telltale Games delivered one of best games I had ever played… period. Season One of the Walking Dead showered Telltale Games with a number of awards that praised its quality story telling and realistic character relationships. Finally, season two has arrived.
Season Two of the Walking Dead picks up directly after the brutal (and depressing) events of season one, and , in an early flashback sequence, reminds you of some of the difficult decisions you had to make along the way. Season two remembers what you did in season one, so make sure you have your saved game floating around on your hard drive someplace. The game also scans to see if you’ve played the 400 days DLC, so something tells me the characters found in that DLC will somehow factor into season two of TWD.
In season two you’re no longer in control of main protagonist Lee Everett (for reasons obvious to those who beat season one) and now control Clementine as she struggles to survive in a world filled with zombies and very bad people. Lee’s primary struggle, and the struggle of the group he was traveling with in season one, was to keep the kids safe while teaching them how to survive in a world gone to shit. Lee’s efforts seem to have paid off as Clementine is now an entirely capable, albeit more vulnerable, leading lady. Clementine is unlike any other lead protagonist that has existed in a video game before. You know Clementine, you care for Clementine, yet you’re also aware that she’s been through more than most of us already in her young life. She is far from a damsel.
In a brilliant move Telltale made the majority of Clementine’s puzzles very different from those of Lee Everett in season one. As a ten year old kid Clementine simply doesn’t have Lee’s raw strength to take down a walker in a single blow and instead must rely on her small stature and speed in order to survive. I was also concerned that Telltale would dial back the threat level due to the fact that players would be controlling a child, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. Clementine is brutalized in the first episode and has to do some truly awful stuff in order to survive. Some of the choices actually hurt.. Tonally, season two of TWD is a return to the quality that we’ve come to expect from Telltale Games. While Lee, Kenny, and the rest of the gang from season one are missed, controlling Clementine is surprisingly rewarding and creates tension beyond belief. Killing a walker is one thing, but killing a walker as a 75 pound 10 year old is harrowing to say the least.
As always, in the Walking Dead universe, the true enemies are the humans, not the walkers. Early in the narrative Clementine encounters a variety of unsavory characters that don’t know how to react to a ten year old on her own during the zombie apocalypse. Clementine’s age and gender factor heavily into how she’s treated by those she encounters and force the new supporting cast to question their own morality.
TWD season two will be released episodically for the next several months and we can’t wait to see what trouble Clementine gets into next. Purchase it immediately.