Review: Walking Dead 2


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You're a little girl, and zombies and crazy people want to kill you.

The complete second season of Telltale's The Walking Dead game series has just been released at retail this past week, after being teased in five episodes over the past few months.

To distinguish itself from both the comic and TV show of the same name, Telltale's game series focuses on a unique cast of characters that have attracted their own dedicated fans. I say characters instead of plot or setting, because both are exactly the same: exploring human nature during a zombie apocalypse.

Of these new characters, players of the first season had their hearts melt for Clementine, a young girl protected by protagonist Lee. As Lee, the player navigated through the story's moody locales and made moral decisions along the way. The Walking Dead was Telltale's first game using a moral choice system; whatever choice you make in a tense moment will not only affect you but also the fate of characters around you, and who can determine if they even trust you in certain situations.

Players' decisions in Season One continue to affect the events of Season Two, in addition to incorporating players' decisions from the "400 Days" episode released between the seasons that served to bridge the gap between them.

Players now take the role of a slightly older Clementine, who continues her journey with other survivors to find safety and peace in the harsh new world order.

Like all of Telltale's games, this one plays like a classic point-and-click adventure in which the player moves Clementine and a cursor to examine parts of the environment. To make this system faster paced, Telltale placed time limits on player responses in exchanges of dialogue and action sequences. 

Decisions have to be made quickly, or the game will make your choices for you.

My one problem with the second season is that Clementine is too often used to manipulate the player into hating random people who could pose a threat to her. In the first episode alone, there are two characters who mistreat her, and this is supposed to evoke "who would dare treat a little girl like this?" from the audience. It's an easy excuse to portray how low humanity would supposedly stoop in this kind of scenario.

The Walking Dead's plot across all media seems to break down in the same fashion: Nice people die while opportunistic sociopaths thrive. This gives the story an easy excuse to introduce a crazy cult or murderous psychopath into the mix every so often because those kinds of people are tenacious enough to survive over rational folk, apparently. Naturally, our heroes need something other than zombies to keep things interesting.

Beyond that repetitive formula, the story is told with a surprising amount of emotional weight, and unlike many mainstream games today, it takes the risk of slowing down to have some thoughtful, quiet moments.

If you're a fan of the show or enjoy less action-oriented games, both seasons of Telltale's The Walking Dead will not disappoint you.

The Walking Dead Season 2 is now available in full at retail for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and PC at $29.99.

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