The Walking Dead Season Two continues the story of Clementine, a girl trying to survive the zombie-apocalyptic. Gone are the characters from the first game, who either died or sodded off in the closing chapter, right when I needed them the most. However in the first episode of season two I was introduced to a new group, all of whom seem to have their own problems, dramas and hang ups, all of which will make life interesting down the road, I’m sure.
The graphics were lovely and held up really well, despite the game being almost two years old. The stylised approach certainly helped to capture Charlie Adlard’s style from the comic and I confess I’ve always been a bit of a sucker for cell shaded graphics – many screen shots were added to my wallpaper folder.
The game play in this first episode hit the right balance between action and exploration. While most of the latter consisted of the ‘find these five items’ quest that so many point and click games do, the wider emotional context – find these five items or Clementine will die – helped to stave off any potential feelings of ‘been there, done that’. The action was fun and often felt desperate. Hammering on the ‘q’ button was often used to escape the grasp of an enemy and clicking the mouse was used to swing a hammer or branch at a zombie to finish them off, which was a lot of fun to watch.
However, I did have a problem with this episode – I felt like I was being emotionally manipulated by it. Other point and click games I’ve played more recently, such as Season One or Life Is Strange, did not throw the characters into the deep end right away. Life is Strange didn’t have Kate Marsh try to kill herself in the first half hour of the game, they built up to the event over the course of two episodes. The first episode of Season Two felt like I was being barraged with sequences designed to get a reaction out of me. I can forgive the opening sequence, because its purpose is to remind the player of the kind of world they are in. But the sequence in which Clementine played fetch with a dog only for it to then go rabid and try to kill her felt like a very deliberate attempt to get a reaction from me, rather than an event that flowed as part of the narrative.
This was a problem throughout, it didn’t feel like a flowing narrative but a series of events: here’s the bit where you have to decide whether to leave the now injured dog or to kill it and put it out of its misery. Now you have to stitch up a wound without any anaesthetic. Yes, they did get reactions out of me, but unlike Life Is Strange, in which the events played in my mind for hours, or even days, afterwards, this just left me feeling a bit cold. And with events this heavy so early on, I wonder where the season as a whole can go from here.
Unfortunately a few people have told me that where it goes from here is into silliness. Still, I thought that overall, episode one an enjoyable evenings entertainment, so for now I look forward to continuing on with the game.
Next Episode: Episode Two