Telltale’s The Walking Dead: Season One was one of the biggest surprises of 2012. Not only was it a good game based off a license, it had one of the best stories in recent years with characters that were relatable and likable. It made you invested with the characters till the very end. This means that the game’s sequel, The Walking Dead: Season Two had some pretty big shoes to fill. So, how does this season live up to the first season? In some respects, it is does what a sequel should do, and improves and progresses the story. On the other hand, it does have a lot more issues than the first game ever did. It doesn’t make it a bad game, but I should just start the review before people who love the second season get on my case and wait at my doorstep with torches and pitch forks.
The story this time revolves around Clementine, voiced again by Melissa Hutchison, after the events of The Walking Dead: Season One. She is now traveling with Omid and a now-pregnant Christa. After an unfortunate incident, resulting in Omid’s death, Clementine and Christa are now the only ones left. As if the bad news for the two of them couldn’t get any worse, Clementine and Christa get separated after a bandit ambush, and now, Clementine is on her own. Eventually, she does meet up with another group of survivors who are all in a log cabin. Can Clementine gain their trust? What other dangers will this season unfold? You will have to play through the story to find out. I know a lot of people have probably played through it by now, but for the few that are waiting to buy the entire series as a whole, I won’t spoil it here. I will say this about Season Two; it has some really strong moments between the characters that you meet throughout the game. Clementine is, of course, fantastic. Her development and growth throughout the story is executed at a rather nice pace, with only at least one blunder at the halfway point of the season. However, I do have my problems with this season that were not in the first season, and let me tell you, these are some big blunders. Like I said though, I will save them for the complaint section of this review.
If you haven’t figured out by now, The Walking Dead: Season Two is a narrative-driven adventure game. You will control Clementine as you traverse your way through five different episodes. The main goal is to collect items, talk with the different characters, get out of danger, and enjoy the best part of most Telltale-made adventure games, the story. It’s honestly not too different from the first game. The game is a little more action-oriented, with more moments where I am running away from danger or shooting a gun at walkers. The overall game is about 10 hours or so long to complete all of the chapters. Like with most games made by Telltale Games, you have multiple choices to make with multiple outcomes.
The game’s art style that is based off of the comic books looks great as usual. It doesn’t have a lot of those weird animation goofs that the first game had, which means that you won’t see eyes bulging out or goofy-looking facial expressions. Unfortunately, there are still some of the same technical hiccups, like slowdown, which is still a little annoying to see since this is a common complaint for a lot of games from Telltale Games. The voice actors do a wonderful job bringing the characters to life, and make some of them feel real. The music is somber and atmospheric. Even if something good happens in the game, the music will remind you that that one good moment will leave you, and you will be right back in the hellhole you were in.
So, what is wrong with this game? Just a warning, this will be spoiler-filled, so don’t read the rest of this part of the review if you do not want to see what I have to say. I think while the story does have a lot of fantastic elements and moments like in Episode Five around the campfire, it doesn’t hold up if you play through the entire game and experience the story as a whole. I think it starts to fall apart around the third chapter, where you are taken to the place that the antagonist Carver runs. While Michael Madson, Carver’s voice actor, does a fine job with playing Carver, the character itself is not that interesting. Carver is rather generic, and becomes even more of a cliché near the end of the chapter. The story then goes through some moments where it feels like no matter what you choose, the person you try to save or help will end up dead. This happens four times in the story with the characters Luke, Reggie, Rebecca, and Sarah. It seems like no matter what I chose, they ended up dying. What is the point of giving me a choice in the story if neither choice will have a different result? Once I got to the final chapter, the story hits another questionable moment, where Jane hides AJ, the little baby boy that Rebecca gave birth to, to prove a point. It makes no sense, and it just ends up making Jane an even less likable character, due to her constant talking of how she lost her sister in the fourth chapter. Seriously, you would put a baby’s life at risk so you can manipulate Clementine to prove a point in your little self-righteous world where you are the one who knows all? Well, screw you, Jane! While this game offers you multiple endings, none of them feel fully satisfying. For example, if Kenny ends up killing Jane, Clementine, Kenny, and AJ will end up reaching the outpost that they were looking for, but sadly find out that the place they were searching for this entire journey won’t let them in. It seems like Telltale Games ran out of time working on this project due to the fact that they needed to work on Tales from the Borderlands and Game of Thrones, which results in them having to put multiple endings that don’t give you that feeling of satisfaction playing through the game. Granted, I did almost cry during one of the endings, but it seems like they only made that ending with Clementine, AJ, and Kenny happen for plot convenience. It’s like they only cared about setting up a dramatic climax without putting any logic behind it. The story also hits a few predictable parts, where you can see the outcome coming from two feet in front of you. A good example of this is when you are all crossing a frozen river, and one of the characters who has a busted leg stands on thin ice that is breaking. Gee, I think I could have saved that character if they had given me the choice to look for an alternate path to the location across the frozen river instead of going through a moral choice that didn’t matter!
I feel like Telltale Games is smarter than this, but I guess I should slightly lower my expectations for future projects. I don’t want to do such a thing, but if this ending was all that was wrong with season two, I would be done with this section, but I am not even done yet. You know that 400 Days DLC? Well, if you were hoping that the characters in that DLC would play a huge part in the main story of this season, they don’t! Besides Bonnie, none of the other characters you played as during that DLC episode make any lick of difference in the overall story! The only difference is that if some of them didn’t go with Tavia at the end of the DLC, they wouldn’t appear in the main story. What the heck was the point of this DLC if it added so little to the story in Season Two? It ends up with even more questions unanswered. At the end of the story, you don’t know what happens to Kenny if you don’t shoot him and stay at the huge encampment, the outcome of Bonnie, Mike, and Arvo, and the rest of the 400 Days DLC cast. This is why doing episodic gaming is a huge risk, because the story could take a hit if you don’t have the entire narrative laid out in front of you! It makes it more frustrating, because there are some good characters and moments in this game that are ruined by these gaping plot holes. I wouldn’t mind the 400 Days DLC being an issue, but they pushed the fact that it was supposed to be some incredibly important piece that ties together the first and second season. It’s like how Peter Moleyneux said that Fable II would be the greatest RPG of all time. In the end, Fable II turned out to be a major disappointment. It wouldn’t be called such an incredible waste of time if Moleyneux hadn’t said that one line about how it was going be the greatest RPG of all time. It wouldn’t have made the game any better, but at least it wouldn’t have been so built up for the consumer. I am happy that the company that is helping out Telltale Games, Skybound Entertainment did announce that there will be a third season, but I hope they will be able to focus solely on that season without working on other projects at the same time.
The Walking Dead: Season Two is still a good game. It isn’t as good as Season One, but I don’t think it’s the worst game that Telltale Games has made. Let me put it this way, this is leagues better than anything that The Walking Dead: Survival instinct could ever offer The Walking Dead fans. I would still recommend checking this game out if you loved the first season. You can get this game for your PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC, and in the future, for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Personally, if you haven’t played it, I would wait for the physical copies before you jump into this season. I loved this game series made by Telltale, but I want them to really blow me away with the third season. However, if you can look past the questionable and bad areas of the game, you will still get a good narrative experience. I just wish it could have been better.
This game gets a 7 out of 10.