It’s understandable that people were sceptical when it was revealed that players would be taking control of Clementine in the second season of Telltale’s multi-game of the year winning The Walking Dead. As Lee, you were her protector, and it forged one of the best character relationships yet seen in a video game. After completing the first episode of season two, we can now understand why Telltale chose to put the player in the shoes of Clementine. This is no longer the young, innocent girl you once knew.
No longer being able to hide behind Lee, Clementine is at the forefront of all the difficult choices. And despite this just being the beginning, there are still plenty of hard decisions that must be made. It’s really hard to go too in depth as much like the first season the story is why you will want to experience The Walking Dead. Let’s just say the events of season one have definitely shaped Clementine into a more capable character, and she needs to be in order to survive and do what needs to be done. One scene in particular made us actually grimace before looking away from the screen. Even with the comic book aesthetic it’s a lot more brutal than your traditional ‘realistic’ games.
If you’ve played season one then you know that The Walking Dead has a distinct visual style. It’s wonderful to look at, but much like the previous season, the game engine is a little wonky in places. Playing on the PS3 version the game does have terrible framerate issues when transitioning into each scene. It ruins the flow somewhat, particularly during the big action sequences. On the plus side, we didn’t encounter any graphical issues in the few hours it took us to complete. Unlike last season where one character appeared deformed and at one point in the story all of our on screen prompts disappeared causing us to restart and lose progress. So it’s at least improving somewhat, but with the amount of talent Telltale now has (well, they should have with the amount of new licenses they’re taking on) we’d expect a little more of a technical improvement.
But with storytelling as impressive as this it’s easy to look past any technical grievances. Dialogue feels incredibly natural with, once again, some top notch voice acting from all involved. Episode one does introduce a number of new characters to the fold, some more successfully than others. If you ask us now to name all the new people then we would struggle, as only a few are given much in the way of character development. But then this is episode one. There will be plenty of time to get to know these characters, and maybe even like them, before they cruelly get snatched away in typical Walking Dead fashion.
The core gameplay remains largely unchanged from season one. You could call it an evolution of the point and click genre as controlling Clementine you’ll be finding objects in the environment to use, examining stuff and performing general QTE sections when things go badly (most of the time). The QTE’s sometimes coming out of nowhere, meaning there is no downtime in this post-apocalyptic world. While QTE’s are largely considered one of gamers least favourite gameplay aspects, in The Walking Dead they’re always used sparingly and at the right times. Unlike say Beyond: Two Souls where on-screen actions rarely relate to what you’re doing on the controller.
All That Remains is a great start to what is hopefully a fantastic new chapter in The Walking Dead saga. It’s well paced, has a number of memorable scenes and already has you making the tough choices. Let’s hope it can keep the quality this high throughout.