Telltale’s The Walking Dead: Season 2 Review

When I played Season 1 of Telltale’s unique storytelling game set in the world of The Walking Dead, I absolutely loved it – it was my game of the year of 2014.

Will season 2 of this series be able to retain everything which made the first so great? Or will it fail?

Game: Telltale’s The Walking Dead: Season 2

Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360, PS4, Xbox One, iOS, Android, PS Vita (Reviewed)

Price: $25 for the full season ($5 per episode)

For those of you that have never played, read, or watched anything to do with The Walking Dead, it’s essentially a zombie apocalypse story that focuses on the survivors and their problems in a world where everything is scarce.

Following on from the events in the first game, you control Clementine, a nine year old girl. The opening starts only a couple of months after the ending of the first game, but before long the game skips eighteen months. This is done, partially, to allow Clementine to develop into her own character. In Season 1 she was a major secondary character, but here she is the playable character, so it’s important to distinguish her a little.

clementine

What I immediately noticed about this game is how much darker it is. This is evident not only from its high age rating, but also from the general atmosphere and artwork. While the first game did have some bright artwork, here the majority of the action is gloomy and upsetting: and sure, this is a gloomy and upsetting story, but some variation would have been nice. At the moment, there’s barely any sort of variation between episodes.

Each episode is its own story, but they all are part of a larger arc. The main story here revolves around Clementine trying to find a new group of survivors and her journey with them, which is an interesting story as she soon gets swept up into a series of events that affect her and her group.

One of the problems I had in this season is that it felt like my choices didn’t matter. Now while I don’t mind the illusion of choice, this game doesn’t allow the role-playing experience the first season had. In the first game you controlled Lee, who acted as a father figure to Clementine since the death of her own parents. Some of the best choices you made as Lee had nothing to do with the story, but how you personally chose to raise Clementine. Examples that spring to mind include punching someone a few times but not enough to seriously damage him, not stealing out of the boot of a car, and so on. These choices had little-to-no effect on the story, but it felt like I was choosing what to do in this world, which I feel is just as important as the major decisions. Here, it’s fairly obvious the major decisions don’t have a major effect (saving characters will just result in them silently in the background) but there’s so little of these minor, role-playing decisions that it doesn’t matter anyway.

3

The linear plot itself is pretty decent, featuring some returning characters from season 1 and an exhilarating final episode climax.

The artwork is quite nice, as mentioned previously it’s dark and gloomy but it suits the story. This is definitely a cinematic experience, so I would recommend playing it on a big screen. Season 1 was pretty good on the small Vita screen, but season 2 wasn’t as good on the small screen. I would recommend a console purchase for the full experience.

The sound was decent, the highlight of course being the songs that play during the credits of each episode. There’s nothing really special about the in-episode sound though, but given this is a dialogue-heavy game I don’t expect much from the music anyway.

2

The biggest failure of this game was its lack of optimisation. It was occasionally slow and had some bugs; for instance at one point the dialogue for a scene played while the scene was still loading and then I had to watch the scene in silence. Episode 3 also crashed to the home screen at one point, which was a little upsetting but fortunately I was able to load from the most recent scene. I can’t comment on the other platforms, but I would recommend avoiding the PS Vita version, as it is, out of the platforms I’ve played Telltale games on, the least optimised.

So let’s some up what we have here: a good plot, decent storytelling, good gameplay, and good graphics. What we have here is a good game, but unfortunately one that just falls shy of the great and amazing games I am used to from Telltale. I give The Walking Dead: Season 2 a 3.5/5 objectively and a 3.5/5 subjectively.

Positives

+ Good Plot

+ Good Graphics

7/10

Negatives

– Decisions not as good as expected from Telltale

– Bugs and other optimisation issues

 

Game of the Year 2014

Game of the Year is a prestigious title awarded to the best console or PC game that I’ve played this year. And this year, the Game of the Year is…

The Walking Dead Season 1!

Even though I played it on the Vita, because this game is just so cinematic it is played best on the big screen.

The game had me questioning the choices I was making in it, which very few games have done. It has a fantastic storyline, and although it doesn’t have many difficult puzzles, it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had playing a game.

Congratulations to Telltale for making such a fantastic game.

The Zombies are here! – The Walking Dead Season One + 400 Days DLC Review

There aren’t many games that challenge one’s morals, ideals, and choices, but The Walking Dead is one of them, and it does it really well as well.

Name: The Walking Dead Season One (with the 400 Days DLC)

Developer: Telltale Games

Available On: PS3, Xbox 360, PS4, Xbox One, PC, PS Vita

Reviewed On: PS Vita

The Walking Dead is based on the graphic novels of the same name, just like the TV show, but all 3 are independent of each other: you don’t need to watch the TV show to play the game, and you don’t need to have read the graphic novels either.

The game centers around Lee, a criminal who is being transported to prison when suddenly the police car crashes into a zombie. Climbing out of the wreckage, Lee climbs up to a residential area where he finds a little girl, Clementine, who’s mother and father are away, and she’s being looked after by her aunt (who is now a zombie). Lee adopts the girl, and together they head out into the world.

The Walking Dead is a story-driven game – there’s not much action or puzzle solving, and mot of it is choosing dialogue options to proceed the story – but this in turn makes the game a lot more emotional and personalised for the player, and makes you feel as though you are Lee.

Throughout each of the game’s 5 episodes, Lee has to deal with his band of survivors, who to trust, who not to, which city to go to next – it’s hard to describe the story, because if I tell you what happens in each episode, it’ll spoil it. Just know that the game is well worth picking up because of the story, partly because it becomes so personalised. This personalisation causes the game to have a profound impact on the player: making the decision to end a life, or choose one person to live over another, or when a character that doesn’t like you very much sacrifices themselves or you…it all becomes very emotional, and it’s such a great experience. But it’s not just these choices you – or Lee – have to make; you also have to worry about Clementine, and whether you want your ‘adopted’ girl to see you kill, and it really sticks with you days after you play. It’s fantastic story-telling, and it’s certainly the best storyline I’ve seen in a long time.

The art of the game is simply stunning as well – it’s cel-shaded, and looks like a moving comic book or graphic novel – as if you could actually be playing the novels the game is based on.

What also helps this game is the dialogue – each dialogue option (of which there are usually 4) has voice acting from Lee, and every piece of dialogue in the game is wonderfully voice-acted: Clementine sounds like a scared little girl, Lee sounds like a tough guy, it’s just really well-done.

Each episode of the game is basically choosing dialogue options, intertwined with a few pieces of puzzling and a few bits of shooting here-and-there; but this game is for those who want a great story, not those who want an action game.

I did particularly like the TV-episode layout: each episode starts off with a last-time segment (except for episode one) and finishes with a trailer for the next episode (except episode 5, the last episode). There’s also credits, and I liked the statistics on how many takeaway dinners the team had, which was pretty funny.

Each episode lasts for about 2 hours, maybe slightly more or less depending on if there’s a large puzzle you can’t figure out (in my case, this was in episode 3, and I had no clue what I was doing, so I spent a half hour trying to figure it out, but this was the only instance of that happening). The exception to this is the 400 Days DLC.

400 Days has nothing to do with the main game, and instead is a pretty obvious introduction to some characters that are going to appear in Season 2. I wouldn’t have a problem with this, except that it is presented so poorly.

All the DLC is is sequentially playing through five new character’s storylines. Again, not a problem, except most of these DLC stories are bland and boring.

They simply have you work through a series of dialogue options, but then give you a major choice which is obviously only for the storyline of Season 2. In the main game at least everything you chose affected how characters thought of you, in the 400 Days DLC it seems that the only choice that matters is at the end of each new storyline (which take around 30 mins to an hour to complete).

The 400 Days DLC is included in some versions of the game (such as the Vita, PS4, and Xbox One versions), but it is not worth getting otherwise unless you really feel the need to personalise Season 2’s storyline (as there will no doubt be some default installed).

Unfortunately, overall the game has just one flaw: frame rate. The frame rate slows often on the Vita, not enough to ruin the experience (it’s good enough to play, it just looks jerky in some instances). Occassionally, the game wouldn’t register my taps on the touch screen, but this isn’t likely to be a problem. If you are looking to purchase The Walking Dead Season One, I would reccomend reading up on how good the frame rate is on your chosen console and see whether that effects your decision. The game is certainly playable, and works near-perfectly, but it might be off-putting to some who would enjoy and otherwise cinematic experience.

Positive

– Great Graphics

– Great Sound

– Absoultely Fantastic Storyline

9.5/10

 

2014.fw

Negative

400 Days DLC Doesn’t Add Much

– Some Framerate Issues

Gamesland News: For the last two weeks

The latest news from the gaming world, all in one, easy-to-read post.

News

– If you don’t feel like spending money on superheros in Disney Infinity‘s 2.0 playset (starring superheroes), Disney has announced a separate version which will feature Stitch (Lilo and Stitch) and Merida (Pixar’s Brave), although they will not feature in a playset – this version will only come with toybox access.

– The Best Game award at Gamescom this year went to Evolve.

– The Pokémon World Championships were held last week, with the winner, Sejun Park, using a Pachirisu, a pokémon not known for its use in the competitive field.

– Payday 2 developer, Overkill software, have announced that they’re working on a new, co-op, Walking Dead game.

– DayZ is officially coming to the PS4

– Some new themed Monopoly boards have been announced: A Legend of Zelda one as well as a Kanto-themed Pokémon board.

– And finally, after the sad news that Robin Williams, actor for many famous films, died, many fans insisted that the avid gamer be remembered through sprites in some of his favourite games, World of Warcraft and The Legend of Zelda. Recently, sprites were found in World of Warcraft under the name “Robin the Entertainer”, and Nintendo responded to the petition about putting Williams in the newest Zelda (Robin Williams was also the man who named his daughter Zelda). While Williams may not see his tribute in these games (should they be implemented), at least he would live on in the universes that he loved.

Questions? Queries? Feedback?

Leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them.

That’s all the news for now, but come back next Friday (29/08/14) for more news from the Land of Gaming.

Gamesland News

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News
– The PlayStation 4 has outsold the Xbox One again in March, according to numbers released by the NPD. I’m not even surprised anymore; it’s clear that the PS4 is the more popular console by the public, but the numebrs should even out eventually.
The Amazing Spiderman 2 game (published by Activision) has been ‘delayed indefinitely’ on the Xbox One, but will continue to launch on all current-gen consoles and the PS4 and Wii U as planned.
The Walking Dead Season 2 will be coming to the PlayStation Vita on April 22.
– It has been revealed that Nintendo was offered a partnership by the now-developers of Skylanders to have a game with similar features – that is a portal, but instead of the Spyro franchise it would feature Nintendo Characters – but Nintendo refused.
– Sony is looking into a The Last of Us upgrade from the PS3 version. What this means is that existing owners of the game on PS3 would be able to upgrade to the PS4 game at a cheaper price, similar to the offers on some last-gen and current-gen games.
Minecraft retail versions have been confirmed for the PS3, which is launching on the 16 May, while PS4 and PS Vita release dates have not been confirmed. Cross-Buy for these games would be great, but is unconfirmed (and unlikely).

That’s all the news for this week, but tune in next Friday (25.04.14) for more news from the Land of Gaming!