In a time when zombies are largely considered “overdone,” The Walking Dead comic book, TV series, and video game are still managing to keep the premise interesting to me. With the exception of Survival Instinct; no one needed Survival Instinct. I’ve been looking forward to Season Two of Telltale’s The Walking Dead for months now, but I still couldn’t help but wonder if it would deliver.
As you may know if you’ve played the events of Season One, you won’t be playing as Lee anymore. Instead, you’re stepping into the shoes of Clementine this time around. Although the controls are very similar to the previous season, there are a few differences that need to be addressed.
First off, the “hover radius” is a lot clearer. Now we get a circle marking exactly how close you have to be to something in order to select it. It might not sound like a major difference but it’s quite a nice edition that prevents a lot of re-attempting events. Unfortunately, in the process of making things easier, they axed using the D-pad as an alternative to selecting or making choices. Again, I know it doesn’t sound like much, but it can get very annoying, especially when they previously had a system that allowed me to aim with one thumb and select with the other. Now it’s all on righty to do both.
The Walking Dead Season Two: All That Remains (PC [Reviewed], iPad, iPhone, Mac, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360)
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Release: December 18, 2013 (PC, Xbox 360) / December 19, 2013 (PS3) / TBA (iOS, Vita)
MSRP: $4.99 (Each Episode), $24.99 (Season Pass)
As for story, things pick up after you’ve been found by the two familiar figures in the post credit scene of No Time Left, Omid and Christa. Not to flat-out spoil it, but you don’t spend too long with them before you get separated and found by a new group of survivors. The exposition is very well paced; they give you a lot of information about the new survivors in natural drips and drabs. The new characters are introduced and fleshed out in a way that doesn’t cause the story to stop dead in its tracks while you find out facts and figures about them.
The new group seems very divided over how they feel about you; some like you, some hate your breathing guts, and not many fall in the middle. Those are pretty straight forward character dynamics in order for drama to exist you need conflict, though. What I was more impressed by was the fact that, with the exception of one or two characters, no body cares that you are a little girl. When they find you with an injury that looks like a walker bite, you aren’t an innocent child, you are seen as a liability and you are not going to have your wound treated because it could be a waste of medical supplies. It’s not pretty, but it’s realistic given the environment and kudos to Telltale for doing it right.
Aside from dealing with walkers, you also do a lot of sneaking around, looking for medical supplies. Your time spent exploring “the house” is very accommodating. You can listen in on another’s conversation about what they should do with you, you can manipulate the more sympathetic members to help you, or you can just look for everything by yourself. The way you do things is going to affect your relationship with some of them, so it’s not just a false sense of control over the story, what you do in this section matters.
Although the new controls take some getting used to, the story is in top form. The controls just need to be refined to become non-intrusive enough to avoid sucking you out of the immersive storyline. Although it can be annoying to have to readjust your grip on the game pad, it wasn’t too bad. Here’s hoping episode two, A House Divided, will unfix the unbroken D-pad and keeps TellTale’s engrossing storytelling momentum going. I’m happy to say that All That Remains has met those high expectations of mine.