When it was announced that Robert Kirkland’s wildly popular graphic novel, “The Walking Dead,” was confirmed to be a multiplatform digital release, gamers took caution. It’s no secret that developers and publishers aren’t afraid to make an honest buck out of a popular license. At the time, Telltale was only known for their point-and-click adaptations of Jurassic Park and Back to the Future, and while they had their moments, they didn’t exactly portray their films with the same intensity.
Last year’s episodic release of The Walking Dead surprised a lot of people thanks to a strong narrative with an even stronger cast of characters that left their fate in the player’s hands, a well initialized gameplay idea that has earned the developer a lot of accolades after its release and the first season’s completion. Now the series is back, but like its television counterpart, it’s starting a little slow.
What Is It?
Telltale’s The Walking Dead is based on the post-epidemic world presented by both the graphic novels and television counterparts of the same name. The world was a calm place but ended up being one overstruck with the plague of zombies or “walkers.” In typical zombie fashion, get bitten, and you become a zombie. But it’s not only that. In the world of The Walking Dead, even if you just die of natural causes, you turn into a zombie.
Naturally, civilization takes on a dog-eat-dog, survival-of-the-fittest kind of turn. Season 1 put players in control of a man convicted of murder who found and took care of a little girl named Clementine while finding a group to survive with. Without giving away too much of any season’s plot, Chapter 1 of the second season gives players control of Clementine, but as players will find — it won’t be long before she succumbs to the darkness and bad things surrounding her, unless you don’t allow her to.
Why Should I Care?
Season 1 was as gripping as it was because the point-and-click action took a choose-your-own-adventure novel kind of approach. This is also what separated the game from the TV series and comic book; it gives players control. While it’s true that much of the game is linear, it really gives players the sense that everything they do matters.
Season 2 takes the same approach, but based on what the chapter throws at players so far, it’s not so much about the decisions Clementine makes. It’s more about the things that Clementine says.
This part particular issue actually left me scratching my head. Again, without trying to give that much away, there’s a scene where Clementine is locked in a shed because a group believes that she was bitten. By leaving her there overnight, they’d know if she was bit, based on whether or not she shows symptoms of turning into a “walker.” But instead of dealing with it and waiting, the game makes you try to escape.
It’s already made Clementine out to become somebody people can’t trust.
Like the first chapter of the previous season, the game and narrative is about as linear as it gets, but the choices in dialog look like they’ll really affect the game later.
Clementine was made out to be a harmless and sweet little girl in Season 1, but from the looks of things, it looks like players will have the misfortune of turning Clementine into a heartless…, well we’ll leave that up to you. For me in particular, let’s just say I have a lot of dirt in my pocket, and I’m not afraid to let Clementine write some blackmail.
Gameplay-wise, on both console versions of the game, not much has changed. If anything, the quicktime events have more variety, but that’s about it. There’s a scene in the game where Clementine has to suture her own wound, and every stick of the needle will make you cringe.
What Makes It Worth My Time And Money?
For those who care about The Walking Dead‘s story, yes, we already know you’ll be buying the game regardless of what I say. But if there’s anything you have to know before closing the window, it’s the fact that this chapter is pretty slow. It’s engaging, and it’s a tad lengthy at roughly three hours, but not much happens. Then again, it’s worth nothing that there aren’t a lot of “decisions” to be made that’ll make or break the game later as this is more of an introduction to a new group Clementine will try to survive with.
If you haven’t played any of The Walking Dead, this isn’t the place to start. By all means, pick up a copy of the Season 1 pack and get acquainted with the story, because it’s the only way to truly understand what the main character is going through.
The chapter itself may not be worth the full price of admission, but if you can’t wait, then by all means go ahead. You won’t be disappointed, but you’ll probably just have an empty feeling inside that only games like these can leave players with.