Episode 3 of The Walking Dead – Season 2 was easily one of the most entertaining and intense episodes in Telltale’s critically acclaimed point-and-click series. Unfortunately, because of that, the latest episode makes for a tough comparison.
What Is It?
Without giving away any major details, Amid the Ruins picks up immediately where In Harm’s Way left off giving the player literally no time to breathe when beginning the episode. In the previous episode, players were given a choice to react in an instance during an attempt to sneak away from a large zombie horde and in a sort of expected turn, the choice never actually mattered.
It’s no secret that the entire story is scripted. Yes, your decisions can matter, but that won’t always be the case. Sometimes no matter what decision you make, it’ll end in the same result. Up until now, Telltale has done a fantastic job giving players the illusion that they do indeed have control of where the story can go, but I felt like this episode robbed players of whatever power they thought they had.
Why Should I Care?
Clementine has seen her fair share of loss, some hitting harder than others, and in this episode, she experiences more loss than ever. But because she’s with a new group that has gone through more changes than the original one we saw fall apart in Season 1, it’s hard to really care. Quite a few of the characters Clementine has met over the course of the last three episodes have lost all sorts of relevance, and that makes it hard to really see where the series is actually going.
One sequence of the game features Clementine helping Mike and Bonnie, new group members gathered from the last episode (with Bonnie coming from 400 Days), scavenge from a civil war museum. Clementine then comes across huge jugs of water behind a locked door, then Bonnie asks if Clementine can crawl through to grab them. Tired of always doing that kind of work, I ask if Bonnie can just reach through the window to unlock it, only to have her attacked by walker. I knew that was a possibility, and as somebody that didn’t really care for Bonnie, I did it anyway. Nothing really happened, and that’s just been the motto of this episode’s story. There was even a meaningless sequence of Clementine chasing a raccoon that seemed like it was just there for a forced laugh.
The first episode introduced players to Luke, a young level-headed leader that Clementine could call a friend. But when things started happening to the group, his importance started to fade. Now he’s sort of become as immature as his brother.
The last episode showed us Jane, a self-thriving strong-minded individual who’s pretty much now the Michonne (of The Walking Dead television series) of the group. We didn’t know much about her, other than the fact that she uses walker innards as camouflage when walking through hoards.
We see Clementine start to establish a connection to her, one that’s sort of sister-like. She teaches Clementine various techniques for taking out walkers that players can begin to spam throughout the episode. Call it what you want, but there’s a sense of bonding here that really hasn’t been shown since Lee was still alive.
The problem is the group doesn’t trust her, and you as the player should also question as to whether Clementine should trust her too. But does all that really matter? Everybody left in the group is broken, and the people interacting with Clementine the most are people that the player might not even care about. Rebecca, for example. She’s been questionable since first meeting Clementine, and now she’s buddy-buddy with her? The connection doesn’t make a lot of sense.
This is where the episode really suffers. There’s more death than I can remember in this episode, but I really didn’t care about any of the people that died. And even if I did, they all were going to die anyway. There’s no saving everyone. Call that a spoiler, but I call that legitimate criticism that players definitely need to know about.
What Makes It Worth My Time And Money?
Despite the lack of power you thought you or Clementine might’ve had, there’s still a lot to enjoy in this episode. As stated, there’s quite a bit of action from the get-go, and while the plot by all means is trying to tell a serious story, there’s still some fun to be had. The raccoon instance, for example.
Maybe it was just unfortunate that this episode had to follow what was probably the best one in the series, but with all the uncontrollable deaths and the presence of a new enemy, there’s no telling where the story will go or if it even will give us a good cliffhanger or ending–which the next episode is slated to be.
It’s just frustrating knowing that we spent three episodes making Clementine age well beyond her years, only for her actions to mean next to nothing in this one. We’ll just have to see what Telltale does.
Reviews of previous episodes in The Walking Dead – Season 2:
*400 Days is an add-on to Season 1 with variables that carry over to Season 2.