Telltale’s The Walking Dead Season 2 Review (Xbox 360)
Like any great TV show or episodic story-telling, playing the first season of Telltale’s The Walking Dead is an absolute must in order to get the full experience from season 2. After such high praise and critical-acclaim for the previous 6 episodes, expectations were high for the next 5 episodes. If you’re unfamiliar with the franchise or the types of games Telltale has been pumping out, The Walking Dead is a point-and-click, choice driven game. It’s more of an interactive story than a video game, but the choices you make will affect the story and put it in different paths. You can play an episode and compare notes to a friend who has played the same episode and realize you two have experienced a totally different part of the story — and that’s really cool.
Season 2 revolves around Clementine who played as a supporting role in the first season and she is a totally transformed person this time around. She has matured greatly, but the game reminds you she’s still a kid with moments like awkward exposure to sexual and drug/alcohol related topics. It really humanizes her and you feel her pain as she is forced to grow faster in this dark and hallow world.
Blood-pumping, anxiety-inducing and haunting. I can go on and on about the many emotions brought upon me throughout season 2, because it was such a trip. Each episode put Clementine and the group of zombie walker survivors in more dire situations where the stakes became bigger and decision making tougher. By the end, I was struggling even behind the safety of my video game controller to make a choice that would determine the fate of the on-screen characters who I have become attached to emotionally.
I am as cold-hearted and stoic as the next gamer, but each life or death scenario felt weightier than the last. I can kill 500 people in a sandbox game like Grand Theft Auto V and not feel a thing, but one death here felt like a huge loss and that’s a big accomplishment in my book. There are moments in the game where Clementine is simply chatting with characters and learning about them which helps build depth with each person you encounter.
After each episode, the cliffhanger left me wanting more and the pain to endure another month or so wait for the next episode gradually worsened. Luckily, if you’re reading this and haven’t played an episode yet, then you get to binge play/watch the entire season in one sitting. Each episode takes about an hour and a half to complete so it is reasonably doable in a day if you’re dedicated enough.
Noticeably different this time around was the lack of puzzle elements. Although season 1 wasn’t super heavy with puzzle solving, there was still some figuring out to do. This time, the game flows with little to no possibility for error or interruptions because you weren’t paying attention for a moment. This really puts the focus on the story and compelling narrative and much less on being a “video game”. The finale had me on the edge of my seat more so than the previous episodes as all the build-up has finally led to the pinnacle of Clementine’s story. It’s so hard to describe without spoiling anything, but it is certainly awesome.
Telltale’s The Walking Dead season 2 is a major testament to the genius behind the game. The writing is great and comparable to the stories told on the TV and comic series — maybe even better! It seems Telltale is getting better at this type of gaming play style and it also seems like they’re not slowing down anytime soon. If you’re looking to get into season 2, pick up season 1 first to get a better grasp of the story; the best part is that these games are well priced, too. This review is light on word count, because there really isn’t much to say that wouldn’t spoil the story. It’s simple, easy to play and the story is amazing. Go get this!
Platform: Reviewed on Xbox 360 (Also available on PlayStation 3 and PC)
Release Date: Season finale August 27, 2014
Rating: 9.5 / 10