Game Review: The Walking Dead Season Two Episode One

I’ve heard a lot of rave reviews of Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead series, and have been meaning to check it out for some time. When the second season became available, I jumped on it. Of course, this is a continuing story, so I was going in somewhat blind. To help me get my barrings, I watched this helpful video that breaks down the major plot points of the first season.

My immediate reaction to the game is being impressed with how well Telltale Games has brought back the adventure game genre. Growing up, I used to play every Sierra Online point-and-click (or text-based) adventure game I could get my hands on. I especially loved the Space Quest series. However, the type of game fell out of favor and all but disappeared years ago. I thought the genre was dead, and was pleasantly surprised to see it alive and well. The vast improvements to the user interface was another nice touch.

Telltale's The Walking Dead Seaon 2

When I think of a game based on The Walking Dead, I imagine some sort of action game. It just seems like the sensible default. Beyond that, perhaps a resource-focused strategy game would be a good fit. Telltale focuses instead on telling a story, and they do a hell of a job of it.

You play as a young girl named Clementine, orphaned by the zombie apocalypse and struggling to make it another day. She falls in with different people, but no matter what happens, it seems like everyone ends up either leaving her or getting killed. Clementine learns that she can only rely on herself, at least in the long term.

Telltale Games' The Walking Dead

Since this is only the first episode of the season, the plot only develops so far (minor spoilers follow). After being injured, Clem falls in with a new group of survivors, who are initially very suspicious of her. I don’t want to ruin to much here, but I will say that I really liked the setup and the group’s reaction here, even if it was a little predictable. People need to be wary, maybe even a little paranoid, to survive. At the same time, they also want to retain their humanity. It’s really great to see that struggle come out in a very organic way in this first episode of the second season of The Walking Dead.

As mentioned, the user interface in The Walking Dead is well built, simple, and intuitive. It’s an adventure game, so there’s really not a lot of interface to worry about. You control Clem using standard WASD (or a controller), and interact with different items and people on the screen. Sometimes you have multiple interaction options. For instance, you might be able to look at or talk to another character.

The Walking Dead game

Graphically, The Walking Dead is attractive, but not mind blowing. That’s not a detriment in my mind. It had a very strong art style, immediately suggesting its comic roots (although not in black and white). Everything has a strong outline and nicely-done cell shading. I experienced a couple of occasional minor graphic issues, like texture pop-ins, but nothing too distracting.

For my first The Walking Dead adventure game, I’m very impressed. So much so that I want to go back and play the first season before the second episode of the second is released. It’s a short, but very engaging game with rich characters and a fantastic story. If you like zombies and adventure games (or either one, actually), be sure to check this out.

Grade: 4.5 zombie heads out of 5

5 Comments

Mad..

I played the first season, and loved it… just waiting for more of season two to be done before I buy it…. I like doing them one after the other 🙂

Engrossing, story focussed games that’s for sure.

You should definitely check out the first season, you don’t control Clem, you control someone with a bit of a interesting past who is looking out for Clem, and it is a great ride.

Dave

I got the first season when it came up on sale on the Steam Winter Sale. I played the first chapter so far, and it’s pretty awesome.

This distribution thing is interesting. I hate waiting between episodes, but it gives you something to look forward to.

callofgaming

Man, you’ve gotta play the first season. You’ll get your heart split in two (in the good way :-))

Nikolai

Firstly, yes I do live. Secondly, I absolutely loved TWD season 1, so I was damned excited for season 2. At times between the two seasons, I was so attached to Clem that I was honestly half hoping there wouldn’t be a second season, just so that nothing bad could happen to her. But Ep. 1 proved me wrong, through strong character interaction, I’ve only grown more attached to the series. My only big complaint is the animations. Walking looks pretty bad, as does the voice acting. Still, none of this can turn me away.

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