Last year, Telltale Games scored Game of the Year for creating The Walking Dead Season One –a game that many doubted would do the comic book series justice due to the company’s point and click roots. Becoming a once again household name, Telltale continued to strive and accomplish excellence with every chapter of The Walking Dead Season One, keeping players literally on the edge of their seats, concerned and scared about the fate of Clementine and her new found guardian, Lee. After closing Season One, Telltale released The Walking Dead DLC : 400 Days as a link between Season One and Two, playing through the eyes of 5 different characters surviving the zombie apocalypse from Day One to Day 400.
Now that the first episode of The Walking Dead Season 2, All That Remains has finally reached our consoles and PCs, can Season Two live up to it’s predecessor?
Quick Side Note: There’s been plenty of people asking if it’s mandatory to have and play The Walking Dead Season One or 400 Days in order to play Season Two since the decisions you’ve made in those installments affect the life you live in Season Two– the answer is no. Although, Telltale suggests that you do play them ( I would too, so you can experience the whole story and recognize slight nods and references to past chapters), if you don’t have the previous season or didn’t finish it, the game randomizes choices for you, to help you begin your story.
Episode 1 All That Remains served as a reminder for us to treasure our time with those that we love and care for, lest they be snatched from us like every favorite character in Game of Thrones. Within the first 10 minutes, my heart was racing, my temper flew, eyes started tearing up, and followed with lip trembling… it was bad. Telltale did a great job reminding us, every time that we felt safe, every moment that we got too relaxed, that our reality is that we are in the middle of a zombie apocalypse and even more dangerous than flesh eating, mindless zombies are the conscious human beings around us trying to survive and they will do anything and everything to stay safe – even if it means hurting a little girl.
Clementine, though still a child, is a little older, stronger and much wiser than her Season One persona. She’s been through some rough times and from the looks of it, it’s only going to get worse. I started off making small decisions, but soon forgot that I was a pre-teenaged child with some of the decisions that I needed to make, especially when it came to interacting with other characters. All That Remains kicks you in your gut and gives you a real sense of helplessness. A bit of a spoiler here but, Clementine, by herself, with nothing but the clothes on her back and what she’s learned while with Lee, is extremely frightening. This chapter was a brutal one; I cringed, squirmed and jumped through a good portion of All That Remains and I hate that despite it being a cel-shaded point and click game, I froze when it came to making decisions and clinched my teeth at imagining having to go through just a smidgen of the terror that Clem had to go through just to survive.
There is no immediate connection to whatever choices you’ve made in Season One or 400 Days yet, but I’ve enjoyed seeing how Telltale gave each character some sort of backstory for whatever chip they have on their shoulder. I can already tell that Episode 2 is going to throw us for a loop; there’s plenty to be addressed from Episode 1, let alone the previous season and the 400 Days DLC.
Gameplay and the controls are almost as simple as it can get—once again it’s a point and click horror/adventure game. Controls consists of either using your analog sticks to move /and or then clicking one of the four buttons (or left click if you’re playing on PC) as confirmation. Simple controls didn’t make The Walking Dead less frightening though; If anything, although I’ve played Season One, in fear, I pressed random buttons and my reflexes became scrambled out of panic in some of the escape and fight scenes. Just as before, you’ll have to make split second decisions on what to do next, whether it’s which direction you’re moving, what to shoot or who/what to save. Of course, it never fails that I over analyze the choice I’ve made, so I’ve already decided to make a second save file, just to see what happens when I choose another path.
Also, this time around, it seems that while in a danger/fight scene, your weapon choices are not so obvious. This time around, Telltale made you work hard to get what you need, especially when it comes to stealth. There were moments where I actually had to look around for an item for me to use instead of the usual circle that clues you into what you might want to consider looking at/using next. Although it was frustrating at times, having to move Clem’s head/body around while being attacked and quickly grab whatever you need to defend yourself, upped the ante on the survival horror aspect of All That Remains.
As simple as the controls are, somewhere along the line, maybe in the game programming, it took quite a bit for some actions to follow through after I pressed the corresponding button. Along with the weird, almost frozen loading time between action scenes (or starting over after having to die), there is nothing more frustrating than not only having to wait, but also being scared shitless that your game has frozen, and you don’t know the last time that the game auto-saved . Just as you’re about to reset your console, it resumes suddenly and you don’t have enough time to react to action options, THUS, causing you to die and start that particular sequence all over again. Yeah. Major blower.
The Results Are In
All That Remains was a perfect re-entry into Telltale’s interpretation of The Walking Dead world. Clementine like her guardian before is the perfect protagonist for Season Two and dare I say—BETTER than Lee. It didn’t take long for Telltale to make the player see that Clementine no longer has the luxury of being a child, she is simply a survivor and her chance of dying has heightened, since she is viewed as weal and her presence as a contributor is underestimated and under-appreciated, if at all. If it wasn’t for the laggy loading times and clumsy follow through with commands, Telltale would have NAILED IT. But for now, All That Remains will continue to nag my mind with contemplating on what will happen next in Episode 2, imperfections and all.
- You don't need to have Season One in order to to play Season Two
- The story evokes emotion like it's predecessor
- Same simple game controls-- point and click
- "Choose your path" storyline allows for a huge replay-ability factor
- Sometime the game didn't respond/was slow to respond to button presses (we've tested and it's the game itself!)
- Weird, almost frozen loading times between actions scenes