It wasn’t that long ago that Telltale Games was one of the most niche indie developers out there. They were known for a throwback gaming style that resembled interactive books more than the nearly universally popular “Call of Duty” games. In 2012 that all began to change. After securing a license for “The Walking Dead,” they were able to reach another level in their interactive storytelling. Perhaps it was finally reaching a larger demographic with their newfound mature themes. Regardless, they were able to make the most of their opportunity and actually won the 2012 Spike Video Game Awards Game of the Year trophy.
While many people will say Telltale’s “The Walking Dead” is barely a game, the level of narration and skillful storytelling make the package compelling. The first season put players into the role of Lee, a convicted murderer, compelled to care for and protect a young girl named Clementine. The five episodes let players navigate the perils that are more often than not created by living rather than the living dead. At the end of it all, things don’t end well for Lee and Clementine, but her story does continue in "Season Two."
Clementine seems to have learned the lessons of the first season well. She’s no longer as dependent on her companions and much tougher mentally. That’s good, because she spends a good time alone throughout the two hours or so of gameplay in “All That Remains.” Even when she’s sharing screen time, Clementine needs to look out for herself. Maybe it’s because you’re playing as a little girl, but the emotional stakes often feel higher. Maybe Telltale has gotten better at telling the story. Most likely it’s a combination of the two.
There are of course references to the first season and a couple of characters even made through from the first season, but in my playthrough, there was very little carry over from the decisions I made. There is also little indication of what weight your decisions will have down the road, in “Episode One.” While “All That Remains” serves dutifully as an introduction, the chapter does a great job of keeping the tension high. Starting with more impact than the previous season, “Season Two” offers a lot of promise. Hopefully the delays that are plaguing Telltale’s “Fables” series, won’t carry over to Clementine’s new adventures.
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