Spoilers do follow.
There is little to no walking here.
The Walking Dead: Season 2 picks up a few months after the conclusion of the fantastic first season, and puts you in control of Clementine. The second season of the ground-breaking game is shorter, more compact than the original, and not quite as good because of it.
Like season one, season 2 is split into five episodes, each one following on from the last in terms of plot progression, and while it won’t affect those that haven’t played it yet, I do feel that the episodes were released far too slowly, and each time required a certain amount of getting into it again. No episode is stronger or weaker than the other as it all threads together very well, turning into one great whole at the end of it. As with season one, this is game that is based around player choices, rather than gameplay per se, but for some reason the stakes do not feel quite as high; the tension is not as highly strung..
Clementine is a little older than she was in the first season, and acts far more grown up this time around, but she just does not make as interesting a playable character as Lee. It’s an interesting dynamic to see a child’s perspective of the Walking Dead world, but she does not feel like a child – rendering that aspect useless in all but the occasional distrust of a child or not wanting her to do things.
Besides Clementine not being quite as interesting a main character as Lee (I miss the interaction), the characters around her are almost as good as in the first season and Kenny is just as good. The point of these games are largely for shocking moments and emotional scenes, something season one nailed and something season two does not nail entirely. Any scene with Kenny hits all the right notes, but there are a couple of characters who just die with not much fuss made over them.
There are two incredibly poignant scenes however, in the opening there is a dog (no more info than that I’m afraid), and there is a flashback/dream that really was heart-warming, beyond this there are small moments but altogether, The Walking Dead: Season Two does pack an emotional and horrific punch that is second only to the first season in merit.
What’s really missing this time round however is the exploration, the pointing and clicking. There is some walking around (and a very small amount of puzzle solving) to do, but the game is ultimately more of an interactive novel, which was a bit of a shame. Perhaps the game was built more for touchscreens this time around, but it just didn’t feel quite as complete – it deserves to be a bit more open.
This review has been fairly negative, but The Walking Dead: Season Two is a very good game, it still makes you think, you get attached to the characters and every single choice you make feels important, it feels like you are changing the world around you no matter if you are or not, you care if you hurt people’s feelings and the bad guy is a major asshole; this is a finely crafted tale that fans of the original should definitely play; bring on season three!
Despite losing the point and click aspects all but entirely, The Walking Dead: Season Two is a harrowing and gratifying experience that is a must-play. Clementine may not be as interesting as Lee, but let’s be honest, Telltale ain’t ever going to make a character quite like him again.
Not quite the masterpiece it wants to be, The Walking Dead: Season Two is great.