Once in a while, Zombies In My Blog will receive promotional items to give away to our fans via Twitter. When we received a Steam code for the Season Two premiere episode of The Walking Dead, we gave it away, in return for a guest review. Juan Ortiz is our first guest reviewer. Read on to find out his reaction to the new video game:
“So, it is here. The long-awaited second installment of Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead arrived this week, for the joy of zombie and videogames fans. Since the ending of the first season and the release of its associated DLC 400 Days, this is the first taste we have of it, an episode named All That Remains.
I have to admit, I was certainly a little afraid that Season Two would fail to meet the expectations created by its magnificent predecessor. Recent announcements by Telltale, in regards of development of games based on Borderlands and Game of Thrones universes, along with the recently released (and yet to be completed) The Wolf Among Us game, made me ponder whether Telltale folks could actually be able to create another zombie adventure maintaining the same level of brilliancy. But a few minutes into the game and the cloudy prospects vanish.
You’ve got to give it to them though; it is their so-called formula, the Telltale formula. They know how to handle a good story and we all know how mystifyingly attractive Kirkland’s universe is.
One of the most remarkable elements in the first season was how thorough Lee narrated the story of Clementine. We were there to take care of her, and even to make her story take a determined course. All the tools were given to the player. It was in Lee’s hands — our hands — to guide her, whether she needed to know the cruelty of the world or if to transform her into another Duck, a mere innocent doll.
Now, there is no Lee, there is just Clementine. The connection changes, the player IS Clementine. We were already used to experiencing things by staring at her little eyes, looking for any sign of reaction to our previous decision; to analyze her responses and her silences, but now all of this is emphasized. It is both a simple and obvious twist to the storytelling from Season One and, as the episode unfolds, it strengthens our link with Clementine.
The storytelling in Season One accurately reflected the evolution of a group of people, who were mere humans, like any of us. The Walking Dead has never been about superheroes, being able to translate that human character to the hero-producer industry of videogames was a superb work. Now, if there is something that could make an already heart-warming story turn into an even more feeling-filled narration, that is the view of the The Walking Dead world, seen through the eyes of a little girl. So far, the experience in this episode is delightful.
The need for survival is constantly patent through the entire episode, as if the idea of being a young girl lost in the world wasn’t a clear enough sign. Another active element is the evolution of Clem, in every sense of the word. An evolution marked by the need to find some courage after all the unfortunates events she has witnessed since the outbreak and the need to survive, along with a group of people, which is the focus of the second part of the episode. The approach to conversations, without Lee backing her, is now different. Clementine will have to take some initiative, in order to cope with unknown people and increase her survival chances. There will be defiance, there will be hate, and Clementine will have to learn how to handle it. Lee barely had time to teach her how to shoot a gun, now Clem has to take the advanced course on survival skills, all by herself.
It is a pity that we don’t have the chance to get to know much of the new characters, but several intriguing elements have been smartly introduced during the episode. Some vague ideas on what could be next, help to create an intriguing atmosphere in regards of the new group. That is, of course, part of the formula. This episode serves us as an introduction to a much larger and, hopefully, intense story. We are familiar with a part of it, and now it is bringing lots of new elements. That is what has really stuck with me through all the episode: the core of the story has been maintained but, at the same time, surrounded by a new environment that achieves, by the end of this first episode, its purpose to keep us on alert, while enjoying what could possibly be another splendid narrative.
If waiting for the release of every episode is not your strongest ability, I would recommend you wait until the release of the fifth episode to start Season Two. Otherwise, take the leap here. I can guarantee it will be worth every minute.”
Thank you, Juan, for your review. You can find him on Twitter. Stay tuned for upcoming giveaways from Zombies In My Blog.