Both seasons of the game were on sale on Steam recently so I downloaded them at the same time and I’m glad I did because season 2 of Telltale’s The Walking Dead is at least just as good as the first. If you haven’t played that or don’t know what the hell I’m talking about you might like to check out my review of the first season as there may be minor spoilers for that season in this review. These games are basically interactive stories where the game is shaped by the choices you make. It’s based on the popular comic and tv series The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman, although it follows characters independent of those other series.
Season 2 follows directly on from season 1 as you take control of Clementine. One cool thing is that you can import your season 1 save so certain choices you made in that game will carry over. Like the first season it’s made up of 5 episodes and continues the emotional, heart-rending story that the first season pulled off so well.
I found the first season was made up of a lot of moral decisions but season 2 is more about survival. You’re on your own and as you’re thrust into new groups of people with new dynamics you have to look out for yourself as well as trying to preserve the fragile bonds that hold you and the people around you together. The game becomes about who to trust and who to betray, and the strength of the writing is so good that even a choice about who to sit with at lunch becomes a tough decision. The unfolding of the game seems more complex this time around as well. The first season was mostly linear and the overall plot wasn’t affected too much whatever you did, whereas in this season dialogue choices can open up entirely new conversations so I feel it’s going to be better at rewarding multiple playthroughs. And there are multiple endings, and let me tell you, this ending actually left me haunted. I’m even still a bit haunted by it now. The game forced me into making a choice and although I can reason it through it still makes me feel uncomfortable that that is how I ended the game.
The story is again at the forefront here and it’s just as strong as the first game, although there are a couple of flaws. A lot of the new characters are introduced en masse so it takes a a while to flesh them out and learn more about them. The new villain is chilling and you want to take him down but you know that if you do he’ll just hurt the people around you, so you have to balance out your attacking instincts to try and survive until you get in a position where you can deal with him. Episode 4 is perhaps the weak spot where it re-focuses things, and feels rather jarring, but the last episode is amazing. It’s mostly made up of dialogue choices so you really are along for the ride, but it’s so intense and I found myself yelling at the monitor, feeling genuine emotions at the people I was interacting with.
The gameplay is a little different this time around as they focus much more on dialogue choices rather than the tasks. Those are still present, but they feel a lot more sparse. I’m fine with this. One of the things that really bugged me was a new type of quick-time event that involves you having to click and drag, I found this cumbersome. At first I didn’t even know what I was supposed to do, and when I eventually figured it out I didn’t find it intuitive and sometimes it didn’t read the direction I was dragging. Also, at one point you have to do this to open the flap of a tent and that just feels ridiculous as it screams of, ‘we haven’t had one of these in a while, let’s shove one in there’.
Despite those minor flaws The Walking Dead Season 2 is an amazing game. It’s emotional, tense, and I was always on the edge of my seat. It left me with more of an impact than the first season, and I’m still haunted by what I did at the end. Since there are different endings I’d love to hear from other people who have played it to see what they chose.