[Review] The Walking Dead Season 2: Don’t Go Breaking My Heart Sweetpea (Spoiler Free Review)

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Tell Tale Games built a foundation of hope, trust and expectation by transitioning so well from The Walking Dead Season 1 to The Wolf Among Us, but can they continue with this growth in The Walking Dead Season 2, and how will they manage to integrate it into the game?

I was a little worried that juggling four projects at once might force weaker content from Tell Tale Games. Meeting deadlines and trying to exact the level of care that they’ve lavished on previous projects must surely impact on the end product, right? Especially when it comes to narratives and story. In light of all that added pressure to perform, I was worried.

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There are few experiences I have had with videogames as affecting, or as poignant, as seeing the world through Clementine’s eyes. Years older, and wiser, you’re going to witness the troubling and disturbing forced growth of a child, in an unforgiving environment.

Not five minutes into the game, I was reduced to tears and the emotional turmoil does not end there. There are moments in The Walking Dead Season 2, (hereafter referred to as TWDS02), that will push you further than many games dare to tread.

Season 2 continues from where you left off with Season 1, carrying forward all of your decisions, for better or worse. If you haven’t completed/played the first season, the game will randomise the backstory so you don’t miss out. And that’s all I’ll share of the story, because Season 2 is something to be experienced, a trial to put yourself through to see if you emerge on the other side.

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Tell Tale has learned from The Wolf Among Us and brought some things over that worked well, such as the more interactive control system. It is much more intuitive than that utilised in Season 01. The quick time events are still there, but they feel much more urgent, and with directional paths that you choose clearly showing up on screen, you do feel more in control.

There is still a hefty wordy element to these episodic games that will not appeal to everyone. If you weren’t bothered by the Metal Gear 4 loading screen times on the PS3, then you will find this an absolute breeze. If you’re the kind of person that shudders at the thought of no skippable scenes, and want a switched off kind of gaming session, this may not be up your street. TWDS02 is the sort of game that can be slow to unfold, but will certainly get it’s cold and sharp fingers buried into your grey matter before you know it, and manipulate you to feel. Even if you are hard hearted, there will be something that will illicit a response from you here. Season 02 takes no prisoners, and offers no apologies for the suffering you will endure.

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There is a unique emotional and cultural maturity that Tell Tale Games has developed, and TWDS02 is no exception to this growth. It’s a brave move to be able to present very raw and personal subject matters to people, especially in such a nonchalant way. You are exposed to such a diverse cast, and it’s done in a way that I appreciate. Tell Tale presents it’s characters as people, no more and no less. People are not paraded about in a way that makes it feel forced, and the quality of their writing staff is fantastically self aware, and if they could see, I would give a standing ovation.

However TWDS02 is not without its flaws, despite having paced the episode better in my eyes, I couldn’t help but feel we were being dragged along for the ride. Despite having these brilliant interactive controls I still felt like everything was predetermined and that my choices had very little affect on the direction of the game itself, but that should be revealed in time.

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If you liked Season 1, it’s a very good bet that you’ll love this season, it’s better paced, with more interesting controls. If RPGs aren’t your cup of tea, you might want to wait until this is on sale to see what all the fuss is about. It is wordy, but it more than makes up for it with its addicting ability to make you feel.

Thoughts? Comments? Want to share some ice cream or a bottle of red?
Use that comment box below.
Escapingirl.

All images Courtesy of Tell Tale Games: http://www.telltalegames.com/walkingdead/
The Walking Dead Season 2 Available on steam, £18.99 (time of publication) : http://store.steampowered.com/app/261030/?snr=1_7_15__13

 

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