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The moment that a portion of gamers has been waiting for a while has arrived! Season 2 of the critically accaimed 'Telltale's The Walking Dead' game has arrived. And by season 2 I mean the first episode of season 2. I figured I'd do a small review of the first episode because I'm a fan of the game and the show and the comic books (though I have not read them in a while). The reason I decided to write about this game is because it is in many ways a "TV-show that you play" and that is the kind of game I could see reviewed in a site called TV.com and it helps that there's the moderately popular series called The Walking Dead that is reviewed in this site.

I'll start this by saying that this review is going to include a lot of spoilers from the first season of the game and from the first episode of the second season. You know... Maybe. You've been warned.


To be honest I was really worried for the second season of the game. The first season had its ups (2nd, 4th, 5th episodes), downs (3rd episode.. Which was pretty meh because it had a lot of pacing problems) and okay-moments (1st episode didn't give any indication that "Oh yeah! This'll be the Game of the Year for me! Hooray!".) but ultimately it was my favorite game of the last year and was most likely the most memorable game I had ever played. Story-wise. The gameplay isn't all that thrilling.

The episode starts with the obvious "Previously on Walking Dead..." which summarizes what you did in the first season and then proceeds to show that Clementine did find Omid and Christa... Then the game immediately kills Omid and jumps 16 months forward. After the time leap Clementine gets separated from Christa and has to survive on her own which is hard enough for a grown man or a woman in this bleak world. Fair to say that my "Yeah! Omid and Christa are back!" emotions were short-lived.

After an encounter with a pissed off stray dog (kind of random to be honest..) that bites Clementine, she finds herself in the care of two strangers, Luke and Pete, that take her to their group. Of course the dog bite causes some radical reactions among the members of Luke and Pete's group members. Bordering from the idiotic "This small child will easily overpower a group of six if she turns, we need to kill her now" (I might be paraphrasing) to the not so radical "Our supplies are stretched thin as it is, we can't take care of her".

Obviously they weren't going to kill you in the first episode. They just lock Clementine in the shed with a bite that could get infected, and the infected bite could end up killing her. And as we know, you'd come back no matter the method of dying. So their plan did have some faults, even though it was a logical plan otherwise.

Clementine realizes the urgency of the wound and sneaks out of the shed to steal to required materials to stitch herself (something Christa apparently taught her during the 16-month time-leap. This is actually believable as Christa was the one who encouraged Lee to teach Clementine take care of herself in season one).

And this is where I'm going to leave this review/recap thing.


Some random thoughts:
  • The biggest fear for me about the fact that we'd be stepping in the shoes of the adorable little girl we tried to raise in the first season: how could she make a difference? How would she get her voice heard..? No one's going to take a child seriously in this world
    • The answer was simple: tons of emotional manipulation (there's a part of the game that has a dialogue option "Sad eyes").
    • The cutest little manipulating thing ever!
  • Even though Clementine is pretty badass for her age, she still depends on grown ups a bit and I love it. They didn't go all Arya on Clem and make her an independent badass who needs no one's help.
  • The campfire scene was nice for those who missed Lee and Kenny (I still think he's alive. He had two "death" scenes and neither of them showed him dying). But if you are dumb enough to start at the second season and skip the first, the scene might have been a bit too long.
  • That stitching scene. Oh. My. God... Hearing an 11-year-old screaming in agony is not actually something I want to experience when playing a video game... That being said, it was the best scene of the episode.
  • Carlos' daughter Sarah provides great contrast to Clementine. Carlos is like Lee in many ways, yet very different. Carlos and Lee share the desire to keep their daughters (Clem wasn't Lee's daughter, I know) safe but Carlos wants to keep her daughter's innocence and shields her from the real world.
  • The choices you made in the first season and the DLC 400 Days won't matter that much in this episode (Telltale has said that it was conscious decision to not overwhelm possible new players by consequences of the actions they didn't commit.)
  • The new characters aren't as appealing as the characters from the first season... At least not yet. Though that could be because of the fact that we aren't actually "a part" of the group yet. Alvin, Luke and Carlos seem interesting. And I'd be lying if I didn't feel a small feeling of happiness when I blackmailed the pregnant Rebecca. Seriously... What a douchebag.
  • The QTEs were a nice contrast to the QTEs of the first season. In the first season QTEs were implemented when Lee needed to kill some zombies. As Clementine is a lot smaller the QTEs were basically there to dodge the zombies.

To be honest it didn't completely match my expectations. The lengthy road to the new group made it hard to get to know the group properly (though I believe that will be the focus of the next episode). However it did lay the foundation to what could be a great season. The sheltered Sarah provides great contrast to Clem, the pregnant douchebag Rebecca poses a possible threat, the whipped Alvin can provide a sympathetic character to the mix.

This was an adequate starter episode of the sequel to the award winning first season. I have heard that there are a lot of technical problems on the consoles so I'd have to say that that is a flaw... Even though I played on the PC.

Sorry for the lengthy post. Here's a question poll thing (because I love them... and you should too!)

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Also, when you mention bugs on the console version, the scene's with Clem sneaking round the house became weird for me when character models were appearing in rooms where they shouldn't have been. Happened during cutscenes too. Played on 360.

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Yeah I heard about that. And I saw it during a LP on youtube. When Clem is going to the room with the other girl in it, the hispanic doctor would be standing in the middle of the room... Doing nothing. Kinda breaks the immersion a bit, albeit it was pretty funny.
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Yep. But that happened to me in EVERY ROOM! Haven't booted it up again since completing episode 1 but hoping it was patched for newcomers and it doesn't happen again in ep. 2
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I disagree that episode 3 of the first season was 'meh'. I personally thought it was the best especially when it came down to the Duck scenario in the woods. Totally didn't see what happened to Katya coming and left me a wreck before the end (especially with the scene outside the camper van earlier with another death). I enjoyed 400 days too for the easter eggs! Like when you get down on the road to avoid the car coming towards you during one of the chapters, the body you see there is whomever was shot during that aforementioned camper scene in ep 3. Thought that was cool.
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Third episode was good but the pacing made it feel dull at times. The whole train ride was ridiculously dull. Duck stuff were handled fantastically and Katya's faith was depressing. It handled the important stuff well but I just personally disliked the pacing.

A lot of important stuff happened in the episode but still when I think back to that episode, the thing that pops first in the mind is the pacing problems. IMO the 3rd episode was a step down after the superb episode 2... And it might be that that's the reason why I wasn't that charmed with 3rd episode. I might have made a mistake by saying that the whole episode was a down point for the season when the episode had great moments as well
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You didn't make a mistake by voicing your opinion. I just think that whilst episode 2 was fast paced (which I agree made 3 slower by comparison) 3 will always rank higher for me in terms of long term progression and the emotional impact at the time. In my opinion, 2 had tension, 3 had soul.
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I enjoyed it a lot. It did have an abrupt ending though, which I think would be my only real complaint. I thought Telltale did a great job of bashing my predictions - I didn't think Omid would be killed off so quickly, I thought that dog would be our companion throughout the woods, etc.

It was great though. Really loved it.
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True. When I got to the end scene I thought that there would be a few scenes after that. Like aftermath regarding the choice you made, a discussion with the person you saved but nope... Still, I loved it. Didn't reach all of my expectations which is normal and I'm not disappointed because I can rationalize that I had set my expectations way too high (and this was arguably a better start to a season than the first episode of the first season).
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Thank you for your review. I don't think it was overly negative either. I elected not to buy the second season and to instead watch a walkthrough. I found that a more satisfying way to visit the narrative than actually playing. I was not impressed with the development of the game enough to buy it blindly after 400 days. Which I thought was mediocre too.

I did not like the QTE's for the pc/laptop. They were hardly intuitive and poorly explained in season 1. From what I saw in the new season, that hasn't changed much.

I will continue to watch walkthroughs until I see something that reminds me of why I liked the first episode of season 1.
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Thanks! The minimalistic gameplay makes this game pretty ideal to watch on Youtube. All you need to do is to find a gamer who has somewhat similar playstyle as you (if I would have chosen to watch the game I would have watched DanzNewz) and you are set.

400 Days was way too hectic. Every different storyline was 80% of getting to know the characters and then 20% of action and choosing between two bads. Which doesn't sound that bad but when you take the "15 minutes per story" thing in consideration... Well, it's not great. I think it might pay off during this season as the characters that were on 400 days are going to appear in this game. We'll see.

Personally I prefer this episode to the first episode of the first season. Might be just the fact that it has characters you already know and everything doesn't feel that new.
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I actually really loved 400 Days. I've heard mixed things about it, but the thing I remembered while playing it was that it was never meant to get you attached to anyone. It was just 15-20 minute highlights of the lives of 5 different people. And while I didn't become ATTACHED to any of these characters, I remember thinking while playing about how amazed I was at Telltale's writing - to make these characters feel multilayered and different from each other just within a few minutes.
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Telltale did succeed at making you understand the characters' motivations and the characters were as multilayered as in the main game (and I did enjoy the DLC a lot) but otherwise the stories just felt a bit too hasty. I would have loved to spend a longer time with the characters.

The thing I loved about the DLC was how it made me doubt myself in my season 1 choices. Shel's little sister Becca was, on paper, what I tried to get Clementine (tough, knows how the world works, self-reliant) be but I don't know if I want Clem to end up as cold and scary-creepy as Becca.
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the scene with omid in the bathroom (specifically clem's face when she looked at christa)

broke

my

heart.
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thanks for writing
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Factoid:

Melissa hutchison http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1563502/ is the person who voices clementine dunno if you knew that ;)

i see people being overly negative of this episode, it sounds like your comparing one episode to the 'whole first season' which is kinda unfair.

season 1 ep1 was pretty tame compared to this new season opener, and we had lee who is a different person who we had doubts with (being a murderer) and we had an introduction into the world and clem, with this episode there is no need for that, we know clem (well enough) and we know what the world is like (or potentially) so for me it was a set up episode a buffer for what is to come...

as i recall the following episodes in season didn't hold back with anything the gore the violence and the feels !

Yes it has a few glitches, some reports of guns 'wobbling' in peoples hands, i saw that effect happen when clem stitches her self up, more amusing and added to the horror of it :P

i also have two bug bears about the progression,

1) in the camp site when you find sam the dog, once you arrive and look around the only thing left to do is throw the frizbee which on the first try doesn't do anything so why would some people throw it again ? the second time you suddenly find a trash bin... right a trash bin... it's for trash right ? WHY WOULD ANYONE THROW AWAY FOOD ? Ok so maybe just maybe it was to hide supplies from someone but surely that risks it being thrown out with said trash right ?

2) in the house with carlos, rebecca, nick etc..after clem is put in the shed and we sneak out, there is no clear display to navigate upstairs past the 'exit door' or at least until you have listened in to the conversations enough for you to remove the hotspot to listen in..or maybe i just didn't realise till later that there must be more to the house/being restricted to downstairs like before some area's are blocked off to avoid getting lost.

the writing was as good if not better than season one because despite the 'larry' style treatment clem gets, she hold her own. with style sass and 'bawls'

ok so omids death was pure shock value and outta the blue but then again so was carley/doug/sean/katjaa etc etc..

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Yeah. I've seen the episode get critisized because it keeps the story a bit vague but most of what I've heard is still positive. I didn't think of it as a flaw, the first episode of this season is obviously going to have to introduce the new characters and re-introduce us to Clem (how much and how she has changed and what she's been through) and the bleak world she's trying to survive in. This episode had almost everything this game offered in the first season: violence, gore, wide range of emotions, new characters (who were a bit underdeveloped but interesting nevertheless), few old characters returned for a short while and a tough decision or two (I noticed it's easier to use the "rude" dialogue options as Clementine than it was when I was playing with Lee... It's fun!)

The two points you made were something that I thought about myself as well. It's the zombie apocalypse... You shouldn't throw food in the trash even if you don't like beans... No wonder the group that owned the camp died (or atleast one of them).

It took me a while to notice that you could go to the upstairs when I got inside the house. The camera angle was so weird that it looked like the way was blocked.

All in all. I thought it was better than the first episode of the first season. I was a bit disappointed because it was such a short episode and because we weren't given enough time to talk to the other survivors.
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i'm gonna replay season 1 on my xbox since it was on offer, (already have it on steam) and at least in s1 e1 upto arriving in macon.. season 2 is much better, more polished, more involved more stuff going on..
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I loved this first installation of the new season, but am a little ticked off that the season pass isn't available on PSN yet. Who's the idiot that thought THAT would be a good idea?
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Weird. PSN sells them individually and doesn't sell a season pass while a season pass is the only thing you can buy in Steam. They might be trying to lure new fans by the low prices? But still, pretty ridiculous to NOT sell the season pass as well.
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Yep, pretty ridiculous.
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Thanks Arska!
Didn't know it was out yet! That's oresome.
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I went ahead and voted that I'll wait for the entire season to be published even though I'm not sure I'm actually that patient actually, haha. But at the same time, I still haven't played 400 Days, so I need to do that before then. I'm hoping for there to be another sale at some point. I got the whole first season for only $7 and that was a real steal on Steam. It'd be nice to get the same type of pricing for season 2, even if unlikely!
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I bought the first season for 20 bucks and after two days it was on a Steam sale... 75% off... Pissed me off quite a bit :D You were lucky to get it for 7$... Though 20 bucks for the first season isn't that bad considering the quality of the game.

If you're trying to wait until the whole season has been published I'm going to wish you luck in avoiding the spoilers and as I am a bit of a douchebag I'm going to say that what made the first season a bit magical for me was the fact that I spent 8 months with Lee and Clem as opposed to spending under a week with them. This game (at least the first season) packed that much emotional punch that I just wouldn't play it all the way through in one run... The Wolf Among Us is great as well so the wait isn't as bad as it was last year!
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great work! but not my thing. i get immidiately addicted and waste away. shame. looks good!
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Great post. I've been hearing a lot about how amazing these games are. I really ought to check them out. I just promoted this post to the homepage so look for it there! :) Awesome work.
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I'm quite sure that I replied and said thanks already on a mobile phone and now I'm quite intoxicated but as I can't see the comments (that I am quite sure I wrote and not as sure that I posted) I want to say thanks! I would recommend these games to anyone. They are easy, they have great characters and story and you know... They provide a good change of pace from the dominant FPS genre.

I have to say that the games do suffer from some pacing problems so there might be some slow parts now and then but it's still interesting.
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