Developer: Telltale Games
Release Date: December 17th, 2013
Available on: Mobile, PC, Playstation 3, Xbox 360
Reviewer’s note: I played this game on the Xbox 360. There may be differences between versions. Also this review contains major spoilers to the events of Season 1. I would not read this review if you have not played that yet.
The first season of The Walking Dead ended with an extremely depressing scene. The game’s group is down to just three survivors and Lee isn’t among them. You’ll be playing as Clementine now, surviving and trying to grow up during the end of the world.
Being a Telltale game you probably have some idea of what to expect when going in. First things first: story is king. The first five minutes of the game wastes no time reminding you how dangerous the world of The Walking Dead is and continues to be. Clementine’s story is a sad one, and growing up in the zombie filled world is no easy task. She still hangs on to memories of Lee and the old group and the decisions you made in the first game come back in subtle ways. All That Remains mostly seems like it’s reintroducing you to Clementine, which isn’t a bad idea considering it’s been over a year since we’ve gotten to see her in action. The game introduces her to a new group of survivors, though they’re probably the biggest short coming of the game’s story. Luke and Pete work well, but it feels like Nick and Rebbecca are extremely one note characters, while Carlos, Alvin, and Sarah almost barely interact and are practically wall flowers. It’s not all bad, there are still difficult decisions all around, but the story does leave far less impact than most episodes from the first season.
As usual, gameplay (especially the combat) is where All That Remains fails the hardest. For combat scenes the game has switched to a quick-time event based fighting very similar to what The Wolf Among Us used. The bad news is that, quite bluntly, it doesn’t work. An early fight scene in the game had Clementine avoiding zombies and marauders. The game asked me to quickly push left on the stick to avoid a zombie. I did… and nothing happened, causing Clementine to get killed. Worse was that this wasn’t an isolated incident: several times I watched Clem get killed in the same fight because the game simply wouldn’t register the buttons I was hitting. Other fight scenes weren’t as bad as this one, but none really got as complex or command necessary though. It still doesn’t make the quick time even game play better, but it at least never gets as bad as that first fight.
Outside of fights the game got much better. One scene had Clementine stitching her arm back up after she sustains an injury. Having to go through the motions for it was absolutely horrifying. You’ll also be spending time exploring and wandering the environment, which is handled similar to how it works in The Wolf Among Us. You’ll get an actual inventory which helps change how you may interact with some people, or what you can do next, though you’ll never have to combine items or something. All the environments you visit are interesting and each of them contain some kind of little unspoken story.
The Walking Dead Season 2’s first episode isn’t quite as strong as I’d like it to be. The broken fight scene really drags the experience down, as does some surprisingly weak characterization. It’s not the best start for Clementine’s story, but it does enough to help draw you back in for the second episode. Just be warned that this is probably the weakest we’ve seen The Walking Dead since 400 Days.