Telltale Games have received high praise for their The Walking Dead: Season One and The Wolf Among Us. These two games have established them as the foremost developers to trust with adaptations and the studio that has revived the adventure game genre. The studio has kept a sense of continuity between the games, as your saved data will carry on the effects of your choices in Season One.
Clementine takes centre stage this season in The Walking Dead: Season Two and has matured considerably. Having aged in real time since the previous season, she’s a fantastic protagonist who exhibits an endearing mixture of youthful naivety and cynical world-weariness. Clementine’s character is where the influence of your choices from Season One are most evident, as her attitude has been shaped by her prior experiences.
Season Two is even more unrelenting than its predecessor, with Clementine being thrown in the deep end from the start, though later episodes in the season manage a better balance in pacing.
In terms of plot and characters, Season Two can stand alongside Season One with plenty of twists and turns in the narrative and a diverse cast of characters in regards to race, gender, sexual orientation and mental health. These differences are also generally addressed with subtlety and respect.
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developers: Telltale Games
Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, iOS, Windows, OS X
The main difference this season is the introduction of a recurring antagonist in the form of the vindictive William Carver voiced by Michael Madsen. Carver is the nearest equivalent to the characters of the Governor or Negan from the comics, and his inclusion emphasises that in the zombie apocalypse the greatest danger is often from your fellow survivors. Madsen’s performance as Carver is also one of the outstanding highlights of the season.
The main criticism that can be levelled with this season is that the choices made in Season One and in the 400 Days DLC don’t seem to have had much impact, leading only to cosmetic changes. This is disappointing but understandable considering that Telltale obviously do not want to put off newcomers to the franchise. This makes further sense as it will eventually be a cross-generational release and it will be impossible for XboxOne and PS4 owners to import their previous save data.
However, the decisions you make in Season Two have a profound influence upon the conclusion, with six generally divergent endings available. None of these endings manage to deliver the same emotional punch as Season One’s finale but they do make you feel as though your actions have played a far greater role in determining the outcome.
With a third instalment already announced, it will be interesting to see what direction the series will take next. Perhaps Clementine’s story will end to allow a new character to step forward. If it’s anything like this season though, it’s set to be another emotionally charged ride.