Telltale Games had a bit of an up-and-down reputation prior to the release of The Walking Dead. That game completely changed the way that most thought of Telltale and many critics felt that they set the bar for storytelling in games. After the numerous game of the year awards for TWD and a critically acclaimed launch for The Wolf Among Us, Telltale’s second comic book adaptation, The Walking Dead: Season Two was one of the most hotly anticipated games of 2014.
The problem with a game with all that hype is that it occasionally bogs down under the weight. The problem with a sequel is that they struggle to balance the needs of new gamers to the franchise with the desires of people continuing the story. There were times when TWD:S2 caved to these pressures as Telltale tried very hard to copy what made Season One so loved but missing the emotional mark that Season One hit. However, once Season Two came into its own, Telltale had put out another stellar experience.
Coming into the second season of Telltale’s The Walking Dead, one of the big things people were talking about is how the game would be able to continue with Clementine as the protagonist. After all, she’s just a little girl. She couldn’t fill the shoes of Lee.
Well, literally, Clem couldn’t fill his shoes. Figuratively, once we got all the character introductions out of the way and got into character and plot development, this season took The Walking Dead to heights surpassing Season One. Sure, the episodes are shorter and maybe the illusion of choice isn’t quite as strong as the first season but amazing story and character writing made this game one of the highlights of 2014.
Now we reach the end of Season Two and boy, does Telltale give this season a spectacular send off.
One of the advantages of being behind on playing an episodic game like The Walking Dead: Season Two is that you can play multiple episodes in quick succession. I didn’t get into the first season until a random Steam Sale so I was able to go through the first three episodes at the same time. There’s something to be said about being able to keep the story rolling by binging episodes. It works for TV so why wouldn’t it for video games?
Once again, my habit of going contrary to the consensus critical opinion continues in this review. While critics rated it as the worst episode of the season, I have it as the second-best. So what did I see that no one else did?
The Walking Dead: Season Two – Episode Three (Spoiler-Free) Review: Survival, From a Certain Point of View
For some reason, my views of this season of Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead skews opposite of that of most reviewers. While I absolutely loved Episode Two, many were lukewarm relative to me. Then I look at Episode One and most critics liked it more than I did.
Episode Two introduced William Carver, the antagonist for this season of the game, and the story made a turn for the darker which is something that strikes a chord with me. The majority of critics called it the best episode of TWD Season Two when it came out. I won’t go that far but that doesn’t mean this isn’t a good episode of the game.
After establishing themselves as some of the best storytellers in gaming with Season One of The Walking Dead, Telltale Games certainly didn’t set the world on fire with either Season One’s 400 Days DLC or Season Two premiere All That Remains. While the pieces that made TWD great were there, the heart that made TWD special was missing.
Fortunately, despite having four games on the go right now, Telltale hasn’t bitten off more than it can chew. Episode Two of Season Two is a return to form for The Walking Dead series.
The surprise hit of 2012 was The Walking Dead. Given how often that licensed games disappoint and Telltale’s shaky track record before the release of the first episode of their The Walking Dead series, no one was expecting Telltale’s new game set in the universe of The Walking Dead comic books to be as great as it was. The first five episodes of The Walking Dead picked up dozens of Game of the Year awards along with seemingly hundreds of other awards in 2012.
So The Walking Dead: Season Two had a lot to live up to. Could the first episode of Season Two of The Walking Dead live up to the original or would it be underwhelming like the 400 Days DLC?