Posted by Travis Bruno on Dec 23, 2013

The Walking Dead Season Two: All That Remains Review

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The Walking Dead Season Two: All That Remains

Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Platforms: PC, Mac, PlayStation 3, iOS, Xbox 360 (Reviewed)
Release Date: December 18, 2013
Price: $4.99 – Available Here

Overview
Creating a follow up for a popular release and maintaining the same level as success with the next release is a difficult task. Even more so when the game you released was awarded numerous Game of the Year awards and became one of the most recommended titles during 2012. As such, Telltale Games has set the bar high for themselves and now that they have started the second season of their Walking Dead series, does the first episode, All that Remains, continue to impress?

Story
Now it is worth mentioning right off the bat that if you happen to have played the first game and have a save file from it, Season Two will immediately search for your save file and will load it, taking all of your actions and dialogue choices into account with All That Remains. For those who may never have jumped on the first season or somehow lost their save file, the game will automatically create past decisions which is limits the personal experience but is far from a deal breaker.

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Also since this is Season Two, there will be spoilers here for the first season. Anyways, All That Remains begins with a prologue which shows players a number of important events from Season One and their choices in these situations. This serves as a reminder for those who may have forgotten and also an introduction to newcomers.

Once the game begins, with Lee gone players now take direct control of Clementine. After things almost immediately go south, players step into Clem’s shoes around sixteen months after the events of the first season. This means that not only has Clementine aged a bit, but she has also had to endure the harsh zombie filled world for almost a year and a half which means she has had to suffer through terrible conditions during this time.

After another intense sequence, Clementine finds herself separated from the last person she knows and is found by another group of survivors. However unlike before where Lee helped Clementine make her way into the group and bonded through survival, Clem is immediately suspected by this new group of survivors who clearly have something to hide and have a set of rules that they follow for everything. With players in control of Clem, it is up to them to choose her decisions and dialogue with these survivors and potentially find a safe place for a short while.

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Now, All that Remains introduces a slew of new characters and while we are able to speak with most of these survivors, they are still really fresh faces with little story to them. We learn a little bit about a few of these characters but since Clementine is initially treated as a potential threat and only a few people are willing to open up to her, most of this first episode involves trying to join a group wary of outsiders and survive.

As for Clem herself, it is clear that while she has aged and matured a bit since we last saw her, she is still relatively moldable as a character. Players can continue to choose her dialogue to act like a younger child, snarky, resilient, make her feel like a threat and potentially take advantage of secrets and hold them over new characters as leverage, or any combination of these things and seeing the girl that many people have grown concerned about over playing through the first season take the initiative is probably one of the best parts of this first episode.

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While the first season had players protecting Clem and worrying about how she may react to their decisions, it is up to Clem to take care of herself now, which results in some cringe inducing moments, and also allows for players to play things a bit different this time around now that they no longer need to set an example. Put this together with numerous moments that truly make the player feel a sense of loss, even at something they’ve only met for a few minutes, and All That Remains continues to present an engrossing tale of survival and loss that has once again begun.

Gameplay
The Walking Dead Season Two: All That Remains still plays very similar to past Walking Dead titles from Telltale Games. Players will walk around areas and investigate various things, gather items, or talk to other players with dialogue choices timed and determined by whichever face button is pressed. It is interesting to note that the exploration icons have been modified a bit but are still very similar.

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One thing that has been modified in this season is the way quick time events are handled. Many times throughout this first episode Clementine finds herself having to deal with zombies herself and only through quick action can she survive these encounters. For the most part the quick time events are still the same, with players having to hit the corresponding button in time or mashing a button and pressing another one to deal with a situation.

Where it does feel changed is that not only are these quick time events faster paced, with some of these sequences feeling incredibly intense due to how rapid things occur now, but there are also directional quick time events as well, which require the player to press a corresponding direction to make Clementine duck out of the way of danger.

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Outside of that, the gameplay is still very much the same thing as before with a number of refinements and a few contextual elements, such as Clementine shivering when the wind blows. As far as glitches go, there was one moment that the game became stuck during an action sequence as an item was not loading properly, requiring a restart but this was only a one time issue.

Visuals & Audio
Telltale continues to use the tried and true method of presenting players the story of The Walking Dead through stylized designs reminiscent of the comic book series. This works to the game’s benefit as it keeps gore from zombies basic but visceral looking and also works great for the character designs. Unfortunately there were a few moments that items within the game suffered from some terrible texture issues with items almost completely covered in the comic styled outline that flickers as the camera moves.

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As far as the voice work in the episode goes, it appears that Clementine’s voice actress has been retained and she continues to fit the slightly older girl perfectly with these dialogue sequences. The new cast of characters are performed admirably well while fitting atmospheric noises are used throughout the episode.

Overall
The Walking Dead Season Two: All That Remains quickly reminds players that this an apocalyptic world where safety and togetherness are fleeting things. It drops players into the shoes of a Clementine separated from everyone she knew and brings players into a new environment where she is the outlier and must take care of herself, regardless of the methods she might have to resort to. With a preview of the next episode hinting at a major development and this episode showing that Telltale won’t be pulling punches with Clementine as the main character, this episode brings with it everything fans of the series were hoping for.

9-0-capsules-out-of-10
Capsule Computers review guidelines can be found here.

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