Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Walking Dead Season 2 Review

The only time in the season everyone's genuinely happy

  • Developer: Telltale Games
  • Publisher: Telltale Games
  • Release Date: 27 August 2014
  • Time Played: 9 hours

Just as I did with The Wolf Among Us, here's a final review for The Walking Dead Season Two that takes a look at how the season fared overall for each category.

Plot (5/5)
In the second season of The Walking Dead, you play the role of Clementine, a young girl who is separated from a couple accompanying her called Christa and Omid. It's then up to Clementine to fend for herself, alone in the wilderness, surrounded by hordes of zombies. Clementine eventually comes across another group taking refuge in a house but Clementine doesn't find it so easy to gain their trust.

The rest of the episodes takes you on a journey with this group of survivors and just like anything in the survival horror or zombie genre, you'll gain some new survivors on the way only to lose others. Clementine will have to make some pretty difficult decisions on the way culminating in a dramatic showdown in the final episode

The game has a branching narrative so conversations will be slightly different based on your relationships with other characters or certain clues you notice. At the end of an episode, you're also able to review whether you sit with the majority or not when it comes to pivotal choices in the game (e.g. showing compassion to a character or not). What I like best about this season's finale though is that there are actual multiple endings to this one, not like the first season where the ending is pretty much the same no matter which choice you make.

Gameplay (3/5)
For those that have played The Walking Dead: Season One, you know the drill. Gameplay is pretty light, with simple puzzles and the game feels more like a visual novel. The game is mainly conversation driven and focuses more on your relationships with characters more than anything else. You'll occasionally have some Quick Time Events (QTEs) during action sequences but that's about it.

The gameplay stays pretty much the same throughout the entire series with little variation.

Sound (4/5)
Audio quality and voice acting quality remained the same throughout the season. Voice acting was great but to be expected from veteran voice actors with the only issue I had being the audio volume which was sometimes too loud or too soft.

Music (4/5)
The game has a suitably atmospheric music soundtrack; while there are no memorable themes it is effective in setting the sombre, depressing mood to the game. Some themes from the first season of the game even gets some airtime in the final episode.

Graphics (4/5)
The graphics are similar to The Walking Dead Season One (as you'd expect) and are the best I've seen in a Telltale game yet adopting a thick edges, comic-book style (a similar style is adopted in The Wolf Among Us). The only thing that annoyed me was the fact the framerate tended to jump all over the place at times.

Sometimes you've got to be cruel to be kind

Replay (3/5)
Just like Season One, the ending you receive depends on the choices you make in the game, so there is some attraction there to replay the episode (and indeed, the whole game once it is released). Also like Season One, achievements are still very easy to acquire (i.e. proceed to a certain point in the story) and there's not enough variety to encourage multiple playthroughs.

Just as it was in The Wolf Among Us, earlier episodes of the game tended to go for almost two hours with later episodes becoming shorter and shorter (usually being half an hour shorter). While I'm a firm believer of quality over quantity (some of my favourite games of all time are old point 'n' click adventure games that only take a few hours to complete), you still want to make sure you get your money's worth. Lets hope Telltale Games don't end up with episodes that are under an hour in duration for future games.

Polish (4/5)
Unfortunately, as it's a Telltale game, it uses the most recent Telltale Tool so the interface is a very console-friendly one, not a simple point 'n' click adventure. The game also has the annoying Type 1 save system where progress is autosaved but you never know when the next save point is.

Score – 8/10

The Walking Dead Season Two sticks to the same formula that made Season One so popular yet you now get to experience it through the eyes of a little girl called Clementine. As it was in the first season, Clementine discovers that sometimes it's not the zombies she should be afraid of but the surviving humans instead. Each episode explores different ethical dilemmas and hardships with Clementine learning from each experience, culminating in a dramatic finale where she gets to finally choose who she trusts.

If you want to get the game, you can get it on Steam or Telltale Games .

If you like this game, you might like...

[ LINK: Official The Walking Dead website ]

Monday, September 1, 2014

Choicest VGM - VGM #146 - The Ur-Quan Masters - Shipyard - Rough Repair

Composed by: Dan Nicholson
Remixed by: Dan Nicholson

This is a remix of the music which plays whenever you purchase new ships and crew to tag along with your flagship. This particular remix by Dan Nicholson (who was also the composer of the original track) sounds like it pays homage to Vangelis's Blade Runner soundtrack - except it's more like Blade Runner on amphetamines. It's pretty psychotic and fast paced but I kind of like it.

Special thanks to The Precursors for remixing the classic Star Control II tracks and making them available for download.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Reversion - The Meeting Review

Damn car crushes

  • Developer: 3f Interactive
  • Publisher: 3f Interactive
  • Release Date: 12 March 2013
  • Time played: 1.5 hours

As mentioned in my review of the previous episode of Reversion called Reversion - The Escape (which happens to be free), I managed to score a free copy of Reversion - The Meeting from my mate Mix-Master. This episode continues straight after the first as your amnesiac hero manages to escape a heavily guarded hospital and makes his way to the heart of Buenos Aires.

Plot (3/5)
As mentioned, in this episode our amnesiac protagonist manages to escape the hospital he was trapped in and makes his way to the heart of Buenos Aires with his new friend, Victoria. The heart of the city seems to be in a state of disrepair with almost nobody in sight. Victoria quickly and mysteriously leaves as soon as you arrive and it's up to you to continue finding out who you are and who the mysterious scientist in the photo is.

Once again, the game is terribly short and ends as soon as you meet with the scientist you're looking for (hence the name). While more of the plot is revealed in this episode, the game still seems to be too short on content to make the world or its characters seem interesting. Also, just like the first episode, the character dialogue seems to be a bit clumsy at times to the point where some responses don't make any sense. I'm not sure if this is just because they had bad dialogue writers or something was lost in translation from what I assume was originally in Spanish.

Gameplay (3/5)
The game thankfully has your typical point 'n' click adventure interface where the mouse rules supreme! The puzzles are generally logical and straight-forward to complete too; there's even a hints system if you get stuck, although it turns out that it's not very helpful. Besides my criticism from the previous episode's review (there are a lot of red herrings on the screen) being able to do certain things in the game aren't immediately apparent. For example, for one puzzle I had to disassemble an item in my inventory. Since I was never made aware that you could disassemble items within your inventory (there is only a look icon visible at all times) I spent many wasted minutes trying to use the item on just about everything on the game, thinking that was the way to disassemble it. I eventually resorted to a walkthrough and when I saw the solution, I was pretty disappointed. Not with myself since I already knew that was the solution, but the game's interface for not being as intuitive as it could be. The sad reality is, older point 'n' click adventure games with their clunky UIs may have done it better.

Sound (2/5)
Once again the English voice acting is quite poor with the emphasis being stressed on the wrong words and a mixture of actors that are too hammy in their delivery alongside actors which are incredibly deadpan. I couldn't help myself and had to take a video to prove just how bad the voice acting is since it needs to be heard to be believed:

I'm not sure if it sounds as good in Spanish (if there is a Spanish version) but I'm hoping it does.

Music (2/5)
There's a bit more variation to the music in this episode compared to the previous one but it still seems rather dull most of the time.

Graphics (4/5)
Graphics are generally pretty good. The game adopts a clean, crisp comic-book style that's visually appealing.

Replay (1/5)
It took me about 1.5 hours to finish this game but once you've figured it all out, replaying it would only take a matter of minutes. While you can forgive the first episode for being short (as it was free), it becomes an issue when you're charged $6USD for only such a small part of a game and one that's actually quite light on story as far as adventure games go. Sure, there are Steam achievements to get and Steam Trading Cards to acquire, but this game seems to lack anything substantial.

Polish (5/5)
I didn't encounter any serious bugs and no visual ones like I encountered in the previous episode.

Score – 5/10

To be fair, Reversion - The Meeting is probably as bad as the first episode in terms of its terribly short length, poor voice acting, dull music and clumsy dialogue. What makes it worse though is the fact its poor UI has the potential to make you go on a wild goose chase to solve this episode's puzzles. To cap it all off, you're expected to pay money for this episode for a pretty average experience when you could play the first episode for free. If you're curious about the game, make sure you try the free first episode before deciding to buy the second. If you like it and are prepared to pay for the same amount of gameplay, then give Reversion - The Meeting a shot. Otherwise, avoid.

If you want to get the game, you can get it on Steam.

If you like this game, you might like...

[ LINK: Official Reversion website ]