|The only time in the season everyone's genuinely happy|
- Developer: Telltale Games
- Publisher: Telltale Games
- Release Date: 23 July 2014
- Time played: 1.5 hours
Episode 4 for The Walking Dead Season 2 was released yesterday and it has to be the most depressing episode I've played this season yet. If this review seems to look similar to the previous reviews that's because it is - but what would you expect considering only really the plot would change between episodes?
This episode follows straight after episode three, In Harm's Way where Clementine and her group are escaping the hardware store through a zombie horde. Those who manage to survive meet at a rendezvous point which is an old Civil War museum. Tensions definitely run high in this episode as the size of the party dwindles dramatically.
As mentioned, this is probably one of the most depressing episodes I've played in Season 2 yet it happens to contain one of the happiest moments too (and that's pretty rare to come across in a series like The Walking Dead). Clementine also becomes a more prominent figure in the group with many decisions being eventually made by her, almost without question. Some of these decisions result in disaster although usually the alternative isn't too attractive either, but that's The Walking Dead for you in a nutshell: you're damned if you do, damned if you don't.
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.
Voice acting is great but that's to be expected from veteran voice actors – the only issue I had was that the audio was sometimes too loud or too soft.
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.
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.
|Clementine learns some valuable lessons on survival in this episode|
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. This episode is short just like Episode 3 but somehow it didn't feel as short, so I'm not going to penalise it for its short duration.
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 – 8/10Amid the Ruins is the most depressing Season 2 episode I've played yet. Your survivors will start dropping off like flies and you'll have to make some difficult decisions in this episode, potentially making you unpopular or even condemning someone to death. There is a brief glimmer of hope during the episode too though so it's a bit of an emotional rollercoaster ride.
If you want to get the game, you can get it on Steam.
If you like this game, you might like...
- The Walking Dead: Season One (2012)
- The Walking Dead: 400 Days (2013)
- The Walking Dead Season 2: All That Remains (2013)
[ LINK: Official The Walking Dead website ]