Alex Lynch Reviews: TellTale's THE WALKING DEAD S2E1 - All That Remains [PC]

TellTale Games have FINALLY brought back the critically-acclaimed The Walking Dead video game series. Does a playable Clementine live up to the hype or does this little girl's adventure fall flat on it's face? Check out my take...

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By Alex Lynch - 12/22/2013
The Walking Dead Season 2: All That Remains is the first episode in the highly-anticipated return of TellTale’s critically acclaimed adventure series. However, this time players control Clementine, the little girl whom we met in the first season and bonded with, as well as teaching her how to survive. However, does TellTale’s return to Walking Dead shine as a great narrative, or has the hype fallen flat? To be honest, this episode is truly only great for the development of Clementine’s character and nothing else.

TellTale has asked that spoilers be kept to a minimum so it’s going to be hard to talk about the episode without diving into too much detail, honestly. However, there are some slight plot points that do not ruin the story that should be talked about. To start, just like the introduction to the first season, All That Remains is pretty basic. The new cast of characters is barely fleshed out and we don’t get a good understanding about their characters. Sure, we get an idea about a few of them (such as new survivor Carlos and his methods) but it’s hard to remember everyone’s names when some of them are barely on-screen. The main part of this episode deals mostly with the dilemma of how you should treat a random little girl in the wilderness. The new group of survivors has a debate after Clementine is seemingly a threat, especially after they believe she has been bitten. As Clementine, the player has to make hard choices and just show how independent she has become upon losing Lee Everett. The whole episode is just an interesting character piece for Clementine; playing as a little girl has definitely somewhat changed the style of the game, and I’m not so-sure it’s for the best. Everything seems so much smaller in-scale, in a sense. You’re barely making adult decisions, however you’re still killing walkers and having badass moments. Unfortunately, though, All That Remains seems incredibly short. None of the characters are beefed up and the pacing is incredibly off, not to mention an incredibly abrupt ending.

Unfortunately, TellTale almost hasn’t kicked it up a notch with the gameplay, sound or visuals. Sure, there’s plenty of more action in the game than there was in the first season’s premiere, but it’s the same gameplay technique used in The Wolf Among Us’ premiere. There’s almost nothing new here and the gameplay doesn’t feel fresh other than an all-new UI. Now, that’s not completely unexpected from TellTale, but the episode really feels rushed out. There was never really a moment where I was shocked at a new mechanic. However, even though the gameplay was lackluster, Jared Emerson-Johnson’s music for TellTale has significantly improved and has become very noticeable in this episode in comparison to the previous season. It’s powerful, but not that great, especially compared to other video games. Even though the stylistic nature of The Walking Dead hasn’t changed, there could’ve been room for graphical improvement, but alas we only got slightly bigger environments.

To conclude, Telltale barely stepped up their game (literally) for The Walking Dead. However, there are still some gut-punching moments and fantastic character building for Clementine contained in the episode. It’s just a shame that it’s too short and we only get to care for Clementine and none of the other new, original cast additions. The game also proves that, thus far, the 400 Days DLC has been worthless. Nevertheless, the 5$ish dollar price tag on a single episode of The Walking Dead is well-worth it but if I were a Seasons Pass owner, I’d be pissed off at first.

7.5/10

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5 Comments
charlie2094 - 12/22/2013, 9:34 AM
Nice review! More or less agree with it all, really enjoyed the episode, if not as much as any of the Season 1 episodes...sure the 400 Days DLC will play into the story in the next episodes, the characters keep talking about a certain character so might tie into that

Surprised by how much I enjoyed playing as Clementine, just a shame that none of the other characters were so interesting, didn't really care for the rest, unlike many of the Season 1 characters...maybe this Season will focus more on just having Clementine survive, unlike Season 1 having to look after Clem and others
continuezero - 12/22/2013, 10:46 AM
I enjoyed it, this is such a great series. I'm not overly excited to play as Clem but I'll take it. I would have preferred that Clem died and Lee continued, I really enjoyed Lee and the way he needed to deal with things. Looking forward to the next episode. I did think that this felt a little more polished than Season 1. The animation was a bit smoother this time.

Stupid dog!! ;)
Humperdink - 12/22/2013, 12:30 PM
Alex,

Great review. I agree with a lot of what you say about the game. I personally think it's about an 8.5 or a 9 but that's just me.

You however seemed mostly to be pretty disappointed in the game mechanics, but my thoughts on that are why should they have changed those when the focus of the game is actually the game-play and story itself?

Maybe I'm not understanding your complaint though, but are you saying the game 'options and scenarios for choice' aren't as dynamic as you'd like, or they didn't change up how the game itself is played using your controller or keyboard?

The games are structured to use a certain mechanic that really isn't supposed to be different from one another, it's the scenarios that are supposed to change.

That said, they still added a few new game-mechanics that were NOT used in the previous game. The 'lighting of paper with a cigarette lighter' and the 'listening to people on the other side of a door' were both using a specific mechanic that was not featured in the previous game. As well as the new 'dodge' mechanic.

For me there were some shocking moments in the game (no spoilers) as well as a few tense scenarios. This is however the start of a new story arc, so I feel it's gearing itself up quite well.

It's also quite possible that it felt rushed to you not because it was shorter or less robust than any other episode, but because the game hit the mark TellTale was aiming for. It left you wanting more and was so good that like with most things we do that are fun and enjoyable, the 'subjective' time simply flew by.
Blastaar - 12/22/2013, 10:12 PM
I have to agree with Humperdink here, although I do agree that this episode seemed to be very short.

In terms of smoothness in the graphics, that's always great to see but it's not necessary that they start trying to make the graphics look like "The Last Of Us" or "Beyond Too Souls". I'm very content with the "comic book" style of rendering in this game, which keeps it as being more authentic too it's origin which is from the comic book anyway. The stories, choices, and characters are very engaging, and that's all that REALLY matters here. Uber-Realisitc graphics are not necessary.
Blastaar - 12/22/2013, 10:13 PM
The question is when does the next one come out? Does anybody know?.

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