Casual Reviews – The Walking Dead: Season 2

I have never played anything by Telltale Games. Having to pay per episode really…really…really turns me off. Buying episodic games is like buying an EA game before the inevitable DLC (a.k.a. full game) bundle comes out next year for the same price. I have refused to dip my toe into those impure waters.

Then, in the month of November, PS+ decided that Season 2 of The Walking Dead would be free. Season 1 was also placed on discount…I see you Sony…I see what you did there, you cheeky turds.

Thankfully my back pocket is stitched together with a will of iron. Instead of succumbing to the temptation…I began Season 2, allowing choices from the first season to be generated.

Environment

It’s a zombie world. Let’s be honest, the media is vomiting zombies at the moment. Better yet, it is spewing zombies from every known orifice and possibly some unknown as well. Now, I love me some zombies, don’t get me wrong…but there’s only so much love this lover can give. I have become very protective of my zombie love and give it only to those zombies who prove they are able to satisfy.

But thankfully, The Walking Dead has more than just zombies. It has characters that grow and develop. It has relationships that change over the course of the game (how much you can influence this is debatable, but I’ll get to that in Gameplay). Most importantly, it has a main character that I want to play as. Without Clem, this game fails. She is young enough to give the group drama a different dynamic from typical dreary post-apocalyptic stories, and old enough that choices have a moral weight she can comprehend.

Zombies and all that good stuff are just the backdrop to tell a coming of age story. That is what sets The Walking Dead apart. The story is the focus, not the zombies. Zombies are just an excuse to put a young girl in intense situations at an intriguing age. The story is so good and characters so well created that my wife fell apart crying at the end. This caused a chain reaction that resulted in my eyes watering…slightly, of course.

Many feels were had that evening.

Gameplay

This is basically a point and click game for consoles that also allows you to walk within a restricted area at a few locations. The majority of your time will be spent deciding what to say during conversations. And this is the real horror of this video game…conversation choices are timed. This resulted in my blood pressure increasing by 10 mmHg, shortening my life span by 1.75 years. I understand the need for this, especially during big decisions that would only give you a few seconds in real life. It makes you panic in the moment as you rapidly weigh your options.

It stressed my balls off…until…

Do I feed the dog or stuff my face in front of it like the greedy piglet I truly am? Who gives a crap? The same thing will happen. I discovered this because I fully intended to feed the dog, but time runs out quickly on that choice. I watched in horror as what I assumed was a result of my total-full-dick-move unfolded before my eyes. My wife looked at me with shock and disgust written on her eyeballs. I loaded my previous save, scavenged the camp, smacked around the zombie again and finally got back to this scene, ready to have a puppy companion for the remainder of the game…however, I saw essentially the same scene over again…Clem avoids becoming puppy chow. This completely destroyed any feelings of choice I had.

Save the baby? Run for cover? If the baby is supposed to die it’ll die…run for cover. Because there isn’t much else in the way of gameplay, I must admit that I was disappointed in the effects my choices had. I assumed that since this game’s only real draw is story and choice, every choice you made would lead somewhere different. Instead, it is simply a character development tool. You can use choices to develop characters in ways you want, but ultimately you will see a very similar…very good story, until you reach the end.

Replay Value

Had this game given more paths to blunder down, the replay value would have been phenomenal. As it stands, the choices, their impact, and the effect you have in the game is similar–if not less–than many other RPGs that offer oodles more in their respective gameplay. The first playthrough is great, but then you might as well just watch the other endings on YouTube. Otherwise you’ll have to sit through essentially the same story again, without other gameplay to keep you occupied, before seeing the other endings. I am not patient enough for that nonsense.

Online

mmmmm…no

Conclusion

For free, there is no question…download and enjoy it. Get some zombie love. The story is worth your time. If you are reading this after November, which you probably will since November is almost over, the game is $25. There is no way I could recommend spending that amount of money on this game. That gets you halfway to a full game and is more than you need for many PSN games. Because it is released in episodes, the 5 bucks might not seem like much, but it adds up. It adds to $10 more than the typical PSN game price of $15.

If you can’t get it for free or dirt cheap, do yourself a favor and find a “let’s play” on YouTube. Although the choices might not be exactly what you would want, the scenes will ultimately play out the same. Then watch all the different endings and you are done for free. You aren’t missing much in the way of gameplay and you can use the money to get another game with more variety to offer. Even at $15 I would have a hard time recommending it over the likes of Child of Light. Should it ever drop below $10 for a season, I could understand buying it, however, I did not buy season 1 while it was $8, even after I enjoyed season 2. I saw no point, as I could just watch YouTube to see what had happened to reach season 2.

The Walking Dead

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31 thoughts on “Casual Reviews – The Walking Dead: Season 2

  1. The zombie glut is a phenomenon that I could write a socio-psychological essay about, but that might be more time and energy than the zombies deserve, hah.

    Timed dialogue choices are indeed about as stupid/misguided as motion blur for ‘more realism’ or camera splash for ‘more immersion’. You can’t really do a spontaneous reaction, but have to quickly read the offered options and examine them for suitability with your impulsive thought process. I hated them in the Witcher games especially because there the offered options don’t even reliably match what your character then says.

    I don’t like the episodic business model either. I don’t generally despise it, but personally it’s totally not my thing. I did buy some Telltale games once. Tales of Monkey Island and Sam & Max, all episodes of all seasons, for a GOG discount that was far greater than you ever get on Steam for those games. That was an easy decision. I think I paid about 7 € for that whole package.

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    • Yeah, I don’t play games to get stressed, I play them to relax. Timed dialogue really messes with that. I agree, the Zombie craze has surprised me. I wouldn’t even know what to say about it haha.

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  2. Season 2 is a worthwhile sequel, but season 1 is superior. Both suffer from the inevitable pull off the plot which I agree can make some decisions feel meaningless, but in season 1 your choices seemed to carry more weight in terms of your relationship with other characters so the inescapable plot progression wasn’t as important. Season 1 also had the harder hitting (emotionally) moments and decisions, I had trouble caring about the characters in season 2 (which is pretty much the point of the game).

    Having said that, I’m hugely biased, I like telltale and point – and – click so I’ll always say they’re great, but I understand that the style might not be for everyone. Square – enix’s “Life is Strange” is well worth a look if you liked the engaging story but wanted more gameplay elements. Again the overriding plot is fairly fixed, but there is much more ‘game’ to it and the rewind mechanic lets you essentially try out different responses for size.

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  3. Great post have to agree totally, got season one then season two as a used copy, sorry not that it’s a poor game or anything just there are better games out there. Do like the if or could have element to each section and to be totally honest thought the swearing was put in for shock rather than realism but that could be just me

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  4. This is on my “Want to Play” list. And with these games, I wait for a whole season to be out because it saves me the hassle. Plus the waiting thing…. I want to play all at once. But I love how these games are set up! (Recently finished Wolf Among Us).

    But I also have a special love for TellTale Games… but their style isn’t for everyone. But I adore it.

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  5. Like you I hadn’t played either of the Walking Dead games but gave Season 2 a spin after it popped up on PS+.
    Loved every second of my playthrough and thought it did a great job at telling a story and getting you invested in the characters and their storylines.
    You’re right though, the replay value is nowhere near as high as I first thought. The major moments are going to happen regardless of which decisions you make, which is a real bummer and makes Until Dawn the better game of this genre (in my opinion).
    Still, a really enjoyable 6 hours of gaming and will definitely pick up Season 1 at some point 🙂

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    • I keep hearing about Until Dawn and I really want to give it a go. Maybe when the price comes down. But yeah, the story was great and the first play through was amazing but then I realized there was no point to playing it again.

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      • Until Dawn has had a pretty decent price drop here in the UK recently (around £20). For that price I think its well worth it. Not the longest game in the world but I found myself playing through it numerous times, killing off different characters each time to see how the story changed >:D

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  6. (Note I didn’t actually read more than the first paragraph of this post because I’m not finished with this game so didn’t want spoilers). That being said, I couldn’t help but notice that you were upset about having to pay per episode. You know you can buy the whole game at once, right? It’s only about $20 and includes all five episodes as they come out. They’ll just download when they become available so you don’t have to remember to get them. All the Telltale games are like that. Makes it nice actually, because sometimes I forget I’ve bought a game that releases new episodes, so to then have a new episode download when I wasn’t expecting it is like a special treat!

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    • Yeah I do address price later and make the point that it is able to charge more than I personally believe it is worth by making it episodic. But yeah. Finish the game before reading more. 🙂 I try to be spoiler free but…you never know.

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  7. I’ve played season 1 and I share your disappointed in the effects the choices have. What is the point of giving players a choice, when it doesn’t even matter?

    I liked the game for what it is, but It could have been a lot better.

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  8. Clem is a great character and season one is probably stronger. Like you commented, the choices are just illusions of choices with little in the way of consequences. The whole game is a bit janky and lacking in refinement. If you want the emotional pull within a better gaming experience, check out Life is Strange.

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