Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Walking Dead season 2 Review (PS Vita)

It's all about growing up in 'The Walking Dead season 2'
Written by Drei Medina

This game review contains major story spoilers for season one. Read at your own risk smile emoticon

I also highly recommend playing season one before jumping to season two as there are a lot of ingame choices and scenes you won't understand without knowledge from the previous season.
“Sometimes you have to hurt someone else to protect the people you care about.”
With these words, ten-year-old Clementine's innocence was shed and from a caring father figure's sweet pea in season one she is now all grown up all too fast.
The Walking Dead season 2 pits the young heroine Clementine in a world that's gone to hell after a zombie apocalypse broke loose. In this world, the dead kill the living and the living cannot be trusted.

Not the same without Lee
The interactive RPG-action game focuses on Clementine's bid for survival two years after losing Lee Everette, the stranger who cared for her like his own in the previous season.
Although she has become far smarter in dealing with dangers from both dead and living, her conscience still carries the burden of Lee's death which haunts her every now and then.
She has to deal with this burden while meeting new people and groups, relying on what Lee taught her to determine the best option for survival.
As a direct sequel to TWD season 1, the game has big shoes to fill but it was still able to get on par with the previous season in terms of plot.
The story delivers the same thrilling and dramatic experience the previous game was well known for while attempting to give players a sense of attachment to Clem during her newfound hardships.
To further strengthen Clem's new role as lead character, a handful of fresh faces with a couple of returning friends from the previous season are added to the mix. Some characters from season one's 400 days episode will also play major roles in season two.
Voice acting for all these characters was superb and played a key role in stirring up the emotions of players to make them feel one with the scene which creates an immersive experience.
However, the absence of Lee proves too much for fans of the previous season. It somehow just doesn't feel right without Lee Everette's comforting character who was always there watching out for Clementine.
Lee and his bond with Clem as her father figure has been what defined season one and has probably made too much of an impression leaving a large void of deprivation and emptiness without his presence.
But through this players can easily empathize with Clem in her most trying times without Lee which unravels a vulnerable child's dramatic story of loss and survival.

The Walking Dead season 2 breaks down into 5 episodes composed of at least 10 chapters each where the player, through Clementine is placed in a position where she needs to mature quickly in a hostile and unforgiving environment.
Clem's character is always the focal point in each episode especially in scenes of violence and conflict where difficult decisions must be made.
Just like the previous season, players are given the option of choosing how they interact with other characters during these scenes.
Choices range from giving a kind answer to being rude, neutral or just keeping silent and letting the other person talk.
This allows players to choose between acting as a cold-hearted Clementine who only thinks of her survival or a caring Clementine who genuinely considers others' welfare.
Through this process the game adapts to tailor your story based on your choices. The ending and ultimately Clem's fate will depend strongly on your final decision.
But the most fun part comes when you decide how Clem reacts as an “adult” to shit-just-hit-the-fan moments that require split-second decision making often resulting in someone getting killed.
Aside from this, the game retains season one's interactive FPS action and detective sequences but these are arguably less engaging compared to before.
Meanwhile, the graphics department has maintained the overall visually pleasing aesthetics of the game from its characters, cutscenes and backgrounds.

Second season of technical hiccups
Unfortunately, all the same problems in season one make an annoying comeback this season and seem much worse.
There's always that bad transition during scene changes which take away the immersive experience from the game. Occasional slow loading times also do nothing to improve gameplay.
Some parts also lag so bad that it will usually result in your untimely death especially during tense zombie encounters which becomes frustrating.
These technical hiccups all cause unnecessary frustration for the player's part and should have already been adressed by Telltale games.

The verdict: 9/10 [Excellent]

The Walking Dead season 2 is an interactive RPG-action game that banks on a strong story with extremely engaging gameplay that tailors the story progress based on the player's choices.
The sequel to season one is only marred by a repeat of previous glitches that should have already been addressed by Telltale games. This ruins the game's immersive experience and results in unnecessary frustration for players.

+ Strong, solid story
+ Catchy characters
+ Engaging experience
- Bad scene transition
- Slow loading times
- Occasional lag during autosave

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