The Walking Dead became the surprise hit of 2012 when it received rave reviews from critics and gamers alike. To add to its success, the downloadable title was rewarded with numerous awards for best game, best character design and more, so it came as no surprise when Telltale Games announced a sequel. Fast forward a year and the first episode of the highly-anticipated second series is now available to download.
For those unfamiliar with the series, The Walking Dead combines point-and-click with elements of an adventure game. The second series follows directly on from the last, with Clementine (a young girl) struggling to survive day-to-day life during the zombie apocalypse.
Even from the game’s opening scenes, it’s evident that Telltale Games have once again focused on character development, and rightly so. Every decision players make has an effect on a character or situation within the game. What seem like irrelevant decisions can have a snowball effect and ultimately lead to the death of a character. It’s what made the first series so brilliant and has been retained for the second series.
Each choice is recorded and can be compared to fellow gamers’ choices through online leaderboards. It’s a welcome inclusion that allows the player to see whether they’re as cold-hearted or as compassionate as they thought.
Whereas quick-time events played a small role in the predecessor, they’re a lot more common in the latest instalment. Repeatedly tapping buttons and pressing the corresponding directions on the thumbstick are regular features in the latest episode; encouraging players to stay more alert to the goings-on. While this may not be ideal for some gamers, the quick-time events don’t take too much away from the core gameplay.
The first episode in the series, titled “All That Remains”, is an excellent introduction to the new series. However, the slow pace of the episode gives off the constant feeling that the developer are holding back, saving the real drama and the excitement for later episodes.
Apart from the slight tweak to the user interface, the graphics remain pretty much the same. Considering the series is based on the comic books of the same name, it only seems right that The Walking Dead contains comic book visuals, which have once again been brilliantly pulled off.
Another returning feature is the game’s bugs, which Telltale Games have failed to iron out. The persistent frame rate drops, flickering foliage and animation blips can be incredibly distracting, which comes as a disappointment considering the title manages to excel in every other area.
Finally, the first episode can be completed in under an hour and a half. This may come as a disappointment to gamers who want to get their money’s worth from the title, which contains little in the way of replayability. However, this is a series which opts for quality over quantity, something that shouldn’t be overlooked.
While some gamers questioned whether Telltale Games would be able to replicate the charm and character development the first series provided so well, they needn’t worry as the second series has got off to a flying start. Telltale Games have provided fans with everything they asked for and more. Fingers crossed the rest of the series is to the same, if not higher standard.