Monday, December 23, 2013

Changing Characters and Strategies with Telltale Games' "The Walking Dead:" A Video Game Review ("All That Remains")

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Release Date: December 17th, 2013 (XBox, PC, PS3).

Developer: Telltale Games.

Telltale Games has started a new season for its online game, "The Walking Dead." The first episode, "All That Remains," was released December 17th, 2013 on multiple formats. And, this new season begins with a new central character, Clementine. Players will have to adapt to this new character and the challenges that come along with playing such a young character. The story for "All That Remains" is one that will draw most players in and this gamer enjoyed this introduction to the new season.

The game begins and ends with Clementine. Fans of Seas. 1 will recognize a couple of characters from the previous season, but they are only here to maintain the continuity of the series. Soon, Clementine is mostly on her own in the woods of Georgia. She has to deal with aggressive dogs, raiders and of course, the undead. She deals with these conflicts mostly through sneakiness and a level head. This new protagonist brings some challenges, though.

Clementine is not one to rush into action elements. So, players will have to learn how to dodge, rather than attack. Telltale has introduced some new game mechanics, which might be slightly familiar to "Wolf Among Us" players. There is button mashing here, but gamers will also have to learn how to sidestep a lot. Because Clementine is young and female, confrontations are dealt with through evasion and sneaking about settings. Lee Everett's gungho approach and brashness are long gone. This change in strategy was welcomed by one gaming fan.

"All That Remains" is a solid entry into Seas. 2 of "The Walking Dead." The narrative here takes place sixteen months after Seas. 1, so settings and characters have changed dramatically. A whole new set of survivors are introduced and the usual inter-group squabbling and mistrust is present as in the first season. Still, the animations are entertaining, with the game staying true to its source material, Robert Kirkman's comic. There are no pacing issues here. Instead, there are a lot of action sequences with moral choices offered throughout the journey. All of these elements create for an enjoyable playthrough.

Epis. 1 of Seas. 2 is a recommended game for fans of storytelling and light action games. There is about two hours of playing here, with a second playthrough offering two more hours. The change of protagonists brings more challenges to players. Though, Clementine's dialogue choices seem awfully mature in a few scenes. Still, "All That Remains" offers an exciting time, fighting or running from the undead in the backwoods of Georgia.

Overall: 7.5 out of 10 (interesting story, intriguing moral choices, developing characters and lots of options for interactions).

A trailer for Seas. 2 is here:

"All That Remains" Trailer on 28DLA

The game's homepage is here:

"All That Remains" at Telltale Games

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