Reviews
The Walking Dead: Season 2
Playstation Vita

By Malcolm Inglis - February 18th, 2015

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I’m not going to go much into the story of The Walking Dead, we all know the premise from the hit TV show based on the graphic novels, and the main character of this story is familiar if you played the previous season of the TellTale Games series. The Walking Dead: Season 2 (played on the Playstation Vita) follows the journey of Clementine, a young girl who has managed to outlive many of the adults she has encountered to become a weary (but hardened) survivor in the post-apocalyptic landscape where humanity has been decimated by a zombie, er “walker” outbreak.

When first starting the game on the PS Vita, it gives the option to import the Season 1 save file with all of your choices and consequences intact; how much of a bearing this has on the new season, I’m not too sure, since I unfortunately lost my previous save data (pro tip: always remember to back up to the cloud). So I had to start fresh. The game begins similar to the new TV show episodes, complete with a “previously on The Walking Dead” introduction to get you up to speed on the continuing story if you forgot (or haven’t played) the previous season. While this game can be played on its own, you really should play the first one to keep things in order.

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Apparently someone forgot to put the lid on the boiling spaghetti sauce.

Clementine starts off her adventure in Episode One: All That Remains, with Omid and his girlfriend Christa (who were also in the previous season and have become Clementine’s guardians). You take control of Clementine as the three of you approach a gas station to search for supplies. The game looks and controls like an interactive graphic novel with cell-shaded graphics and limited character movement with set interactions within the environment. For instance, Clementine enters the gas station washroom to get cleaned up; once in the washroom, you use the Vita’s left joystick to move Clementine around and the right joystick to explore the environment – and once you hover over an interactive object it provides a visual cue that Clementine can perform an action (by pressing one of the corresponding buttons). In this case, she can push open the stall doors to check if the coast is clear. Once she is certain it is safe, she approaches the sink, where you can then select her backpack so that she can get a rag to wipe her face.

Shortly afterward, Clementine accidentally drops her water bottle and it rolls under the stall; as she goes inside to retrieve it, someone enters the washroom. Clementine tries to hide quietly in the stall as the woman begins to go through Clemintine’s bag, taking her pistol in the process. Upon hearing Clementine make a noise, the woman orders Clementine out of the stall at gunpoint. She asks if Clementine has anything on her, where you are then presented with dialog options to reply to the character by pressing a button. Telltale makes things interesting by giving you a limited time to respond, and your decisions decide how the story plays out.

While the new lady is asking questions, Omid slowly enters, surprising the woman as the door closes behind him and getting shot by her in the process. Christa then enters and fires her gun at the woman. Within the first few minutes of the game, Omid is dead and so is his attacker. Clementine has already lost someone important, and this all happens before the title screen even comes up. Talk about setting the stage for an emotional ride! All the feels!

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The patrons at this establishment are rather unruly.

As well as exploring the environment and using the dialogue options, the game also uses quick time events (QTEs) to control the more heavy action sequences – such as running from a horde of walkers. On the Vita it uses the touch screen and buttons for QTEs and requires you to be pretty quick, swiping in the indicated direction or pressing the correct button. Repeating the QTEs over and over after slipping up can get a bit frustrating, including watching the same animation of a zombie biting your face off five or ten times in a row. It doesn’t help that the load times are a little long, forcing you to have to wait about 10 seconds when you fail – this is a bit much.

Playing walking dead is not necessarily a “fun” experience, it can be down right depressing, even when you try to play positive and be a good person, you often get punished. For instance, when I tried to feed a hungry dog some beans it decided to just try and take a chunk of tasty arm meat from me instead. Of course, given the theme, this is really not unexpected, and the game is still a very intriguing experience as you begin to feel a connection to Clementine and her struggle partway through your journey. She is put in difficult situations and the choices that you make for her really do have big consequences for the overall story arc, which keeps you playing to see what happens; it also adds to the replayability by allowing you to make different choices on subsequent play-throughs.

The Walking Dead: Season 2 is a must-play title for the Vita, with great story-telling and well-crafted game-play right from the get-go. These attributes are really carried over from the previous Season, and if you haven’t tried Season One, you should grab it and get caught up first before moving onto Season 2 – for the best experience. Once you are done, you can then wait in anticipation for Season 3, which will be released later this year.

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