In 2012 Telltale released five episodes of The Walking Dead to massive acclaim from fans and critics alike. The game allowed you to step into the role of Lee Everett, a man who encounters a young girl named Clementine and needs to do everything he can to protect her from the zombie apocalypse.
Season two of The Walking Dead puts you into the role of Clementine as she tries to fend for herself following the events of the first season and the first episode, entitled All That Remains, sets a very different tone from the one that gamers enjoyed in the first season.
The biggest change from season one to season two that people will notice is that you now control Clementine and not Lee. This provides a much different gameplay experience, as Clementine is a young girl and not a full grown man like Lee. Clementine feels much more vulnerable and the mechanics shy away from direct confrontation to match that. You will be forced to run, dodge, and outwit enemies more so than with Lee.
This change in the gameplay mechanic works very well and adds a whole new level of ambiance to the game. Instead of feeling like an invincible tank (like you do in many games), you are constantly on your toes and at a disadvantage.
The controls are not perfect however, and many of the prompts have changed which can make the game slightly difficult to settle into for experienced players. There are several areas where you need to press a direction on the d-pad to evade enemies and that mechanic stuck a bit on my playthrough (causing a nasty death scene for Clem more than once). None of the issues with the control are serious but they can be a bit frustrating if they end up killing you and making you restart a portion of the game.
The story begins in heart-wrenching fashion very early on and quickly makes you start to doubt your ability to feel safe around anyone. One portion in particular makes you feel very safe and then quickly shatters that illusion. This is one of the more effective uses of the “false sense of security” and it was one of the highlights of the episode.
The Walking Dead imports saves from season one (or randomly makes choices for you if you didn’t play it) and while some characters from season one are present in the story, you will quickly find yourself surrounded by new people and a serious dilemma: Who do you trust?
This theme of trust is one that Telltale has been noting as an important one for the season and All That Remains definitely sets that up very well. A lot of time has passed and people have become much more cautious in this world. That leads to you not being able to trust other characters easily and other characters not trusting you very easily.
There are a lot of new people brought into the fold for this episode and it can be a bit daunting to try and remember all of the new characters that are brought into the story. Some seem to be more important than others but just like season one, plenty are sure to disappear or be killed off relatively soon.
Choice is still a very important part of The Walking Dead and some of the decisions that you will have to make are very hard in the limited time you have to make your mind up. Because Clementine is a more vulnerable character than Lee, your choices feel like they have much more weight and could more easily spell out disaster for you.
The choice of what to say in dialogue situations is also important and you don’t get a whole lot of time to mull over the most important decisions so you need to act quickly. Silence is a viable option in many cases and can be effectively used to advance Clementine’s agenda in a conversation. Knowing who you are talking to and carefully deciding what to say is an interesting and important part of the game.
The cel-shaded graphics have been a staple of Telltale’s art direction and they continue to work very well for the game. The serious content that takes place in the story seems to work well with this art style, despite the fact that you might think they wouldn’t go together at first.
All That Remains is a very strong start to the second season of The Walking Dead that brings in a lot of new players, changes up the gameplay significantly, and masterfully shakes up the ambiance and narrative to make you feel uncomfortable most of the time.
There isn’t too much continuity to be had with the first season at this point (nothing really significant) and some of the controls can take some getting used to but this episode does not disappoint. Telltale has crafted a fantastic narrative that made you care for and protect Clementine from afar in season one and now that we have control over her actions, it is even more intense, gripping, and fascinating.