Season two of Telltale’s The Walking Dead has provided us with a fantastic glimpse into the mind of Clementine and her often dysfunctional relationships with the various people surrounding her. Episode 4, entitled Amid the Ruins, provides another great study of the dynamics between group members and makes you question every single member of your group and their motivations.
Amid the Ruins takes off running from where episode three left off and the tension of trying to guide Clementine through the herd of zombies that are attacking Carver’s camp is fantastic. A decision that is made at the end of episode three immediately causes some ripples within the group and when they all finally reconvene, the atmosphere is less than ideal.
This episode is centered around the group trying to get back together after all that has happened so that Rebecca can finally have her baby and they can protect it. Clementine is forced to try and mend some broken relationships with group members and assess the motives of some of the others. Trying to decide who you can and can’t trust is a major part of the game and this episode plays that very well.
The episode ends with a fantastic cliffhanger ending and some major character deaths that will no doubt have a huge impact on the group going into the final episode of the season. Telltale’s fatalistic approach to telling this story is apparent with every new choice and consequence. Just when you think you have beaten the odds, Telltale is there to knock you back down a peg and it never ceases to amaze me how futile all of your efforts begin to feel after a while.
Amid the Ruins has a very interesting story to tell and the backdrop of the Civil War ruins does a great job of highlighting the double entendre of the title. The atmosphere of the group, the choices you have to make and the way that the story progresses are all exactly as well written as we have come to expect from Telltale.
The usual technical hiccups are apparent in this episode but not to the extent of some of the other episodes so I would actually say that I was pleased with the presentation this time around. The entire episode felt like it was taking place at a critical juncture in this group’s development and the surroundings were so important that I am glad the presentation was a little bit better.
The Walking Dead’s penultimate episode of the season delivered on the promise of putting you through some horrible scenarios and pushing this group to its breaking point. Clementine is forced to grow up fast and is no longer seen as a little girl by the group. This makes her interactions much more interesting and the game that much more fun to experience.