Played on PS4 – Contains S1 SPOILERS!
While unable to top the classic Season One from Telltale Games, Season Two of The Walking Dead comes pretty darn close.
A few weeks ago we finally had the original season of The Walking Dead release on current-gen systems, and a swift seven days later, Season Two was released for the first time on any console in physical form. If you read my review of Season One, you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of this series, and was thankful to replay it again using the power of the PlayStation 4. I was equally excited for S2 to come out, as I had held off on playing it until the season was complete. And now it’s finally here.
First off, I want to address the technical issues present in the second season – oh wait – there aren’t any! Unlike the original PS3 version of S1 that had a grip of technical flaws, some of which were only slightly resolved on the PS4 version, S2 seems to have finally created a version of the game that is fluid to play. Very rarely did I have framerate hiccups, and transitions between scenes is only occasionally janky. S2 also features some excellent high resolution textures, and an overall much better level of detail. This is finally The Walking Dead presentation we’ve been hoping for.
Now that I’ve addressed that, how does the game itself fair? Well, it’s excellent.
Season One ended with, depending on your decision, Clementine killing Lee before he turned or leaving him to die and turn in Savannah. The final moments of the game left us with Clementine alone, but spotting two figures on the horizon, who also spotted her. We had hoped they were Christa and Omid, and as we find out in the opening seconds of this season, our hopes were correct. Time has passed a bit, and we find Clementine, Omid, and a very pregnant Christa traveling together, still alive.
Without going into spoilers, the season kicks off with a bang, leading to some very tragic consequences for parties involved. It’s brutal and shocking, and quite honestly, not the last terrible thing Clementine will experience before you complete the 5 episodes. Season Two moves at a much faster pace than Season One, favoring more action scenes than puzzle solving / item collecting. That’s not a complaint at all either. While I think Season One is slightly better, the differences are like comparing Alien and Aliens – the former is a tense horror film and the latter is an action flick. I imagine a lot of people will have enjoyed Season Two more, and I would never fault them for that.
One thing that is consistent between the two seasons is the beautiful storytelling and character development. With Clementine as the main player this time around, we get to see her age and mature as a child growing up in a post-apocalyptic world. While her reactions are that of the player, the writing crafted for her, and the other characters, is often brutally honest and heart-wrenching.
One of the larger changes between Season One and Two is the way the “choose your own adventure” element plays out. While there are different ways that Season One can unfold – certain characters can die early or be with you til the end – it still ends with Clementine alone, and leads into Season Two. Season Two, however, can change far more drastically as you progress, and the ending can vary incredibly. I know Season Three has been announced, but I have no idea how your choices from Season One/Two can transfer into Three given the various endings.
Season Two is a non-stop kick in the face. While I didn’t become as attached to the characters or stories presented like I did in S1, the choices you have to make here, and the action involved is really ratcheted up. Couple all of that with the first worthy technical package, and you have another can’t miss game from Telltale.