Game Review: The Walking Dead DE: Season 2 – PS4

Title The Walking Dead: Season 2 (via Definitive Edition all-in-one disc)
Platform: PlayStation 4
Genre:zombies, telltale, story driven, adventure, point and click
Date completed:September 2021
Information on game

Summary review: From the first scene of season 2 episode one, I could tell the engine had improved by at least ten times. And also it seems like somebody actually put sometime into making sure it actually works with a gamepad on a console.
Graphics: I think the graphics have actually improved a little since season one and there’s not nearly the shadow issues. These games aren’t intended to show off graphical features of a GPU anyway.
Music: Like season one, the music is just…perfect. I don’t know if I’d say it’s improved but at least it wasn’t ruined or anything.
Controls: Thanks to the TellTale engine improvements, gamepad play is much, much better. I was going through the episodes at a much faster rate thanks to this.
Replayability: I found there wasn’t nearly the appeal of replaying this one as season one, that’s mostly because the split story paths were not as appealing. I think I still will eventually play through it again though.
Total score: 90 / 100 – a dramatic improvement in the engine and controls and didn’t encounter any bugs like season 1, but the story isn’t as good as season 1. I still rated it higher than season 1 despite this. Should probably be a draw.

Introduction

Note: This review will not contain spoilers for the story of the game, just some commentary on the story without going into details and some information on the play mechanics.

I have already made a post reviewing season one of TellTale’s The Walking Dead. Since it’s a little hard to talk about season 2 without season 1 and since the events of season 1 flow directly into season 2 I will include many spoilers of season 1. Why in the world would anyone read a review of season 2 of a game that’s so dependent on a prior season? Not sure. Felt somehow obligated to post a warning as best I could.

The Premise

In my reviews of The Last of Us and The Last of Us Part II, I commented about the disjointed feeling from the time jumps and how it made it feel harder to connect with the characters if they’re basically different people after a multi-month or ill-defined amount of time…jump.

Well this one also has a time jump. But it’s just the one and it makes sense on some level. And it’s a very recognizable Clementine, even 16 months later.

Actually, speaking of those Last of Us games, season two has something in common with Last of Us Part II as well. Okay mostly the isolated sky lodge. But this season 2 came out many years prior to Last of Us Part II and it’s hard to believe it’s just a coincidence. Way too many things in common for that.

Adventure gaming 2: the gamepadenning

Sorry. I like terrible titles of things.

As mention, season 2 has a much improved engine with some kind of gamepads in mind. Assuming you finished season 1 of this game with a gamepad season 2 will be a breeze by comparison. I kind of wish they could have re-done season 1 with the season 2 engine. At least for game consoles.

A new story (season 1 spoilers)

So uh – and obviously a spoiler – Lee dies at the end of season 1. It’s a real tear jerker too. I mean I don’t want to say it’s exactly like the old movie Old Yeller but…okay maybe it is.

I say that because I think there’s no way around Kenny’s fate at the end, so Clementine will end up with the same two characters at the start of season 2. Who immediately die. That’s not that much of a spoiler as it happens literally within 15 minutes of episode one.

Clementine ends up with a new group of survivors, who have an adversary to overcome (sort of similar to The Governor for any fans) and eventually have to set off on their own. From there it’s one backdrop and set piece after another as the group members change and the group itself evolves over time.

The ending of season 1 definitely differs from season 2 quite a lot in that there’s a cliffhanger choice that must be made. Although I have a feeling the start of season 3 is going to be very similar regardless of that choice. I mean I don’t know that, just a hunch.

There’s also something of a twist revelation part way through. I won’t hint at what it is. It’s just kind of surprising…and no explanation offered. A “yadda-yadda-yadda”, if you will.

Still not bitten (bitch)

That last “bitch” part isn’t in the game. Kind of wish it was. Too many memories of Breaking Bad.

Over the course of the game Clementine proves how smart and resourceful she is to all the adults. And at some point the adults seem to acknowledge her as an adult. Although they seem to try and clean up their language when she’s around sometimes.

Speaking of…that dog bite was never mentioned again. Was that supposed to be some kind of metaphor? Just foreshadowing? Seems like someone should have asked if it was healed and…anyway…

There are a number of characters lost but still alive over the course of these two seasons. I don’t know yet if they’ll re-appear in future seasons. I’m kind of hoping so. That happened in season one as well as season 2.

Now some negatives…

Unlike the first season I can’t really complain about the controls or unoptimized engine in this one. In fact I finished it in a fraction of the time of the first one because I didn’t have to re-play nearly as many scenes since the controls weren’t fighting me.

Unfortunately the story was not nearly as good as the first one. None of the characters had the “screen presence” for lack of better term that Lee had. I mean Clementine is still great, she’s just that 11 year old that can make suggestions and support people in different situations but isn’t really driving the story.

It’s not that it’s a bad story or a non-worthwhile follow-up and it’s not like trying to do an even-more-gut-punchier-story would have gone over a lot better…I just didn’t think it wasn’t nearly as compelling as season 1.

Conclusion

I did enjoy season 2 as much as anything else. And obviously if you want to go through to the final season this is part of that story. It just isn’t something that’s going to be sticking with me for years to come like season 1. I’m not even sure I could tell you the name of half the characters.

There’s something of a surprise sequence in episode 5. Not saying what it is. Just something to look forward to episode 5.

That there are no bugs or control issues to complain about in this one, only complaints about the lesser compelling story should say something about it.

Since I haven’t yet played seasons 3 and 4, I’m kind of looking forward to experiencing them.


Metadata

Method of control used Regular PS4 gamepad
Controllable via both one analog stick or digital four-way (“HAT”) n/a
Hardware requirements: n/a
Supports 21:9 aspect ratio screens?n/a
Device(s) tried on PS4 (non-pro)
TV2020-era 55″ 4k TV with HDR specialness
Initial setup required Turned on subtitles
Sound setup5.1 surround system/receiver
Total time to completion~10 hours (the game and PS4 don’t track time elapsed so best guess)
difficulty level“Normal” difficulty, turned on some visual click points to be less frustrating.
Random assortment of meta data

3 thoughts on “Game Review: The Walking Dead DE: Season 2 – PS4

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