The Walking Dead: Season Two's first episode walks through familiar territory

"All That Remains" is the first episode in a five-part series. We plan on doing a formal review of the entire second season of The Walking Dead once it is complete. Until then, here are our impressions of the first episode.

Telltale wowed gamers with the first season of The Walking Dead. Forcing players to suffer through the consequence of instant life-or-death decisions was certainly novel enough to win our Game of the Year award. When Telltale announced plans for a second season, fans were eager to find out more.

The second season kicks off today on PC, Mac, and PS3 and it's pretty much exactly what you'd expect. This time, you assume the role of Clementine, and you'll be forced to make many similar life-or-death choices in Robert Kirkman's bleak post-apocalyptic world.


Of course, it can feel too familiar at times. Systems haven't changed too much for Telltale's second season. Once again, NPCs will "remember what you said" in conversation, and good intentions are often rewarded with unexpected consequences. As in the first season, there will be moments where multiple characters' lives are in your hands--and you won't be able to save everyone.

The overly familiar situations that Clementine finds herself in may ultimately expose the gimmick of The Walking Dead's gameplay, but what kept me going through the first episode was my interest in seeing Clementine grow. We've invested an entire five-episode series into her. It's fascinating to see how she's changed in the time between the first and second season, and it's especially moving to hear references to her time with Lee.

Unsurprisingly, it's the narrative that will keep players going through The Walking Dead's second season. There have been some enhancements to the gameplay. Take, for example, more dynamic action sequences. While the annoying "Game Over" can still happen from failing to complete certain QTEs, the fight scenes offer more variation, letting you choose different objects in the environment, for example. It's still not Heavy Rain, but it's a huge improvement over the game's first season.

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400 Days showcased Telltale's ability to establish interesting characters in a short amount of time, and while they're not as successful in "All That Remains," they're clearly setting up threads that will pay off in future episodes to come. It would be a shame to say any more, as it's unlikely you want spoilers to mar your experience.

At the end of the day, the second season of The Walking Dead is exactly what you'd expect: more of the same. Telltale is seemingly more confident in their storytelling this around, pulling harder punches even faster than before. And while the narrative gimmicks are becoming overly familiar, seeing Clementine grow into a capable survivor will be reward enough for fans of the series.

This review is based on downloadable PC code provided by the publisher. The Walking Dead: Season Two is now available digitally on PC and Mac for $22.49. The game will also be available on PS3 later today, on Xbox 360 on December 18, on iOS on December 19, and eventually on Vita. The game is rated M.