The Walking Dead: Season Two is like almost every sequel, bigger, flashier, but not as good as the original. I will forever claim that the first season of The Walking Dead is one of the best games ever made, so the sequel sits in an impossible situation to live up to it.
As a self-admitted trophy whore, I played through this game again on the Vita instead of replaying the much better version on the PS4. The Vita version is incredibly frustrating as the game barely functions on it. There are many situations where the game slows down to a frame rate in the single digits (I don’t know for sure, but it felt that way) which made the quick time events difficult to perform. Below are two instances where the game becomes close to unplayable and ruins the cinematic immersion.
The typical Telltale glitches (long load times during the previously on segments, audio dropping, cut scenes catching up to the audio) made appearances which are unacceptable at this point, but I have gotten used to them. I believe they are a small price to pay for playing great story based games. One common glitch is polygons popping in and out. In Season 2 (spoilers) a little girl named Sarah is struggling with her mental disorder and inability to deal with stress. A highly emotional scene where this conflict with Sarah comes to a head is ruined by one of these glitches. Can Clementine convince her to keep fighting, to not give up and die? Instead of trying to answer that question and comprehend the tragedy of that situation, I was distracted by her glasses going in and out of her face. It completely ruined the scene.
In the Vita version of this game, there is a strange stylized border on the screen that goes away when dialogue options emerge on screen. I have begun playing The Wolf Among Us on the Vita and it also has a border, so it must be a weird Vita thing. I got used to it after a few episodes.
The quick time events and actions are more cinematic in their presentation and some new button combinations were added in Season Two. Holding the X button while completing a joy stick movement, and incorporating a lock on with shoulder button actions were the two main additions.
The plot for Season Two is ambitious and incorporates many new characters, but it didn’t feel as fresh or well written as Season One. Clementine joins a similar group as she did in Season One which includes a rationale leader, an unlikeable hothead, another little kid, and a lady who selfishly only cares about herself and husband (and unborn baby). All of the cliché character traits where covered. All of the characters in the 400 Days bonus episode appear in Season Two serving as a bridge between the two games.
It’s hard to predict how people would survive in a zombie infest post-apocalyptic world, but I am getting bored with the communities run by a power hungry dictator. People would likely pool their resources and live together, but why is each one led by an asshole? Carver (voiced by Michael Madsen) runs a ruthless community in a mall (reference to Dawn of the Dead) and is a massive prick. I figured he would be the games main villain, but he is defeated by chapter 4, and two new villains emerge, a random Russian guy, and a crazed Kenny.
I say this with the qualifier that I have played through Season One 3 times and Season Two now 2 times (I have fatigued myself) but Season Two didn’t contain anything special or unique in its story. Season One had the relationship between Lee and Clementine and the Michonne mini-series focused on the psychological trauma of living in such an awful world (I have yet to play A New Frontier). Season Two is just Clementine surviving with various groups of people moving from one bad situation to the next. Shit goes wrong, they deal with it, an established character dies, a new character is introduced, then they move on to the next shitty situation. No new ground is covered other than the advancement of Clementine’s character.
The only moment of Season Two that was on level of Season One is in Episode 5 when the characters camped out on a cold snowy night in a caged in electrical transformer area. Everyone in the group had been bickering and stressed out for weeks, and were frankly getting annoying. But the scene where they shared rum and told stories and acted like normal people was fun to play through. It didn’t last long (which was intentional by the writers) but it did its job in giving the player a much needed break from all of the drama and allowed the players to harvest the crops from the seeds of characterization planted earlier in the game.
I didn’t become attached to any of the new characters in Season Two except for Jane. She was also held captive by Carver and reluctantly helped the group escape and survive. She is a rationale thinking loner who doesn’t like getting attached to people or working in a group as they always fall apart. In a game filled with characters who are stupid and impulsive, it was nice to see the addition of a sensible character. I hope she returns for Season Three.
Season Two is the sophomore slump for The Walking Dead Series. It is still worth playing to experience the world and to spend more time with Clementine as she grows older, but it doesn’t accomplish anything other than confirming life in the zombie apocalypse is hard.