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Dead On Arrival

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    The Walking Dead: Season Two – A Telltale Games Series

    Rating: 2.0 – Poor

    Dead On Arrival

    Telltale’s the Walking Dead has been a huge hit, and they have since gone on to ruin Batman, Minecraft and Guardians of the Galaxy. All games developed by Telltale are awful, and The Walking Dead Season Two is no different.

    The game follows a young girl, Clementine, as she struggles to survive in a world where zombies (known as "walkers") hunt down and bite humans on sight, turning them into a walker. Obviously Clementine wants to avoid this, and the story continues from there. I won’t say too much about it, but it is a decent story, with intruiging twists and turns, believable characters and clever writing.

    Noe let’s get to the gameplay. Or the lack of it. Every Telltale game ever made is more like an interactive movie than a video game, which is great if you like interactive movies, but not so great if you want to play a game. As the game is based around player choice, often you can choose how to reply to someone by selecting one of four options. Clementine can be kind and gentle, or blunt and hostile depending on the responses you select. These don’t affect the story much, and are really just there to give the illusion of choice. Now you’d think that choosing, for example, whether to shoot someone or let them pass wouldd hugely affect the story, and you’d be right, except you never get this choice, and the game seems content to just throw you some choice in your lines, rather than let you make meaningful decisions. And even when you do get to make massive, game-changing choices, they still present only the illusion of choice. Characters that die because you chose not to save them would have died anyway, had you decided to save them. Not a single character death can be avoided by your choices. This is shameful, as it just fools you into thinking you have a choice, when the outcome is the same.

    But surely there’s more to gameplay than just making choices by pressing buttons, right? Well not really. Every so often, you’ll be in an area, and you’ll have to find something, or talk to someone, or do something. These sections feel like a hidden object puzzle, and are incredibly boring and dull. Here’s an example: Press Y to look out the window. Walk over to food. Press A to pick up food. Repeat as necessary. These sections are useless, because you could have spared us the boredom and shown Clementine doing this in a cutscene. Instead, Telltale feels that we need to move the joystick to get Clementine to walk over to somebody, talk to them, then resume the movie.

    The only other gameplay aspect are Quick-Time events (QTEs). Now, there’s nothing wrong with QTEs, but when all the combat and action in the game is in the form of QTEs, then it becomes an issue. Pressing A does not equal excitement, or control. I would appreciate the game if the action parts were designed like a Third Person Shooter. Instead, it’s just a matter of pressing buttons, which again gives only the illusion of choice and control. The gameplay is outweighed by the cutscenes. It’s almost as if someone created a series of Walking Dead minigames, then made a movie and chucked the minigames in the movie. There’s not much gameplay here.

    Being closer to an interactive movie than a game, you’d think the graphics would be good, right? Nope. The game has an interesting art style that makes it look like a graphic novel, where black lines represent creases on clothing. Sadly there are lots of low-resolution textures, and the game looks flat and ugly. The game is not very stable either, often freezing during cutscenes or glitching out a bit. It’s not game-breaking, but the freezing is quite annoying, and lasts for several seconds. The loading screens are a bit too long and frequent as well.

    The sound work is decent enough, although the voice acting could be better. But guns, explosions, zombie moans, etc are all done pretty well.

    Lastly, the game has no replayability. The entire season is pretty short, and most gamers could complete it in two days or so. Once you’ve finished the game, that’s it. No multiplayer. No extra modes. You could go back and remake some of your choices, but when they don’t really change anything, it’s hard justifying replaying the game again.

    Overall, The Walking Dead Season Two is a poor game and just now worth your money

    - Good story
    - Sound work is decent
    - Good if you like violent zombie interactive movies

    - Little gameplay
    - Your choices don’t change much, and the game is mostly giving you the illusion of choice
    - Graphics are terrible, flat and low-quality
    - Pretty short, can be completed in just two days
    - No replayability
    - Some freezing and long and frequent load screens.

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