The Walking Dead Season Two: Amid the Ruins
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Platforms: iPad, iPhone, PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 (Reviewed)
Release Date: July 23, 2014
Price: $4.99 – Available Here
While zombies might be the greatest threat to any survivor in a zombie apocalypse, it has been shown time and time again that other survivors are just as dangerous and the events that took place during the last episode are prime examples of that. After bearing witness to the cruelty of Carver and making numerous decisions along the way, what is next for Clementine in Amid the Ruins?
It should go without saying that this review will contain some spoilers for the events that happened in the last episode and as such, if you have yet to complete In Harm’s Way then you will wish to do so before reading on.
Now Amid the Ruins actually drops players right into the middle of things as it picks up where players left off last episode and depending on the difficult choice you made at the end of In Harm’s Way, events will play out differently, with one sequence requiring a number of quick and horrific decisions as Clementine and the rest of the group continue to escape from Carver’s compound through the zombie horde.
After escaping, the story slows down a bit as everyone tries to recover and the focus then turns to the characters in the group and how they are handling things, especially with Rebecca drawing near to labor. Throughout this episode we learn more about the standoffish Jane as she begins to open up to Clementine about her past and her philosophy for survival. Jane’s straight-forward survivalist nature makes her similar to Molly from the first season except for the fact that she never seems to open up to anyone outside of Clem.
While the main story here might be centered on Rebecca and how bringing a baby into the world as it is now is not only going to be a challenge but also a threat, the focal point is placed on Kenny instead. When Kenny was brought back in episode two, fans rejoiced. However since then we have seen Kenny enter a dark territory with Carver and as he continues to experience loss, his suffering mind can only take so much and it is beginning to show.
That being said, there is a certain lack of emotion in this episode in regards to some characters. Not only does the rest of the group quickly dismiss the events that occur at the beginning of the episode, but two other characters players have grown familiar with are summarily dismissed. While death comes at unexpected times, having it occur randomly off-screen in one case and another requiring two attempts, feels like a cheap copout where the writers just felt like dropping some baggage.
With Clementine having to make a number of choices throughout this episode, the drama and tension levels are high. High enough that they reach a breaking point once new characters are introduced and players are left with a sudden cliffhanger with no preview after the credits.
While players may be forced to make a number of decisions right off the bat in Amid the Ruins, the rest of the episode is a pretty simplistic affair with a few action sequences scattered throughout an episode based more around developing characters and progressing the story than anything else. There is one moment where players will need to solve a simple puzzle through a sequence of events, but it is fairly standard.
One thing that is disappointing however, are the choices you make in The Walking Dead Season Two: Amid the Ruins. Despite players seeming to have an option when it comes to certain events, upon reflection and seeing if things can turn out differently, there really isn’t much players can actually change depending on what they choose, as the end results and emotions are still the same.
Visuals & Audio
The comic book art style featured in Telltale’s telling of The Walking Dead continues to be the best way that the series could be presented. The amount of gore that can be shown feels just about right without going overboard and the emotions portrayed on the characters’ faces is just detailed enough to leave a memorable impression when certain events unfold.
The voice work throughout The Walking Dead Season Two: Amid the Ruins continues to be impressive as each of the returning characters are voiced expertly, with one horrible highlight really standing out depending on where it occurs. A nice touch is added with the new characters at the end of the episode which will clearly raise tension and confusion next time.
The Walking Dead Season Two: Amid the Ruins slows things down a bit but also focuses on the growing darkness and tension within the group. Although it has its faults, this episode continues to build on the downfall of Kenny and the splintering of the group only to leave players off with a major cliffhanger; it will be very interesting to see how things will unfold in the next and final episode of The Walking Dead Season Two.
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