No one could have predicted the situation that Telltale Games has now found itself in, especially since it seemed like when The Walking Dead: The Final Season kicked off in August everything had already been laid out. Now with nearly every Telltale Games employee fired and with the future of the series in question, we have what may be the last episode to be released by this developer. With the final season of the game now no longer available for purchase and future episodes to be potentially developed by another, the story still continues in Suffer the Children, even if it may be some time, if at all, we see it move past this point.
Regardless of the future fate of The Walking Dead: The Final Season, it is worth noting that continuing to read past this point will include spoilers for the previous episode. This means if you have not played the first episode you should either do so, if possible, or risk spoiling some of the bigger events.
When we last saw Clementine and AJ in Done Running we had just found out a major secret that Marlon, the leader of the children’s group, had been keeping from everyone. That happened to be that he had sacrificed two of their number to raiders in return for safety. Unfortunately thanks to this revelation not only did an innocent girl die but Marlon himself ended up being shot in the back of the head by AJ leaving Clementine to be the one to bear the brunt of everyone’s anger.
Considering even before these studio issues arose this final season was only slated for four episodes, Suffer the Children doesn’t try to drag out the drama in any major way other than having players attempt to explain themselves with little actual chance to alter the outcome of what the children’s group decides to do with them. This moves things along at a brisk pace but unfortunately the actual character interactions suffer for it as we once again find Clementine barely being able to talk to more than two or three of the children in the school for more than a few sentences. Despite this being the second episode a large portion of the school’s children feel more like simple cannon fodder than actual characters, making the game’s small attempts to try and develop them feel incredibly useless and their potential deaths falling flat.
If nothing else, this brisk pace does allow things to move at a decent rate as Clementine and AJ soon learn more about who these bandits actually are and what plans they have for the school. This includes the return of a long missing face but, once again, the nature of the episode’s pacing and the now hostile nature of this character limits however much of a reunion this might have been. We see just how far Clementine and the children will go to protect their home and there are some rather nice interactions still available in regards to a handful of the characters. In fact, there is even a bit of a sample taken from the comics regarding a new character that makes a short appearance this episode which is a nice touch.
Similar to the first episode Suffer the Children makes use of new combat mecahnics to try and deal with the Walker situation. There are a handful of encounters that still require the use of melee weapons but a new bow and arrow allows for Clementine to take shots at zombies from afar with a smidge of physics added into it to keep things interesting.
Outside of the actual combat there are still some elements of exploration here and there but this is kept at a minimum this time around, in fact the collectibles that do return again this episode are kept to a bare minimum of three and happen to all appear within five minutes of one another. That being said, be prepared for a potential achievement glitch as a couple of non-story based ones seem to have issues unlocking sometimes.
Visuals & Audio
Suffer the Children continues to benefit from the new engine that Telltale Games managed to create before their closure as the graphical elements of the game remain rather impressive compared to previous episodes. A number of new areas are explored this time around, though most of them tend to involve being in the forest, and players get to see how things change around the school once everyone begins preparing. It is interesting to note that, similar to the first episode, there are a handful of scenes and events that can be only seen depending on certain choices, giving players more variety both during action sequences as well as interacting with other characters.
The soundtrack remains similar to the past episode and has just enough to it to keep the world feeling eerie and threatening when Walkers are near and tense during action sequences. The voice work is stellar once again with the returning character also seeing the same voice actor returning to reprise the role.
With how things have unfolded at Telltale Games and the future of the final season now unscheduled despite the announced revival by Skybound Games we find ourselves left with a rather cliffhanging temporary conclusion to Clementine’s journey. Suffer the Children’s fast pace leaves most characters by the wayside but still takes time to give Clementine to bond with a choice few while moving the plot forward by introducing new threats that have put her new friends in danger. It will be interesting to see just how things may eventually turn out should this journey happen to continue in the future.