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The Walking Dead - Season 2 Episode 1: All That Remains

By Bobfish13-01-2014
StuntmanLT (editor)
Azeebo (editor)

The Defence

Telltale Games
Telltale Games
Release Date:

The Prosecution

Intel Core 2 Duo 2.3 GHz
AMD equivalent
Nvidia GeForce GTX 460
AMD equivalent
4 GB
2 GB

The Case

We're all familiar with The Walking Dead by now I'm sure. Starting out life as a comic book (which is still going by the way) published by Image before jumping to our TV screens. The video game adaptation was inevitable and, for once, entirely sensible. It was still an obvious cash-in of course, but what do you expect? A hot property is a hot property. So the real question is, why should you treat this licensed tie-in any differently than all the others?

The Trial

Going into this blind as I did, the first thing (after options and clicking start of course) that sprang up was a notification that Season 2 built on choices made in Season 1. Something I, of course, did not have. So rather, key points in the narrative were chosen at random, then divulged to me in a short, bullet point recap. Certain events, such as Lee first meeting Clementine, remained effectively the same. Though even those could be seen with some subtle differences (I checked) even if it was something as simple as the jacket Clementine was wearing.

When everything is trying to kill you, even beans seem dangerous.

When everything is trying to kill you, even beans seem dangerous.

Other events, it seems, were also similar across the board, but played out in radically different ways. Such as the final fate of Lee after he became infected. But what really struck was, despite how much it was imparting onto me from a context perspective, how little it actually gave away. These tiny snippets of past events were so carefully chosen that they spoke volumes in setting and tone, without truly spoiling anything of the overall narrative itself. Like a trailer, a good trailer, for a film or, as would be more appropriate, television program. The recap imparts just enough for you to make an informed assessment over whether this is your kind of thing.

Another thing that should be clear by now, is that Telltale are a narrative heavy development studio. Something which shines through in this game from the very outset. Beyond even the story recap, it takes several minutes before you really actually do anything, as Clementine, other than follow along and occasionally interject yourself into the conversation. As stated above, this is an interactive story, not a game in the sense most of us would be more familiar. There is some gameplay, ranging beyond dialogue choices, which includes some light exploration and (for once) quick time events that actually work. But the vast majority of the 'game' is spent listening to, absorbing, and then responding to what other characters say.

At times, this can make it seem very linear (which it is) and rather restrictive. Especially on context of these plot decisions we hear so much about. It's hard to judge from just one chapter in a vacuum like this, but the decisions you make along the way honestly have very little impact over the story as a whole. There is a point at the very end of the episode where you can choose between two people, with one of them dying. That's a pretty big deal, but it still has next to no impact on the overall story arc.

Come on! I'll take you all on!

Come on! I'll take you all on!

If you have come expecting a zombie massacre simulator or a more hide, sneak and survive the apocalypse experience, this is not for you. Those games do what they do, extremely well, whilst The Walking Dead is focused on an entirely different aspect. Much like the classic George Romero films of the 60s, 70s and, arguably, 80s, the zombies (walkers) are not the focus of the setting. They are the setting. The Walking Dead, in all its incarnations, is not a tale about surviving in a zombie apocalypse. It's a story about people. People that live in a zombie apocalypse. These stories would work just as well if they were set in a far future utopia, under water with seashell helmets, or on the moon played out by gophers who are all called Steve.

We follow the trials and tribulations of a young girl who, despite meeting several people along the way, is effectively alone in the world, just trying to do the right thing and make it to the end of another day without fucking everything up. Where the first game used, for lack of a better term, Clementine as a narrative device, telling a tale of parenthood and responsibility, with Lee as the focus adding flavour to everything that happened. This time Clementine is not only the driving force, as she has remained throughout, but also instigating factor.

She is no longer that timid, quiet little girl she was only a few short years earlier. She is now older, forced to mature far sooner than she should, jaded by the events in her past and just trying to get by on her own terms. Facing challenges that we may not be able to truly relate to, but that we can fully appreciate for what they are. These are real issues. Issues that most of us will never have to face, but issues we can understand all the same.

Looking for some food and a place to sleep.

Looking for some food and a place to sleep.

The real focus here is on Clementine growing from a child into the cusp of adulthood. When looked at purely as a sequence of events, there isn't that much to take away from it. She wanders in the woods, is separated from yet another adult, flees from pursuers both living and undead, is mauled by a dog (which leads to unarguably the most powerful scene in the entire game, even if it isn't finished yet) and is spurned by supposedly caring adults simply because she is unknown to them. Where Lee, from the first game, accepted her as a child irrespective of who she was and what she had done, these new people looked on her with distrust, and even fear.

What would you do, in a situation like that? Cold, hungry, desperately tired and suffering from a terrible dogbite. All you want, more than anything else in the world, is to sit and rest, just for a little while. Yet instead, you are scorned and treated like a threat. Something we may not be able to relate to from events, directly, within our own life. But the feeling of isolation, through no fault of your own, is something we can all relate to. That’s where the real strength of the tale comes in to play. It presents us with experiences we can understand, told without pulling any punches.

Featuring a voice cast that is absolutely fantastic, delivering performances that are honestly second to none, especially Clementine herself, The Walking Dead is a game that does not need to be a game. It knows precisely what it is, knows exactly what it is doing, where it is going, and how it will get there. Every aspect of the story, the characters, the world itself, have been choreographed into a seamless whole. Offering us moments of deceptive calm, like throwing a frisbee for a scruffy, friendly dog you just stumble across in the woods. Contrasted with the shocking image of a twelve year old girl forced to stitch closed a wound on her own arm with a sewing needle and some fishing wire.

Sometimes no description is necessary.

Sometimes no description is necessary.

The games origins as a comic book series lends itself perfectly to the cel shaded, comic book style of the visuals. Aside from also making the game technically far less demanding to not only produce, but also run. It also allows for the events to be, oddly, far more powerful. The scene with the fishing wire is shown in a very blunt, graphic, and ugly way. It is not glorified, as it could have been if the engine was a graphical behemoth of dizzying poly counts, making it far more powerful for it. It shows us what we need to see, without railroading a set interpretation. Allowing the events themselves, the words people use, the decisions they make, to stand on their own. Allowing us, the players, to draw our own conclusions about what is, and is not, the right thing to do.

The Verdict

Essentially, this is the very epitome of a dichotomous divide. It is not true to say that you will either love it or hate it, not quite. More accurately, you will either revel in the multitudinous layers of tone, or scratch you head and wonder “dafuq is all the fuss about?” It's a game for the cerebral, the thinkers. It's not something for the mass market, twitch gamer, kill everything in sight, lowest common denominator. But at the same time, it is so masterfully done, that even they can still find something to like about it. Even if it's just the fact it's another game with zombies.

Case Review

  • Atmosphere: This feels like a true apocalypse. Desolate, lonely and forbidding.
  • Characters: Though some of them have only seconds of screen time, each character is unique and distinct.
  • Powerful: Fishing wire. 'Nuff said.
  • Story: Shockingly enough, with a name like Telltale, they know how to tell a tale.
  • Voice acting: Subtle, layered and gloriously understated. In a word, absolutely bloody perfect.
  • Visuals: They work extremely well and are genuinely gorgeous, but are still technically unimpressive all the same.
  • Linear: Not criminally so, but the lack of apparent effect from your choices is somewhat disappointing.
Score: 4.5/5
The real focus here is on Clementine growing from a child into the cusp of adulthood.


Zombies…it seems at the moment you cannot even turn around without the mention of the un-dead. Probably the main reason for all the interest the last few years is down to the TV series of The Walking Dead. I do not need to say too much as, whether you are a fan or not, most people know about the show and have probably watched an episode or two to see what the fuss is about. Therefore, Telltale games decided to jump on the success train of The Walking Dead and release their five-part episode-based game. The first season was so successful that it won a lot of awards and praise that it leads us to the second season, which continues on from the first.

“All That Remains” takes place two years after the first season and sees us in control of Clementine this time. The young girl, who is only one of a few who survived from season one, thanks to the help of a father figure - Lee. We see Clementine having to fend for herself and survive by any means necessary. As the episode moves along we get to see how grown up and take some major decisions, which will have an impact on how the story will play out. An improvement from the first season has to be the way you interact and make decisions. Instead of having scroll the list, Telltale games have implemented the use of an action wheel. This makes selecting actions and conversation responses much simpler than in the previous season.

Without revealing spoilers, this season characters seem very interesting, and when you meet them you will be questioning your conversation choices and whether you can trust them or not. The episode starts slightly slow, but like all good things a story must be laid down before the good stuff can happen. Overall Telltale does seem to have done a good job of keeping the core the same and at the same time changing how you interact with the game, without breaking it. Obviously at the moment we are only one episode in, but if they got the same level of intensity, then we are in for quite a treat. Well done Telltale.

Score: 4.5/5


If you thought season two of The Walking Dead would be a proper sequel to the first, then you were wrong. This is no sequel. Or at least, not in a typical video game sense. It’s a continuation. The graphics, sound design, voice acting, control scheme and so forth are largely all the same as before. This time, however, you’ll be experiencing the world through the eyes of young Clementine, a girl who has been through a lot, and things are only about to get worse for her.

Unless you have never seen a movie or read a book about a young child in a distressing situation, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that season two of The Walking Dead takes the “innocent child growing up” route with its story. For the most part, it works quite well. It’s a good story, with deep characters and remarkable events. Still, I have a few quibbles. Telltale aren’t exactly very subtle about how the poor girl feels and how they want you to feel about her, which is frankly a little off-putting sometimes. I get that she’s in deep trouble, but the overuse of whimpering sounds coming out of her mouth ends up working against its intention. I am capable of rational thought, I already understand she’s scared. No need to spoon-feed it to me.

There isn’t much new to be found in this “sequel”. It’s still the same type of interactive story, with very limited freedom in the gameplay, and choices that most of the time don’t make much of a difference. Whichever characters you chose to side with at the end of season one, only makes a difference for about five minutes of this new episode. Clocking in at just under two hours also makes it a bit short, and frankly a little light on content too. There isn’t much time to get to know the characters, and because your choices don’t seem to really matter in the short run, there isn’t much time to replay the episode either. Clementine is a solid character. I’m very interested to see where Telltale will take the grim story, and what they are going to do with the choices I’ve made. But truthfully, episode one didn’t leave me all that impressed. It’s more of the same. If you’re dying to know what happens next, then I’m sure you need no convincing. If you for whatever reason hoped for improvements or changes in some form, then you’ve come to the wrong place.

Score: 3.5/5
Comments (6)
You must be to post a comment.
Posts: 3290

I still need to start season 1

Posts: 207

I still need to finish Season 1....

Posts: 1548

Still have to play it. I was late to the party with season 1 as well.

Posts: 3290

I can dig that. Depends on how patient you are. I'm happy to wait

Posts: 1317

A good, but short episode, that doesn't do anything new, and also doesn't give you all that much other than some teasing and a cliffhanger. It's not by any means a bad episode, it sets the bar for a great season... but buying the game for this episode alone is going to leave people wishing they got more out of it.

IMO, this episode alone isn't worth getting the game for. Not yet. I personally recommend getting the game later, once a few more episodes are out.

Posts: 3290

It seems we have a consensus, more or less