Telltale Games' "The Walking Dead" took the industry by surprise in 2012, stealing Game of the Year awards from blockbuster releases like "Dishonored" and "Mass Effect 3," thanks to its choice-based gameplay and striking emotional depth. The episodic zombie adventure, based on the graphic novel by Robert Kirkman (as is the hit TV show), is back for its second season — this time, focusing on series star Clementine as she struggles to survive in an increasingly desolate world.
If Season 2 intro "All That Remains" is any indication, fans of "The Walking Dead" are in for even more of the gut-wrenching decisions and jaw-dropping twists that made the original such a fan favorite.
Like its predecessor, Season 2 of "The Walking Dead" is a point-and-click adventure. Players use their mouse or controller to navigate their environment, pick up and inspect items, talk to others, and make story-based decisions.
The latter action is the of "The Walking Dead," as the choices you make create ripples throughout your entire experience with the game. Telltale's developers are experts at testing your morality, as you'll often have to choose who lives, who dies and who your true allies are.
All of your story consequences carry over from Season 1, so if you let a character become zombie breakfast last year, they won't return.
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Combat in "The Walking Dead" consists mainly of quick-time events, during which you'll have to mash a button or line up a headshot just fast enough to escape death. There are moments in "All That Remains" when you'll sneak around, and others when you might just take a branch to the head of a "walker" (the series' slang for zombie). The game sometimes forces you to hit your adversaries with multiple, slow blows, making you truly feel the weight of each brutal act you commit.
Gameplay in "All That Remains" was mostly an intuitive, one-button affair, but there were a few tense moments when we wished our cursor was a little bit more accurate for grabbing items and stomping adversaries.
Note: Some spoilers for "The Walking Dead" Season 1 follow.
Following the tragic ending of Season 1, players now control young Clementine instead of original protagonist Lee Everett. Now, without Lee's protection, Clementine is a slightly tougher but still-charming version of the cap-wearing, pigtailed heroine gamers fell in love with last year.
Clem has been looking for safe ground since the end of Season 1, and is joined by a few companions fans of the original chapters will surely remember. Things seem to be going well at first, but in classic Telltale fashion, your jaw will likely be on the floor in the first five minutes after something goes horribly wrong. Just remember that no one is safe in this postapocalyptic universe.
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"All That Remains" is breathlessly paced, as Telltale knows exactly how to deliver one shocking moment after another in order to keep you hooked. And while "The Walking Dead" isn't necessarily about fighting, an early action scene involving some shady survivors will probably have you catching your breath more than a few times.
Throughout the roughly 90-minute chapter, Clementine meets a host of new characters, each with his or her own ideas of how to survive in a world where humans are just as much a threat as zombies are. Some of these characters are more likeable than others, and just as in every chapter of Telltale's "The Walking Dead" game, it's hard to tell whom you can truly trust.
"All That Remains" plays out differently based on your choices, but it's almost a guarantee that you'll be wincing through a few heartbreaking turning points throughout the chapter, including an impromptu surgery scene you won't soon forget.
Despite the intensity of the chapter, one of its most powerful moments comes when Clementine essentially recaps the events of Season 1 with a new friend. Your conversation choices won't affect the story here, but you're given full control over how emotionally — or stoically — Clementine handles her past.