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TellTale Games welcomes us back to their Walking Dead universe and while Clementine’s familiar face is like a warm hug, the tragedies experienced are like one stab in the back after another.
Review (with Spoilers)
Play Through Time
1 Hour and 11 Minutes
The focus isn’t on Clementine this time but Javier. One of four in his family who made it after the walker outbreak began. Since then he has been on the road with his brother’s wife and his brother’s kids. No longer children but not yet adults, raising them is hard. They want food, stability, running water, and it leads you to wonder who has it better off? Those who never knew the comforts of life pre-outbreak or those who hear those stories and think of them as fairytales?
Javier’s life aside, Clementine has learned and lived quite a life since we last saw her. No longer a little kid, she is a teenager now. However, unlike Javier’s niece Mariana or nephew Gabe, she has no time or privilege to whine and complain. She is on her own now, scavenging, making deals when she can, and even putting people like Javi at gunpoint to get what she needs. But while making connections has already led to more devastating moments than perhaps those she’ll cherish, depending on how you treat Clementine, you may be a new beacon of hope.
It Reminds You How Difficult It Is To Be Alone And Scary To Be In A Group
Despite being slightly predictable, in terms of knowing someone you have grown to care about is going to die, TellTale continues to find a way to preserve your hope through storytelling. Making Javier a welcome addition for with seeing his family surviving, though not at the same number they were once before, it reminds you of the good old days. The days when it was Lee and Clementine, and Carly, assuming you tried to romance her like me. Also, of course, Kenny and Katja. TellTale plays into that nostalgia and starts getting your heart pumping as you start to fear when the time will come when you have to decide who to save and who to sacrifice.
But, at the same time, when Clementine returns to us, we see things on the other end. Being alone has never been the way I played the game. I tried to keep everyone together as both Lee and Clementine. Yet, you can kind of see how that didn’t really help in the long run. You see, Clementine made these strong connections, ones which may not have been with her own parents, but the various surrogates were the next best thing. And, from what it seems, be it through death or difference of opinion, they left. Not in a way which may have screwed her over physically, but you can see the damage has been done mentally. To the point that like with Sarah in Season 2, you can make comparisons between Mariana and Clementine in terms of someone who was shielded and protected, and how much that makes them a liability, vs. how I played with Lee in which Clementine may have had to grow up quicker than I may have liked, but with the loss of innocence comes the strength and ability to fend for herself.
On The Fence
Kind of Predictable At This Point
Going back to that predictability, with this being the 3rd season, alongside the inclusion of the Michonne spin-off and 500 Days, some things have become clear. The main thing being, those who you find to be unbearable you will have the chance to decide their fate but the same can’t be said for those you like and could grow to love. This, I’ll admit, is a tad frustrating, yet you kind of grow to accept it. Accept the idea that loss has become a part of life and as much as you want and need to forge strong bonds, it will only make it when they are severed it will hurt that much more.
Overall: Positive (Buy)
If you weren’t sold with earlier editions of this franchise, honestly this won’t be the one which will help you see the light of day. For while the graphics are a smidge better, everything else is familiar territory. Limited movement and discovery, unnecessary button mashing to do simple tasks, quick action moments which are either life or death and never anything in between, but also quite a few good things. Characters you quickly grow attached to, the constant fear that when the game lets you know someone will remember something, that somehow that decision could mean one less or more ally, and of course the main thing to love: At this point, the whole franchise still probably cost less than the usual AAA game, including their DLC. Yet, this arguably is so much more fun. Even if they each clock in under an hour and a half.