TellTale Games' The Walking Dead: Season 2/ Episode 4 "Amid The Ruins" – Overview/ Review (with Spoilers)

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Overview

As Clementine is faced with more and more adult decisions, which includes killing and making life or death decisions, you worry that too much weight is being put on her shoulders.

Review (with Spoilers)

With us only one episode away from the finale, once more you are faced with decisions which thin out your crew and make you question if you are making the right decisions. For while you are Clementine, at the same time you aren’t and you almost feel like you are her parent trying to choose what is best for her. And with this complexity comes the usually feeling that as many times as you make people smile, or convince them to stick around, you are doing something wrong. Though perhaps no more than this episode.

Characters & Story

With Rebecca due any day now, and you having just escaped Carver, the group is rightfully worried about the future. Especially since you are forced to make hard decisions in which you choose who lives or dies, and are forced to try to convince people to stick around and help the group. A task which is for an adult would be difficult, but is even harder on Clementine who can’t guilt anyone into staying, and isn’t really respected enough to make her words matter. If anything, as shown, unless a deciding vote is needed Clementine is mostly regulated to being a confidant.

Like in this episode. She pisses off Kenny so for the majority of the episode Bonnie, Rebecca, and Jane are confiding in you, as well as Sarah to a point who is shell shocked. And with each decision, I feel as if on one shoulder there is Lee trying to help you be a good person and keep the group together, then there is Jane who repeatedly reinforces the idea all groups have expiration dates. Which, from what we see in this episode, certainly the group I was left with may very well be at its end.

Praise

With any TellTale game, really what makes the episode itself good or bad is how many decisions show up as something noteworthy and whether decisions made in the past are noted or not. And with this episode, honestly, I felt a lot of major decisions were made which could affect the final. And while this episode certainly wasn’t on the level of Around Every Corner in which it truly felt all of your decisions could have a grand effect on the finale, it does create this sense that your kindness, or harsh attitude, could possibly be in your favor, or have created a great liability.

Criticism

However, as I’m sure many have already noted, I do feel in comparison to season one I have really less and less control per episode. Yeah, what I do or say may change a bit of the dialog, but in the grand scheme, I don’t feel like my decisions are either keeping the group alive and together, or fractured and on death’s door. I’m just there and forced to make decisions which ultimately won’t have much of an effect. Which perhaps is why, as I write this, I realize that as much as the story is good, the overall selling point of controlling the narrative is slowly being ripped away from the series. Something which I kind of felt happened with The Wolf Among Us as well, but with that being only one season it is hard to compare it like this series which is near the end of its second.

Overall: Rental

I think with The Wolf Among Us just ending only a few weeks ago, and it being fresh in my mind, it makes this series not presenting a high standard a bit discouraging. For while I recognize it is difficult to write a delta of how decisions leading to a handful of endings, at the same time that is what makes this game usually worth playing/ buying. We forgive the fact the graphics aren’t AAA level because we think at the cost of graphic quality we get to pull the strings of the universe, we put up with not being able to explore the world because our decisions are supposed to allow us to explore various ways a story can play out, and I think the compensation we expect is slowly slipping away. Leaving a more and more linear game which only gives the façade you really have a hand in things, when in reality you can’t change more than a single line or maybe one scene. Leading to me saying this is a rental for the series is starting to feel like something you play through once then return it, rather than play it over and over just to see what changing your decisions may lead to.

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