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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Adam Smith)

Telltale’s Walking Dead has always been Clementine’s story. From the moment she appears in the first episode of the first season, the player may be controlling Lee but Clem is the character that they’re guiding and constructing. I’ve mostly enjoyed the second season, even when the pacing has been a little too Romero-zombie, and I’m looking forward to the joyous showtune that will mark the final episode. Except…the trailer below, which recaps season one and two with spoilers aplenty, suggests things might not turn out particularly well for Clem and the gang no matter what her choices have been. Gulp.

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer
rel="bookmark"
title="Permanent Link to The Walking Dead: Season 2, Episode 5 trailer confirms there’s no going back">Walking Dead







I'm about to put a lot of trust in Telltale Games. You see, normally it's good form to watch the game trailer that you're posting to a major gaming website. But this one, for Episode 5 of The Walking Dead: Season 2, contains "major" spoilers for the preceding parts. And while yes, I should really have played those episodes by now, there are 125 other games in my "to play" list. Geeze, people, cut me some slack.



I apologise in advance it this is just five minutes and thirty-six seconds of wall-to-wall dongs.







The Walking Dead: Season 2, Episode 5 "No Going Back" will be released next Tuesday, August 26.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Overkill’s The Walking Dead is a co-op first person shooter set in the comic series’ universe">The Walking Dead







PayDay 2 studio Overkill has revealed a few morsels of information regarding its forthcoming take on The Walking Dead series. During a Reddit AMA, producer Almir Listo addressed some questions regarding the project, which will be the third The Walking Dead video game adaptation in as many years, joining Telltale's serialised adventure drama and Activision's FPS stinker.



On the topic of what it will be, Listo confirmed what many of us have suspected: it's built on the foundation established by the PayDay series.



"Here's our elevator pitch to you," Listo wrote, "Overkill s The Walking Dead is a co-op first person shooter with elements of action, role-playing, survival horror and stealth, that invites players to explore the hugely popular The Walking Dead universe, where they will play the role of survivors fending for themselves in a post-apocalyptic world dominated by flesh-eating walkers.



"In 2016 Washington will fall - what will you do?"



As for the setting of The Walking Dead, Listo confirms that the game will be set in the same universe as the comics, but will feature brand new characters. "We're working with Robert himself. Seeing as he writes the comics, it's only natural that we'll focus on that. Personally, I love the focus on horror in the comics. We'll focus on new characters and new storylines, same universe."



Listo also addressed the topic of Storm, a co-op science fiction first-person shooter previously described as "PayDay in space". Is it still happening? Will development on The Walking Dead affect its progress?



"Storm is still on our road map," he replied. "More information will come when it's available."



 
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Telltale’s The Walking Dead will be getting a third season">The Walking Dead







There wasn't really too much doubt about this, but it's nice to get confirmation anyway: Telltale's The Walking Dead series will be getting a third season, as announced at Comic-Con (and on Twitter). No details yet, but I don't think it's way out of line to expect zombies, quick-time events, and for Clem to be replaced as protagonist by Bob from the increasingly rubbish TV series. Well, OK, probably not that last one.



The Walking Dead creator and writer Robert Kirkman, and Telltale president Kevin Bruner confirmed the third season at Comic-Con, though they didn't provide any additional details. Will it star Clementine? I guess that depends on how season 2 plays out, which is currently awaiting its fifth and final episode. You'll find our review of the penultimate episode here.
PC Gamer
rel="bookmark"
title="Permanent Link to The Walking Dead Season 2: Episode 4 review">walkingdead-s2e4-teaser







Warning: there are unmarked spoilers for all of Season 2 of The Walking Dead below. Going forward, PC Gamer will review episodic games like TV episodes: critiquing and discussing the story of each episode as the season progresses, before assigning a score at the end of the season. Read more about how we review games in the PC Gamer reviews policy.



"I've seen you take care of yourself more than any three adults put together," a bitter Kenny says to Clementine in The Walking Dead Season 2's fourth episode Amid the Ruins. I've tried to convince Kenny that I need him--that the group needs him to survive after escaping, battered and exhausted, from Carver's compound. He's not buying it. And he shouldn't.



In my review of The Walking Dead's last episode, I wrote that Clementine seems more capable than most of the adults she travels with, far more capable than an 11-year-old should be. Episode three delivered some of the series' most dramatic moments by sacrificing some of Clementine's believability and what little freedom of exploration The Walking Dead has had. Episode four continues down that path, charting a straight course toward the end of the season by minimizing player control even further. Telltale clearly has a specific story to tell, and episode four tells it well it's just not very interesting to play.



Episode four of The Walking Dead finds Clementine's group scattered and barely surviving after the attack on Carver's hardware store. Most of the characters introduced in episodes one and two are dead, and the survivors soon have a new crisis to deal with: Rebecca's impending childbirth. Most of the episode revolves around pulling the group back together and finding supplies to help Rebecca give birth. Even moreso than in episode three, it's up to Clementine to do most of the work.







Episode four drops any pretense of having Clementine act coy or slyly maneuver her way through adult conversations. She's the driving force of the episode, heavily influencing decisions and physically saving other survivors when they're in trouble. In one of the episode's only scenes that lets you walk around and explore, she has to find supplies in an area that other survivors have already been searching for at least an hour. They're apparently very bad at scavenging.



Other than about five minutes of walking around and exploring, episode four is all dialogue and cutscenes and QTEs. While playing the previous episode, I was sometimes frustrated that Clementine seemed so capable while Telltale gave me so little control as a player. The episode made up for that with dramatic, unexpected story moments. Episode four, by contrast, mostly seems like it's on autopilot. Other than the brutality of its opening scene, none of the story beats are surprising or lead to particularly difficult decisions.



The most interesting dynamic of Amid the Ruins is the relationship between Clementine and Jane, a tough lone wolf who recognizes Clementine's own survival skills. I was hoping that the game would give Clementine the option to abandon the rest of her group and strike out with Jane. Unfortunately, after a few exchanges of dialogue and Jane teaching Clementine a few tricks to survive on her own--Jane starts spilling her backstory, which turns out to overtly parallel the events that take place in Amid the Ruins. It's a technique that gives weight to some of her actions throughout the episode, but you can also see it coming from a mile away. It's too convenient to be particularly effective.



I found it hard to be too invested in Amid the Ruins when its most dramatic moral choices centered around Sarah, who's been nothing but dead weight both as a character, and to the group the whole season. Telltale delivered two exhaustingly intense episodes in a row, and episode four seemed more like filler, moving the plot forward into what will be a bloody, painful finale.







Despite few opportunities to shape Clementine's character in episode four, I think this season of The Walking Dead will end strong. I may not find Clem's survival skills believable, but I still care about her and want to see where her story goes. I have a feeling that if she lives to see a season three, she'll be the Mad Max of the Walking Dead universe, more road-weary and scrappy than Lee ever was.



Verdict: A weaker episode than the two preceding it that fails to offer interesting character exploration or heartwrenching decisions.
PC Gamer
rel="bookmark"
title="Permanent Link to The Walking Dead Season 2: Episode 4 review">walkingdead-s2e4-teaser







Warning: there are unmarked spoilers for all of Season 2 of The Walking Dead below. Going forward, PC Gamer will review episodic games like TV episodes: critiquing and discussing the story of each episode as the season progresses, before assigning a score at the end of the season. Read more about how we review games in the PC Gamer reviews policy.



"I've seen you take care of yourself more than any three adults put together," a bitter Kenny says to Clementine in The Walking Dead Season 2's fourth episode Amid the Ruins. I've tried to convince Kenny that I need him--that the group needs him to survive after escaping, battered and exhausted, from Carver's compound. He's not buying it. And he shouldn't.



In my review of The Walking Dead's last episode, I wrote that Clementine seems more capable than most of the adults she travels with, far more capable than an 11-year-old should be. Episode three delivered some of the series' most dramatic moments by sacrificing some of Clementine's believability and what little freedom of exploration The Walking Dead has had. Episode four continues down that path, charting a straight course toward the end of the season by minimizing player control even further. Telltale clearly has a specific story to tell, and episode four tells it well it's just not very interesting to play.



Episode four of The Walking Dead finds Clementine's group scattered and barely surviving after the attack on Carver's hardware store. Most of the characters introduced in episodes one and two are dead, and the survivors soon have a new crisis to deal with: Rebecca's impending childbirth. Most of the episode revolves around pulling the group back together and finding supplies to help Rebecca give birth. Even moreso than in episode three, it's up to Clementine to do most of the work.







Episode four drops any pretense of having Clementine act coy or slyly maneuver her way through adult conversations. She's the driving force of the episode, heavily influencing decisions and physically saving other survivors when they're in trouble. In one of the episode's only scenes that lets you walk around and explore, she has to find supplies in an area that other survivors have already been searching for at least an hour. They're apparently very bad at scavenging.



Other than about five minutes of walking around and exploring, episode four is all dialogue and cutscenes and QTEs. While playing the previous episode, I was sometimes frustrated that Clementine seemed so capable while Telltale gave me so little control as a player. The episode made up for that with dramatic, unexpected story moments. Episode four, by contrast, mostly seems like it's on autopilot. Other than the brutality of its opening scene, none of the story beats are surprising or lead to particularly difficult decisions.



The most interesting dynamic of Amid the Ruins is the relationship between Clementine and Jane, a tough lone wolf who recognizes Clementine's own survival skills. I was hoping that the game would give Clementine the option to abandon the rest of her group and strike out with Jane. Unfortunately, after a few exchanges of dialogue and Jane teaching Clementine a few tricks to survive on her own--Jane starts spilling her backstory, which turns out to overtly parallel the events that take place in Amid the Ruins. It's a technique that gives weight to some of her actions throughout the episode, but you can also see it coming from a mile away. It's too convenient to be particularly effective.



I found it hard to be too invested in Amid the Ruins when its most dramatic moral choices centered around Sarah, who's been nothing but dead weight both as a character, and to the group the whole season. Telltale delivered two exhaustingly intense episodes in a row, and episode four seemed more like filler, moving the plot forward into what will be a bloody, painful finale.







Despite few opportunities to shape Clementine's character in episode four, I think this season of The Walking Dead will end strong. I may not find Clem's survival skills believable, but I still care about her and want to see where her story goes. I have a feeling that if she lives to see a season three, she'll be the Mad Max of the Walking Dead universe, more road-weary and scrappy than Lee ever was.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

I’ve only played the first two episodes of season one of The Walking Dead, before one of Telltale’s notorious savegame corruption bugs cost me my progress, so I’m the worst person in the world to even watch this trailer for episode 4 of season 2, let alone write about it. YOU THINK THAT’S GONNA STOP ME, PUNK? … [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Adam Smith)

Season two of the The Walking Dead has started strong, taking on the task of switching to a new player character confidently. Clementine is a complex character, capable of carrying the narrative while also reacting to the player’s input in a believable fashion. With the third episode, the story enters a new phase, one that shifts the setting and tone somewhat, and places the focus on a smaller cast, with Michael Madsen’s Bill Carver at the fore. It’s bleak and brutal, but that’s nothing new. It’s also a bit underwhelming. Here’s wot I think, with spoilers carefully avoided.>

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer
rel="bookmark"
title="Permanent Link to The Walking Dead: Season 2 Episode 3 review">walkingdead-s2e3-teaser







Spoiler warning: this review contains light spoilers for the first two episodes of The Walking Dead Season Two. All references to specific events in episode three are kept vague to avoid spoiling the story.



Clementine is no longer a child. There's a moment near the end of In Harm's Way, the third episode of The Walking Dead season two, that removes all doubt: Clementine is smarter, more capable, and more reliable than nearly any of the adults around her. "Why does it always have to be me?" Clementine asks, with the tired resignation of an Indiana Jones or John McClane stepping up to do the action hero thing one more time. She stops just short of breaking the fourth wall and mugging to the camera.



This episode of Clementine's story left me thinking about two things: the increasingly graphic violence Telltale is willing to inflict upon its characters, and the challenge of balancing player empowerment with a character who is rarely empowered.



In Harm's Way opens with Clementine's group of survivors imprisoned by Bill Carver, who showed up at the end of episode two to bring his wandering flock back to the herd. Michael Madsen's menacing voice performance sells Carver as the crazy villain who firmly believes he is always in the right, even when he kills or maims for no reason. He's a little too over the top, especially when his threats devolve into angrily quoting bible verses, but the caricature serves its purpose. I'm attached to these characters, and I'm genuinely afraid Carver will kill any one of them.



Carver brings to mind the menacing Governor from the Walking Dead comics.



Eventually, he does. Surviving under Carver's thumb sets up an unnerving structure for the episode. It feels like any dialogue option, any decision, may incur his wrath. At one point, I make a decision that causes Carver to kill. I feel terrible about it, replaying the choice in my head, wondering if I could've saved them. But I've played enough of Telltale's adventures now to get how the scene works, and to comfort myself with the knowledge that this particular death was almost certainly a predetermined plot point.



In a weird way, episode three makes me feel helpless as a player while making Clementine feel far more capable than any 11-year-old should realistically be. The Walking Dead always shoves its cast headlong into tragedy, but this is the first instance that its characters have truly been prisoners. It creates a weird dissonance. In previous episodes, I never chose where Lee or Clementine were going in the world, but I didn't feel like I needed to. I was following the story, unconsciously assuming that they were going wherever they could to survive. The location of an episode never felt limiting.



Once imprisoned by Carver, I was frustrated by the game forcing me from place to place without my input. Clementine wanted to escape, and so did I, but I had no control over how I tried to escape. One particular moment stood out: I was abruptly caught skulking around for seemingly no reason. Clementine left the door open, which I wouldn't have done. The transition from exploring to cutscene was so jarring, I actually thought I'd failed the scene in some way: one second I was alone, the next I'd been caught by a character who wasn't there a second before. It felt unfair, like I was the victim of Telltale's game engine if I'd taken a different path, maybe my capture would've made sense.



Walkers are, are usual, far less threatening than other humans.



That scene aside, the more I played, the more I felt like Telltale knew exactly how it was using this limitation. Being a prisoner is not fun. Prisoners do not get to choose where they go and what they do. Living in fear of Carver adds an uncomfortable uncertainty to every choice a reminder that my attempts to escape might fail, and they might have severe consequences.



Why, then, does the 11-year-old Clementine feel so much stronger than nearly all of the characters around her? In Harm's Way mostly abandons the dialogue options Clem had in season two's first episode, which allowed her to act innocent to manipulate adults. In episode three, everyone knows she's tough, and the rest of the characters sheepishly give Clementine the most dangerous responsibilities while they sit around freaking out. It's ridiculous, and reminds me that I'm an adult controlling a child in a video game. When Clementine sighs "Why does it always have to be me?" it's just too on-the-nose it has to be me because I'm the one playing the game, and it wouldn't be much of a game if I sat around doing nothing.



But that's not the only reason. Clementine feels so strong and confident because that's how I play her. Telltale has written adult-like dialogue options for Clementine, choices that make her less believable as a young character. Maybe this is part of her coming-of-age growth, but it loses some of the nuance of Clementine's interactions from earlier in the season.



Clementine has several chances to help her fellow survivors or stay quiet.



I realize that if I chose different options if I blamed someone instead of taking responsibility, or stayed silent instead of speaking up, my Clementine may be very different. But she'd still be the 11-year-old girl that the adults all turn to for help. Most of the characters mope around helplessly, or bluster into getting themselves caught. Without Clementine, they'd all be dead.



Episode three's setting may be the most constraining of the season so far, but it does introduce a couple new characters (and survivors from season one DLC 400 Days) I want to see more of. This is also as violent as Telltale has ever been, and it completely sells Carver's cruelty and the brutality of this post-apocalyptic world. In episode one, I thought Clementine's suturing scene was egregious, played for shock value. Here, violence is used to convey the emotions of the characters and the shades of morality in The Walking Dead. Unfortunately, the environmental limitations and Clementine's maturity pull me out of this episode more than I'd like.



Episode two is still the strongest of the season so far, but In Harm's Way does pull off a repeat trick. It tells a 90 minute story that stands well on its own, while ending with a violent cliffhanger to tease what's coming next. I'm left wondering, again, how dark this story can get.
...

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