It feels like ages took place between the previous episode of Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead: Season 2 and the newest episode, Amid the Ruins. To be fair they did do two back to back episodes of The Wolf Among Us in between, so I guess they wanted to just wrap that up first.
The previous episode of this one, In Harm’s Way, left me rather disappointed due to a very slow, very dull pace. As I said in that review it should have been named “Adventures in Carverland” but fortunately for us we’re done with that shithole and onto new business. There might be some spoilers for the previous three episodes of this season, so if you haven’t played it yet to get to this point you have been warned.
The end of In Harm’s Way left you with a choice after Kenny’s new flame, Sarita gets bitten by a walker – do you hack her arm off immediately (thus preventing infection as this has to be done right away to be effective), or do you simply do nothing? Ultimately at this point you’re probably prolonging the inevitable and I opted to hack her arm off because I have bloodlust like that and if you did so this episode starts off with a scream.
Shit really seems to hit the fan here, as bullets are flying, walkers are marching, and people are being douches. Other critics in other reviews have criticized this particular episode as “not having enough emotion” and being “emotionally hollow,” however I disagree on the grounds of “if you were in a zombie apocalypse for going on 2 years (the timetable for this episode), you wouldn’t have the luxury of being emotional.” These people have lost friends, lost loved ones, and survived – they’ve seen it all and I think as a result your nerves would be terminally shot or you’d just have to “deal with it” a whole lot faster.
But that’s not the case with everyone in this game and Sarah, that annoying little girl who has been a hinderance every step of the way this season, will have decisions to make, or rather, you as Clementine will make them for her. But will they matter?
The focus of this episode is Rebecca, who is at the end of her pregnancy. This can be a problem – if you’ve read the comics and novels you know that walkers just LOVE baby. Something about pregnancy attracts them in fact. You’ve got a tired Rebecca who can hardly move in an area with very little shelter or protection, the group has split, and worst of all the only person here who knows about babies is that lunatic Kenny, who has become even more unhinged after losing yet another loved one.
This is a game where some of your choices effect what appears throughout – Nick, who you had the option of letting die way back in the second episode may or may not appear if you didn’t let the weird gay bald guy shoot him. I let the weird gay bald guy shoot him, so I didn’t get Nick appearing in my game. Hey, I owe the weird gay bald guys of the world; that’s why I host a podcast with EdWood. You’ll also get to make choices that definitely have impact going forward.
One of the most refreshing parts of this title is that you get to learn more about Jane, who joined your group of survivors in the Escape from Planet Carver. Jane is a nod to tougher characters in other variations of the Walking Dead such as Michonne. She’s tougher, she’s made of sterner stuff – sure she has her problems but she is a true survivor and a likeable character who starts teaching Clementine new moves and tactics to prolong her life in this undead-infested world. It’s about time that this season of Telltale’s Walking Dead series had someone who can get tough instead of get killed. Hopefully we get a lot more of Jane going forward as this season of Telltale’s the Walking Dead has been lacking in true badassery. Jane is my rebuttal to those who claim “Season 2 hasn’t had any good characters.”
What is enjoyable for this episode of the Walking Dead is the sense of tension. You have a pregnant woman, a redneck who suffers from PTSD and is now missing an eye (and may have brain damage), a former meth addict, a black guy who I refer to as “Lee Light,” one tough bitch, a retard with glasses and Luke who is a “fat guy who always wants to be right” (reminds me of a friend of mine). This group is a mess, and getting them to do anything that NEEDS to be done is near impossible. No wonder Clemetine, despite her youth, is the sensible one. You have plenty of fights with walkers, plenty of split second decisions to make (that timer sure does run out fast when making a choice this time around), and yes, you’ll even have Russians!
This is literally the last thing you need when the chips are down, and the best part of it all is that this title will end on a true cliffhanger – you don’t even get a preview as you do with other episodes about what happens next because Telltale wants to keep you in shock and keep you guessing as you deal with one of the most intense and dark endings to an episode yet.
All in all, don’t believe the “critics” because they are full of shit. This is probably the best episode overall since Season 1 Episode 2 which had a lot of plot and a lot of high tension.
Trust me when I say that this more than makes up for a bit of a lull in Episode 3 and you’ll definitely have your mind blown by this one. Truthfully, I don’t go back and “redo” episodes of The Walking Dead because I want my decisions and reactions to always be genuine. But this one was so good, it made me consider it. With the recent announcement Telltale will continue The Walking Dead series into a third season, it’s anyone’s guess as to what happens from here.