01st Aug2014

Review: The Walking Dead – Season 2 Episode 4 (Xbox 360)

by Paul Metcalf

walking-dead-amid-the-ruins

I should hate Telltale Games, especially with The Walking Dead Season 2. Now onto the fourth episode, Amid the Ruins we escape from the chaos at the end of the last episode and while in the past the game has been about the dangers faced from outside the group itself, Amid the Ruins pulls focus right back to internal politics and the danger that each character faces.  After my mistakes from the previous episode I hoped to redeem myself and undo some of the damage done, but this being a Telltale Game you can guess that they probably won’t let that happen.

 

With The Walking Dead Season 2 I’ve previously said that I’d become desensitized against the choices I’m having to make, but Amid the Ruins is somewhat of a sledgehammer to that theory.  While the meeting point of the group is historical ruins which may be where the episode gets its name, the real damaged structure is of the group and Clementine’s connections to it.  Jane, the loner from the previous episode often hints how Clementine has to learn to be alone and even lets us into just why she has learnt to have this philosophy, but as the controller of Clementine’s fate you do feel some loyalty to the people that have tried to help you stay alive and trusted her to make choices for them.

The Walking Dead – Season 2 Episode 4: Amid the Ruins is a textbook example of how good Telltale are at making you care.  Instead of being about the world around you like in the previous episode, the tough choices are about the group itself…and as the pace picks up the tough choices are often fatal ones.  I’ll admit that I did fight for certain people to survive, even when they fought so hard against it, but to say much more would be giving away too many spoilers, just prepare to be devastated as the dynamics of the group are changed forever.  I will note that it’s interesting that the end game statistics were almost 50/50 for all events, showing that the choices that were made were probably the toughest so far in this season, in truth nobody knows what the correct choices are we just have to use our instincts.

The story for Amid the Ruins for me makes it one of the strongest of the seasons too.  There is a feel that Telltale Games really wanted to up the ante and make gamers make tough decisions, and they really do make you pay for them.  I do feel though that in this season I’ve finally turned into the asshole, and even if I regret my choices I have to play it out and see what the outcome will be.  In fighting for survival not only for me but for the group the game really does make you feel bad and puts the next episode at a knife point.  Have I made the right decisions? I have no idea.

While The Walking Dead Season 2 has been good there has been that feeling that it needed that extra bit of magic to hook the players and make the season as memorable as the first. The Walking Dead – Season 2 Episode 4: Amid the Ruins grabs you by the throat and squeezes tightly, asking you what to do next.  With the short time you have to make your decisions it forces you to be harsh, but more importantly it kicks that feeling of being desensitized right out of the window.  Amid the Ruins made me care again and made me realise that I may have made some wrong decisions, but most importantly it made me realise that I have to see this one out till the end.

**** 4/5

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

 

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