Platforms: PC (reviewed), PS4, Xbox One
Publisher/Developer: Telltale Games
Release: 25th September 2018
Price: 29.99 (All Episodes)
Well, what can happen during a few weeks? When my review of Episode 1 went up, no one would have expected Telltale Games to lay off ~250 people before even Episode 2 was out. However, so it went down and not only does The Walking Dead The Final Season face an uncertain future but pretty much everything else is cancelled too. Unfortunately, the follow-up of this story shows, that this was probably unavoidable.
After last episode´s finale, Clementine and AJ are facing the first real obstacle on their new journey and are confronted with the on-going sadness and desperateness of the world. Where the first one showed some glimpses of hope in the beginning, episode 2 turns the whole thing upside down, marking a grim confrontation with the harsh reality and how fragile everything can be.
It´s something not entirely new for the series, as it´s a common theme especially in this setting. Maybe that´s exactly why the first half doesn´t really have an impact compared to the events anymore. It tries so desperately to create this emotional grey zone full of brutality and cruelty for those two to overcome. After all, there´s no happiness without prior darkness. However, while this worked like a charm in the first season (and others as well), this proven formula begins to struggle here, as I´ve already seen this a felt dozen times. It doesn´t provide the emotional significance needed to carry Clementine´s and AJ´s emotional journey through the darkness, instead of feeling like another repeated formula of Telltale.
Not to say the actual events aren´t interesting. Honestly, two key moments, in particular, can convey quite a huge sense of hope and determination because they show new sides of those characters. After all, not only our main duo lives in this world for so long, others do too and begin to alter their personalities and thoughts accordingly. It´s pretty great to see how the different people we met think in such a contrary way to the ones in the previous seasons. Especially when we meet one of the older cast members and observe their development over the time, effectively becoming what Clementine fears the most. Even though the underlying formula starts to show here, the emotional bond to this character can still bolster many of its shortcomings in this scene making it work better than I anticipated.
Generally, The Walking Dead The Final Season Episode 2 really tries to build up to a satisfying end but I cannot, and probably will never be able to, say if Telltale Games had some sort of new idea here. In this episode, everything feels like they looked at season 1 and decided to use it as a framework. Where episode 1 really played out like a completely new concept, Telltale Games fell back into their old schemata, in order to build emotional problems, rather than inventing new things.
A lot about The Walking Dead The Final Season Episode 2 represents Telltale Games itself in an awfully good manner. By relying on proven formulas, a lot feels like rehashed old stuff with faint glimpses of originality here and there. I don´t dislike it, mainly because of the bond I developed for Celementine and AJ but am nor particularly impressed. Unfortunately, that will probably the last impression I take from their games.
[A Review Code was provided by Telltale Games]