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Watch Dogs Review

[As Read on GIO.]

Ubisoft has tried their hand at crafting their fair share of open-world romps within the past few years- most recently Far Cry 3 among them, and has performed fairly well. As you’ll soon gather from my review here, Watch Dogs isn’t the greatest game out there to do it, nor the best looking next-gen title, however it more than adequately gets the job done. We’ve seen more than our fair share of demo videos for the game since two E3s ago, and the final product lives up to some promises and falls down on others, a result often found in today’s industry as developers find themselves pressured more and more to get more done than they originally intended, and end up either axing content or crafting sub-par content in specific areas here and there. On the whole, Watch Dogs is a fairly impressive new IP as well as a potential future money-maker for Ubisoft should they get their act more together and craft a truly quality sequel worth of this new generation and the hardware it offers up. The delay of the game’s initial release- postponed until May 27th of this year, did not add or detract much from the game’s final product and ultimately skeptics may have been the more correct of the two areas of thought in the format of the released product, it being slightly worse for wear than what was initially showed off.

It should come as no surprise that players take up the trench coat, phone carrying cowl of hacker and disgruntled wayfarer Aiden Pearce in this particular Ubisoft revenge tale. In fact, despite the vast differences, there could be many parallels drawn between Watch Dogs’ and Assassin’s Creed II’s revenge stories. Utilizing the citywide operating system that Chicago now runs on, Pearce is able to systematically hijack and take down many digital systems in order to rid himself of pursuers, kill foes in innovative new ways, and generally cause mayhem in his quest for vengeance and retribution for his deceased niece. Of course, when all else fails, he’s more than able to pick up a gun and use that to his advantage as well, even in combination with his hacking expertise. The story itself may seem like something out of one of those movie cliches, as it deals with an obviously corrupt corporation with far-reaching powers and influence. Pearce is pitted against said company which apparently had his niece murdered, and after many twists and turns throughout the decent story, he finally comes out on top…well sort of I guess, but that’s for another day. Also, let’s talk for a minute about who thought it was a good idea to put the entire city on one operating system- that’s pretty outlandish, but of course completely created for the purpose of this particular story, as otherwise it would’ve been a lot harder for Pearce to accomplish all he does. That’s beside the point however.

Watch Dogs is a pretty well designed open-world romp, even if it doesn’t feature the best of stories or specific gameplay elements. It is very strong in some areas and particularly weak in others, but its too late to really avoid that right now of course. Your time is split locomotion wise pretty evenly between traversing the environment on foot and in the variety of vehicles available for hijacking- including cars, boats, and motorcycles. As Watch Dogs isn’t a racing game, the vehicle controls could be much better, but they are far from terrible. I particularly enjoy the cars in Rockstar titles such as GTA and LA Noire, but Watch Dogs’ work as well for what you’re given. The other good thing about the way that the vehicles do handle is the fact that you can smash through just about any breakable environmental object and not have to deal with getting thrown out of or off of whatever it is you’re driving- like in GTA (the infamous no-enter poles and beams) or other open-world titles such as Mercenaries. In this respect, one could easily compare the level of possible environmental destruction to something out of a car crushing game such as Burnout or Full Auto or something of a similar sort, which is never a bad thing in my book. Of course, bear in mind that your foes have similarly god-like abilities in vehicles and will definitely use this to their advantage. Also, unlike GTA, you cannot equip weapons whilst driving- you can however hack environmental objects to cause mayhem, which may be even more fun.

Now, if you choose to approach things from an on-foot perspective, which is completely viable in most instances, you’re privy to quite a few more enjoyable hacking features than you may encounter the use or need for in vehicular segments. Hacking, being an integral part of the game of course, is also integral in combat and general locomotion and encounters. You can watch foes on camera in order to get the drop on them or give them the slip. You can use your hacking abilities to activate environmental traps and cause mayhem and you can also change the environment as well- much like you can in vehicular chases, by raising or lowering items and performing other helpful tasks. Watch Dogs is by no means an FPS or TPS but the shooting mechanics shine when they are employed as well, although to anybody playing I would heartily recommend a more cautious, stealthy approach to combat if it can’t be avoided, as it feels much more meaningful and is more fun that way. Sort of like something out of FEAR, but not to that particular extent (but think BulletTime), you can temporarily slow time and use it to either avoid bad guys, hide, or line up the perfect shot and take out a few foes. Thus, combat feels satisfying and is quite effective both in all-out shootouts and stealth approaches in the game, making for a fun open-world experience as well as a down-to-earth shooter when the occasion calls.

Talking more about the matter of hacking in-game, there are plenty of opportunities to do so, as well as to implement the new hacking abilities and upgrades you are constantly learning as you advance through the game. The classic approaches as shown in the tutorial and demo videos are always viable and versatile options- from overloading steam pipes to raising guard posts, however there are also several other abilities to be learned such as changing traffic signals, hacking into characters’ phones, and causing citywide sirens and alarms to distract essential personnel and cause general chaos to cover an escape or infiltration. The city is your weapon, here more literally than in any other game that has promised it. Hacking during car chases works well, but it is much more limited than on-foot hacking in that you must actually pass the hackable objects and you must begin the hack as the game prompts you to, otherwise you’re liable to have to circle around and start over again. Also, as you must level up your hacks and learn new ways to hack into systems, not all of these objects will initially be open to you. This can be frustrating, however it also translates well into adding to the feeling of steady progression of skills throughout the game, and pays off well later.

I’ve given you a glimpse at some of the general gameplay of the title- focusing of course of hacking and hijacking systems and vehicles, but lets go to a broader, graphical glimpse of the game and see how it shapes up as well. Depending largely on what system you get it on, Watch Dogs can look pretty good or pretty average. Obviously it looks the best on the new-generation consoles, specifically the Play Station 4. However, it doesn’t look too terribly different on PC or the previous console generation. This having been said, don’t expect the visual hype at least to live up to the grand expectations presented several E3s ago, as the game looks good, but no better than a lot of titles we’ve already seen before. It has its moments and doesn’t look bad, but particular textures can be muddied and torn at times which is never a good sign. For this reason, it is easily noticeable that Watch Dogs is indeed a cross-generation title and not a truly next-generation one alone, because it was built to conform to current standards and not so much to utilize the entirety of the potential tech available on new platforms. On the bright side however, Chicago is represented as an excellent open-world hub, the interactions with the environment and new areas that you travel to are seamless about ninety-five percent of the time, and on the whole- despite some degrading moments, the game looks and feels great and flows well.

For the most part, Ubisoft does a great job of making interesting campaign missions and side activities, giving characters a variety of ways to complete tasks and to broaden their play styles as well. As with any open-world title, there are plenty of repetitive aspects to be found in Watch Dogs’ content, however there are also several unconventional missions and encounters that will stick with you- from busting up your enemies’ “parties” to guiding NPCs that actually, surprisingly take orders well and don’t completely screw things up every chance they get. All of these encounters come off as fast-paced and fresh thanks in most part also to your skills as a hacker, and not necessarily because of your shooting prowess, although that doesn’t hurt either. Don’t think you’ll blow through the game in one sitting however, because despite some of the repetitive action, there is plenty to be found in the way of collectibles and experienced a la side content similar to that of Grand Theft Auto V. Heck, Ubisoft even managed to incorporate some interesting multiplayer elements into the main game itself, as other players can spawn in-game and hack you, chase you around and terrorize you, or even sort of assist you from the shadows. Of course, it’s even more fun to turn the table on an unsuspecting victim of yours as well, and it certainly beats preying on the completely oblivious AI as well, so going after truly human targets is much more of a challenge and thrill ride.

I’ve talked (mostly) about what Watch Dogs does well or at least marginally well at, so now it is only fair that I talk some more about the areas that the game could realize use some work on- for one reason or another. As previously mentioned, repetitive mission structure is a large issue, and many times missions that start off interestingly boil down to the same chase scenes and hacking tutorials, which can really put a damper on the overall experience. There are several cheap opportunities to extend the gameplay so to speak which Ubisoft also takes, opting to produce foes with an insane amount of padding to make fights more drawn out, as well as scripted tailing and pursuing missions that generally just aren’t fun at all in most cases. Ubisoft also bounces around the board as far as a story goes and doesn’t really convey it as meaningfully as they could or should have, leaving me not really caring about many of the characters and simply wanting to enjoy the sandbox open-world moments presented- which is fine, thankfully in a game such as this. Aiden Pearce’s character doesn’t have the greatest set-up, but it works, as you’re able to really make what you want out of him and craft the experience as you wish- one of the finer points of the title, despite the general failings in the character department elsewhere. Talking more about the story, the vast majority of it- while not necessarily forgettable, is often stupid, sardonic, and crass to say the least. I get that other games like GTA do this as well, but at least they can pull it off and the tone fits- here, it just didn’t click quite as well as I would’ve liked.

Now, despite its numerous failings in both story and at times graphics and overall visuals, as well as its failure to deliver on several early promises, Watch Dogs is far from a bad game. It is a really enjoyable and replayable experience, even if it is a highly flawed one as well. As with many similarly flawed titles of its genre and caliber, the main attraction and the main thing that works the most in Watch Dogs is in fact its open-world setting and the relative freedom players are allowed in deciding what they want to do or where they want to go, as well as when and why or why not. Choice and hacking capabilities alone make this a worthwhile title to play, even if it isn’t quite the hit they were looking for. I for one certainly enjoyed my time with this game, as well as the fact that it retained similarities to their other recent titles- such as Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry, without going overboard into those territories at all. If there’s one thing that can be said about it, it’s that Watch Dogs is certainly one of a kind- even if it isn’t because it’s sailed into uncharted territory, and is only because there hasn’t really yet been a game quite like it in conceptual terms. If they do choose to make it a series, which seems viable considering it sold pretty well, I’d be interested to see the hopefully improved sequel and to compare its rights and wrongs to those of this title as well.

Concept: Explore open-world Chicago as the revenge-seeking, trenchcoat and ballcap clad hacker Aiden Pearce. Enjoy some cheap thrills and spills, laugh at the mostly overdone story moments, and torment the people of the city with environmental chaos and hijacking of the citywide OS employed by a corrupt corporation.

Graphics: The game looks good on most consoles and devices, however there are times when it is visually muddied, and it doesn’t like up to the frame rate or overall graphical awareness originally promised as well.

Sound: There are several tunes in-game that work and several that don’t. The accompanying score works in most instances where the licensed content doesn’t.

Playability: With the exception of the odder than not vehicle controls, the other mechanics handle fantastically. Naturally, because of the vehicle controls, pretty much any of these mechanics being used during chases are more frustrating than not.

Entertainment: It’s in its own class and genre thanks to the exceptional hacking abilities afforded to your character, and overall it’s quite an enjoyable experience. Also, there are some doge jokes to be made about and in the game. I kid you not. Seriously.

Replay Value: High.

Overall Score: 8.0

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Level Review: Voipqo D’raquo (Baufritz)

Also called Voipqo D’raqo according to the play-browser of the Atmosphir client, Voipqo D’raquo is an intermediate puzzle and platforming level created by veteran design Baufritz, formerly Baufritz96. In this particular review, I will do things slightly different than normal as it is mainly a review for the purpose of feedback, not convincing people whether or not something is a worthwhile purchase- as the majority of my game reviews are here. I plan to establish a new archetype for my reviews- the level reviews specifically, and will not use the same conceptual template as I do for my normal game reviews. In this review I will go room by room and point out the things I liked and didn’t enjoy as much as I could have, give a few potential design tips or add in some things I may have done to alleviate glitchy surfaces, bugs, or whatever other issues, and I will also give an overall pro and con analysis of the level in full. Essentially, I plan to make these level reviews part-part-whole reviews, as I will break everything down by sections or segments before analyzing it in full and assigning a grade. Although Atmosphir offers a 5-star rating system and a 5-tier difficulty ranking, and I will include my personal rankings and ratings for levels according to that here as well, I will be assigning the levels grades out of 10 as I normally do based on the criteria set forth above.

Now, without further ado, allow me to begin this review in earnest, starting with the very first puzzle of the day and the first room it takes place within. Immediately upon starting up the level, players should be mindful that the designer has allowed for virtually no vertical platforming aside from the use of ladders as your character is unable to jump whatsoever. This interesting design choice goes beyond the low-jump puzzle levels we’re often playing and makes for an interesting experience for the duration of the otherwise medium length level, extending the time it takes to play through the entire thing. You’re going to want to constantly be mindful of hidden moving platforms and triggered platforms on stayed locations as well, mainly for the sake of progression through the level. There are two hidden wooden platforms to be found in the first room, a triggered one to start up a third platform allowing traversal to a more elevated perch, and two movable crates to use in order to make your way to the next area. Also, avoid the spiked owl trap and reversed falling spike trap as well, as these are the two traps most likely to kill you in the entire level- not because of difficulty but because of carelessness essentially.

Moving onto the next segment is as simple as triggered the necessary moving platforms and hopping onto the ladder out of the room and into a brief passageway before a locked door. It shouldn’t puzzle you too terribly much however, as the key is in the very antechamber you will find yourself currently stuck in without. Having opened the door you are greeted by the sight of a larger room with three branching openings into three separate rooms. The room directly across from you in front leads to the finish flag and final puzzle, and is currently blocked by a triggered moving platform. The rooms to your left and right are currently unreachable without finding the requisite two hidden moving platforms on the ground level of the room you reside within. Once more, these platforms aren’t too terribly complicated to find and won’t prove very difficult to locate and trigger. Be aware that there are two main traps in this room as well which can kill careless players once again if you aren’t mindful of their presence. The inverted ceiling trap that travels along the path of the wooden ramp directly underneath where you enter the room is probably the largest hazard in sight, as it will stab you in the back if you attempt to go up the ramp at the wrong time or are too slow in doing so.

Trigger the checkpoint just in case before you go anywhere else, should something unfortunate befall your character. Search the large pile of rocks to your left and you will encounter a triggered moving platform which will automatically dip into the ground and trigger something later on supposedly. It isn’t exactly clear if it actually does anything or not that makes it possible or impossible otherwise to complete the level, so trigger it just to be safe. Next, I would ascend the shell platforms to the connector bridges- after having located and triggered the two wooden platforms on the ground level. I recommend going to the right room first in order to go ahead and grab the bomb in the unlocked chest there, as well as the extra 200 points worth of precious gemstones. Either path is open to you at this point and both are equally easy to traverse, however the right side is much faster in terms of thought process required and getting through and back. Once you’ve grabbed the bomb, return to the middle chamber and look up towards the array of skeletal wooden blocks above you, intertwined within the branches of the tree and the palm ferns. Shoot the cracked block with the bomb in order to eject a movable crate with which you can position on the triggered platform up the ramp with the ceiling trap. Be aware of the ceiling trap’s pathway and pattern in your timing to avoid an untimely and unfortunate misstep and demise.

Once you’ve pushed the crate that far, you will have unlocked one of the triggered platforms necessary for unlocking and rotating the platform blocking access to the final chamber. Now, if you head down the left pathway into the elongated room filled with a seemingly impassible sea of spikes, you will see the final platform trigger. Glance at the far wall directly opposite of you for a subtle hint as to the safest path across the sea of impenetrable spike traps and make your way across. Once you’ve triggered the depressed platform be sure to carefully make your way back, doing just the opposite of what steps got you to the other side previously. Once in the middle chamber again you will be able to climb back up and make your way across the connector bridges to a moving platform that will carry you up and to the final chamber. The puzzle in this chamber is simple but potentially the most frustrating of the level. You can also see another precious gemstone to your right upon entering the room, which is easily collectable before finishing the level. As has grown to be custom, find the two hidden moving platforms in order to make the finish flag that is so tantalizingly close accessible.

Traipse along the blocks on the left side of the room, taking note of the cracked piece of wall and the bomb to your right as you go. The easiest way to grab the bomb on the central platform is to climb onto the triggered movable platforms and then drop down, grabbing the edge of the central block and hauling yourself up to retrieve the bomb. As with the other bomb, this one is on a respawn timer of roughly ten seconds, so grab two just to play it safe. Now, you’re going to want to make your way up to the second platform that you triggered, shortly before the currently unreachable one dangling one block above your head. Turn to face the cracked wall and shoot it, carefully controlling your shot and then falling to grip the edge of the now moving platform to your left. As the block respawns, you will be carried back up on the platform and can now finish the level. As far as I was able to tell, there are three gemstones worth 100 points each and your 4 starting lives, meaning the grand total of potential points should be somewhere around 430,000. If there were hidden secrets, I obviously was not a good enough player to discover them and bypassed them. However, as I am the only player to complete the level- at least since the play browser was updated to show results, this is the highest score thus far obtained.

Now, as I’ve offered a little bit of a walkthrough without spoiling everything in its entirety- only giving directions but not describing in vast detail exactly how to complete each challenge, I will proceed to explain some of the things I enjoyed about the level and some things I didn’t so much enjoy. In the first room, many players should recognize that it comes directly from the essential demo that the level known as Voipqo was and ties directly into the continuation of the level. That factor was cool in that it showed a brief glimpse at how the gameplay was going to handle and also provides an extension of a concept as well. The general environment blended together quite well and the props chosen worked with the stone blocks and wooden platforms. The only occasional glitch in the system was if a particular moving platform or prop encountered another block at an odd angle and gave off one of the glitchy looking shaky frames as the two intersected and were the exact same size, not masking the discontinuity as sometimes can happen instead. However, thankfully this was a rare occurrence and only really noticeable with the retracting of the final moving platform leading to the final room.

Having the first bomb on a respawn timer sort of made the second nonessential since it respawned as well, so I would have removed that one’s timer and left the second one as is- forcing players to use it instead of simply collecting ten bombs earlier and blowing through the final stage faster. It makes no difference in all honesty, but holds up better to do it this way. I particularly liked the small puzzles and environmental triggers incorporated into the level, and they were understandably its strongest point. Even without many traps the level’s difficulty stemmed from careful, calculated decisions and wise movement of the interacting objects as well. Rarely was it frustrating although one could make the mistake of accidentally pushing a box into a corner or onto some rocks, making the level impossible to finish in that particular runthrough. Other than this, there were no other factors except for loss of life I suppose should you have failed out due to that. There is no time limit so you are free to mull over things for as long as you’d like.

Now, allow me to lay out some of the main pros and cons I witnessed throughout the level in a shortlist of sorts right here:

Pros: Environment, Use of Space, Puzzles.

Cons: Some Glitchy Looks, Potential Exploits.

Play Browser Score: 4 Stars, Intermediate Challenge.

Official Rating: 8.0/10.0

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The Walking Dead: Season 2- Episode 1: All that Remains

[As Read on GIO.]

Beginning Anew, Remembering the Old

Quality Continues with Clementine in the Lead

Hey there folks. It’s been a little while since I wrote an actual review here, so I’ll start with this one, an appropriate place to start as any on the first of a new year. I’ve had my time to play through the start of Telltale’s second season of their The Walking Dead series of episodic storytelling, and Clem manages to hold her own- which is great characteristically and for the title as well. It leaves me looking forward to a hopeful remainder of a second season of episodes, and to what else may come. We’ve dipped our toes in the water with season one, so Telltale is pulling even less punches this time around, as should be easily recognizable from the beginning episode of season two “All That Remains”. Seriously, no punches are pulled this time around- as if many were last time anyways. I was interested as to how they would manage to do it, but so far Telltale has, as far as I can see, managed to incorporate the “Clem will remember that” moments from last season’s antics, as well as any other people you encounter from that season here. So, the narrative continues, even if it is picking up where Lee’s tale left off, sad as that was (*spoiler!).

Now, I’m going to try to do this review without spoiling much, or anything- if at all possible, so try to cut me a little bit of slack if I seem to be getting vaguer and vaguer as we go through, as there is much to be discussed and hopefully not thoroughly spoiled for those of you who have not had the pleasure of experiencing and playing just yet. Though mainly due to procrastination I have not completely finished my anthology-ish review of the complete first season, as I have left off its episode five, my overall score for that season was a highly commendable 8.75 and I also gave the 400 Days epilogue/season bridge an 8.5 as well. This having been said, while you may think I am giving this first episode a relatively “weak” numerical score in comparison to the others of the strong first season and fine interlude, I have thoroughly enjoyed this episode and been harsher with my grade of the same problems that I was able to concede were “rookie” first season mistakes, that also appeared here in some instances. All in all, this is the Clementine roadshow now, and although she was a focal point and character of importance in the first season as well, she truly begins to spread her wings and fly this time around.

I suppose this particular episode could have very well been titled something ironic along the lines of “Growing Pains” as that would be true both in terms of Clementine’s bid for survival amongst her fellow companions and the zombie apocalypse, as well as her evolution as a young girl and character. Twisted ironies aside, the zombie apocalypse is no cake walk- particularly for a girl barely striking double digits. Clementine, as with but on a somewhat slower-paced and smaller scale than Carl (Chandler Riggs) from the television counterpart, is forced to grow up much faster than normal. “All That Remains” finally gives players the full reins of control over Clem in her fight for survival, and bold though that is, it works just as well to their advantage- if not more so, than Lee’s control ever did. No longer quite so naive and gullible as she once was, in no small part thanks to the horrors she has already witnessed- multiple zombies feasting, cannibalism, and much, much more, Clementine finally stands on her own, mostly without the support of a father-like figure, and fights for herself and her new-found companions. It’s good to see that she can be her own person, small though she may seem, and a larger than life character in her own right. I can only hope, in a paternal type of way, that Telltale doesn’t have the guts to kill her off in the near future as well, though sadly I wouldn’t put it past them…

Players who purchase this particular episode are finally able to see what we’ve all been speculating deliriously about since the ending of season one and the hints added by 400 Days: just what Clem’s been up to and where she is at as well as how she is faring on her own. New and returning faces make appearances (two guesses who, on the returning side, as I am sure it has already been spoiled for you here or elsewhere), and new problems arise because of these and other encounters. The characters remain similarly shaped to the archetypes of the first seasons’ but also allow for some more room to grow and some more multifaceted growth and change in the ways they will interact with different players’ choices as well along the way. This only improves an already gripping and replayable experience, even at the expense of starting off virtually the same as many characters from last season (Larry, Kenny, etc). The plot twists and turns in some great ways- bringing to mind some of the highlights and most questionable moments of season one, while retaining the sense of despair (not always overwhelmingly so, but close), and seeming brutally realistic and fresh at the same time.

Some of the new characters aren’t as accepting as others of Clem or other travelers and survivors they come across, but with time, that is made a little more clear- and may be made more so in the future as well. I did like that, while some seem to be cut from the same mold as characters from season one in more ways than one, they aren’t direct copies as there is a lot different and broader array of folks this time around- from pregnant women on. Ironically, instead of pitying this particular pregnant woman, I disliked her the most initially of the new group Clementine interacts with, hormones or not- her actions were just plain unacceptable at times, and cruel to boot. Most of the more action-packed moments are recycled from season one, though in different tropes and settings thanks to Clem’s journey made between seasons as well. Killing zombies, attacking survivors, talking to the more unstable members of the cast, and scavenging for supplies make up the bulk of the non-story related gameplay. Because of Clementine’s vulnerability and youth, she is both gifted with the ability to appeal to older folks more readily at times, and also at their mercy when it comes to being trusted with weapons and defending herself. Not that she’s as gung-ho about murdering folks as the borderline sociopath Carl is becoming, but you catch my drift I see…

There’s a little bit more riding on your (rather, Clem’s) shoulders this time around, as- instead of further developing Lee’s mysterious character, you are deciding just how Clementine is going to grow up, and whether she’s going to be a cold, calculating character, or a respectable survivor. It’s good to vary your tactics in speech however, and not follow one complete path, as Telltale realistically weaves a narrative where it is impossible to feel satisfied with every choice and to always choose one response type each time. No matter which direction you go- sassy or polite to your elders and peers, they will react mostly to your looks and age more so than your experience- though in the apocalypse, ironically enough you have the same or more so even than the adults in your group. Thankfully, one of the biggest sticking points of the first season has been improved, though not completely remedied and fixed- by which I am of course referring to the action sequences. These feel a little bit more fluid, and take their cues from the successful action of The Wolf Among Us this time around, instead of the first season’s brand of button pushing. As a small girl, it is unrealistic to be able to force your way out of situations, so most encounters are made more harrowing by the fact that you must constantly be on your guard and ready to flee from your attackers. Oh, and don’t think that just because Clem is a poor little girl in the apocalypse means the punches are pulled either, as you can get her killed just as easily- if not more so than Lee, and it is ten times worse to observe the pains she has to go through just to survive as well. At least she still has her hands for now though…

Aside from a few smaller moments that have obviously been remembered, Telltale is mostly tight lipped in this first episode in regards to your consequences and decisions carrying over from last season’s episodes, however, that only leaves more room for what comes later on in this season- so I’m not too disappointed as of yet. I’m more interested in seeing what the future holds for Clem and her companions than dwelling on the bloodstained past as it is. New obstacles and foes are on the horizon and are slowly being discovered, and I loved that thus far while many questions have been somewhat or totally answered, others are just now rearing their ugly little heads as well in classic The Walking Dead form. We may never know why the zombie apocalypse happened in the first place, but hey- some things just never change anyways… The biggest letdown and simultaneously interesting point is that the first episode of this second season relies a little too much on the foundations set by the successful first one, without having as much to spread its own wings as a result. However, it does usher in new faces and new content, and therefore is a success in my mind regardless of score due to this.

At the very least, being able to see things from a fresh, younger perspective keeps this otherwise overly similar moments more tense, exciting, and new- even if they are inevitably cut from virtually the same seasonal cloth as the first encounters. I’m loving that it’s still The Walking Dead, it’s still quite up in the air and unsure just who will live and die, and it’s still as tense as ever though. That’s all a fan can ask for. I am also equally eager to see and getting ready to cringe at just what is going to continue to happen to Clem especially in the coming episodes, and just how dark these days might get as well…

Concept: Take control of the darling Clementine this time around, with no Lee to save you or otherwise spare you from the horrible reality that is the zombie apocalypse from the mind of Robert Kirkman and the folks at Telltale weaving this new tale.

Graphics: The dark tone, yet comic look is much the same as the original season and the 400 Days episode without much change aside from some lighting and angled effects.

Sound: The tense and dreary tones continue to inspire and instill fear and anxiety in the hearts of even the most ready zombie apocalypse survivors.

Playability: The controls work a little bit better in action sequences, but are largely the same as their season one counterparts in handling and layout.

Entertainment: Although whether or not it is entertainment or moral torture is not clear, even now, the captivating world and continued cast of colorful characters astounds.

Replay Value: Moderately High.

Overall Score: 8.0

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millie schmidt writes... with cats

millie schmidt writes...

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