Telltale’s The Walking Dead Season 2 Review (Xbox 360)

Like any great TV show or episodic story-telling, playing the first season of Telltale’s The Walking Dead is an absolute must in order to get the full experience from season 2. After such high praise and critical-acclaim for the previous 6 episodes, expectations were high for the next 5 episodes. If you’re unfamiliar with the franchise or the types of games Telltale has been pumping out, The Walking Dead is a point-and-click, choice driven game. It’s more of an interactive story than a video game, but the choices you make will affect the story and put it in different paths. You can play an episode and compare notes to a friend who has played the same episode and realize you two have experienced a totally different part of the story — and that’s really cool.

Season 2 revolves around Clementine, who played as a supporting role in the first season and she is a totally transformed person this time around. She has matured greatly, but the game reminds you she’s still a kid with moments like awkward exposure to sexual and drug/alcohol related topics. It really humanizes her and you feel her pain as she is forced to grow faster in this dark and hallow world.

Blood-pumping, anxiety-inducing and haunting. I can go on and on about the many emotions brought upon me throughout season 2, because it was such a trip. Each episode put Clementine and the group of zombie walker survivors in more dire situations where the stakes became bigger and decision making tougher. By the end, I was struggling even behind the safety of my video game controller to make a choice that would determine the fate of the on-screen characters who I have become attached to emotionally.

I am as cold-hearted and stoic as the next gamer, but each life or death scenario felt weightier than the last. I can kill 500 people in a sandbox game like Grand Theft Auto V and not feel a thing, but one death here felt like a huge loss and that’s a big accomplishment in my book. There are moments in the game where Clementine is simply chatting with characters and learning about them which helps build depth with each person you encounter.

After each episode, the cliffhanger left me wanting more and the pain to endure another month or so wait for the next episode gradually worsened. Luckily, if you’re reading this and haven’t played an episode yet, then you get to binge play/watch the entire season in one sitting. Each episode takes about an hour and a half to complete so it is reasonably doable in a day if you’re dedicated enough.

Noticeably different this time around was the lack of puzzle elements. Although season 1 wasn’t super heavy with puzzle solving, there was still some figuring out to do. This time, the game flows with little to no possibility for error or interruptions because you weren’t paying attention for a moment. This really puts the focus on the story and compelling narrative and much less on being a “video game”. The finale had me on the edge of my seat more so than the previous episodes as all the build-up has finally led to the pinnacle of Clementine’s story. It’s so hard to describe without spoiling anything, but it is certainly awesome.

Telltale’s The Walking Dead season 2 is a major testament to the genius behind the game. The writing is great and comparable to the stories told on the TV and comic series — maybe even better! It seems Telltale is getting better at this type of gaming play style and it also seems like they’re not slowing down anytime soon. If you’re looking to get into season 2, pick up season 1 first to get a better grasp of the story; the best part is that these games are well priced, too. This review is light on word count, because there really isn’t much to say that wouldn’t spoil the story. It’s simple, easy to play and the story is amazing. Go get this!

The Walking Dead Season 2
Genre: Graphic Adventure
Platform: Reviewed on Xbox 360 (Also available on PlayStation 3 and PC)
Developer: Telltale
Publisher: Telltale
Release Date: Season finale August 27, 2014
Rating: 9.5 / 10

Spoiler free impressions of The Walking Dead season 2 ‘All That Remains’

It’s no secret that Telltale’s The Walking Dead season 1 was a huge triumph and it’d be silly for the episodic game to not continue off of that success. Everyone knew a season 2 was coming, but the exact launch was kept in dark up until its eventual release in late December. Telltale is dabbling into other series like The Wolf Among Us and their newly announced take on the Game of Thrones franchise, and they will run concurrently with each other. However, their flagship title, The Walking Dead would be the litmus paper to showcase if Telltale can truly be the “HBO of videogames” and have a great series with multiple seasons. Well, it seems as though the first episode of season 2 and 7th overall episode, ‘All That Remains’ passes the test as Telltale nails it and continues the trend of great storytelling with a videogame that aggressively gets the player emotionally invested.

Unlike episode 1 of season 1, ‘All That Remains’ gets into the meat and potatoes right off the bat. Telltale is able to take this liberty, because like any television series or good book, season 2 of The Walking Dead demands that you have experienced season 1 already. Characters and their backgrounds are already established so not knowing any of their history would raise a lot of questions while playing. Playing season 1 is highly recommended before playing and even the special episode ‘400 Days’ is references, although not as heavily (yet?). The game will take into account your save file and what you’ve done in season 1 and allow you to play off of that. If for whatever reason you don’t have a prior save file, the game will generate choices made in the first season and recap it for you.

This season, you will be playing as Clementine and new characters and companions are introduced as well. Each new character’s personality and attitude radiates off the screen and it’s done in subtle but clever ways. At one point, you will eavesdrop in an argument behind a closed door and you can pick up who’s a nice person or has a dominant personality. Some characters make you feel comfortable, others make you scared and some you get a strange and eerie vibe from. It’s a rollercoaster of emotion that Telltale brilliantly captures in a videogame and I can’t wait to see it fully blossom in the rest of the season.

Choices are also back and they are tougher than I can recall the first season ever having. There are at least 3 big choices that you know will deeply impact the rest of the game along with smaller choices scattered throughout. Much like every other episode before it, ‘All That Remains’ ends expectantly on a cliffhanger and it makes you just want to keep playing. I had the luxury of playing the first season in its entirety and it’s like when you’re watching Breaking Bad or Sons of Anarchy on Netflix – it’s much better to watch it commercial free and without anticipating week after week what’s going to happen next, but the tradeoff is having to wait until it’s all over. Having experienced both sides, having to wait doesn’t diminish the quality of the game and it’s exciting to know that I have something to look forward to every few weeks until the season is over.

If you were a fan of the first season, jumping into season 2 is a no-brainer. ‘All That Remains’ is a juicy introduction to this new season and it’s looking like a fun ride until the very end. Clementine is different from who she was in the first season and she is now a strong lead character. Newbies, I say check out season 1, which can be bought for close to $20 or less if you catch a deal. Telltale is doing some awesome stuff and if you haven’t experienced The Walking Dead yet, you’re missing out big time.

‘The Walking Dead’ gets its ‘Doctor Who’ Companion

It’s been a while since Hollywood has caught the vile pox of TV-series-spin-off fever. On ABC, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland spins off from Once Upon a Time this Fall, while on The CW, The Originals spawns out of The Vampire Diaries (not to mention the Flash series which Warner Bros is planning to spin out of Arrow).

Broadcast TV isn’t alone in double dipping into the ratings pie. AMC is moving forward with a tie-in-series to The Walking Dead, which the network dubs a “companion” series. Eat your heart out Doctor Who.

Robert Kirkman is on board to Executive Produce the series and make a few more dollars in the process. Cha-ching. The Walking Dead is easily one of the top TV phenomenons over the past few years. A successful video game series from Telltale Games launched in 2012 and received critical acclaim. The game focused on new characters, not featured in the TV series or Kirkman’s comic book.

The new sister series is expected to hit AMC in 2015 and will explore the world from a different perspective than that of our hero, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln).

With a new series in the works, one has to wonder how many seasons the cable network plans to milk its current cast for. At one point, it seemed as though all characters, except for Rick, could get killed at any moment. But now, Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) also seems to have a pass due to fan appeal.

Spinoffs aren’t all bad. Let’s not forget that The Jeffersons came out of All in the Family, Frasier came out of Cheers and Curb Your Enthusiasm came out of Seinfeld.

Adventures in Cosplay: Diary Day 2 – Harley & The Riddler vs ‘The Walking Dead’ (Video)

How does it feel to get jabbed in your boob at Comic Con?

In our second Cosplay Diary, Costume Designer Alexandra Threw and cosplayer Rebecca Williams share more on their epic cosplaying adventures in San Diego.

On Day 2, Alex and Rebecca show off their love of Batman in their tag team outfits. Alex shines in her custom, Playboy-inspired Riddler outfit and Rebecca radiates in her evolving – and beloved – Harley Quinn costume. Much like Training Day, Comic Con is wild ride of “smiles and cries” for these two playful cosplayers. But it’s all for the love of the Con.

EDITOR’S PICK: Cosplay: Diary Day 1 – Purist Cosplayers and the Lure of Boobs

The two discuss the wondrous “super bra,” their trials with The Walking Dead signing, the perils of poster tubes at Comic Con, Ace Attorney and why straws and Cheetos are so darned important for women cosplayers.

Be sure to check back for more cosplaying adventures in our third Cosplay Diary.

Holy Arkham City, Batman! Harley Quinn and The Riddler have escaped!!

‘The Walking Dead’ Season 4 Comic Con Details Imminent

In just over a month, thousands of comic book, TV and movie fans will descend on San Diego for Comic Con.

It goes without saying that The Walking Dead will have a dominant presence at SDCC 2013. After the tragic loss at the end of season 3, still missing you Andrea (Laurie Holden) even if you did sleep with the damn Governor (David Morrissey), we’re anxious to see the first footage from The Walking Dead Season 4. The first production still (below) surfaced just last month when TWD returned to production in Atlanta, GA.

So for those walker fans with convention tickets, you’ll just have to hold tight for a few more weeks to learn which cast members will show up for the panel (if you can brave the lines) and potential booth signings. Typically, AMC has been great about bringing all major cast members to the convention.

Check out one of Andrew Lincoln’s first SDCC interviews before the debut of TWD:

First production still of TWD Season 4:

Merle Dixon Rises From the Dead on ‘Conan’

zombie merle

Sometimes you just can’t get enough of a good thing, and we hated to see Merle Dixon’s (Michael Rooker) final moments play out on The Walking Dead, but there’s good news for you fans of the older Dixon. No, we’re not talking about The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct video game, although there is plenty of those lovable rednecks on there. We’re talking about a little skit that played out on last night’s Conan show starring Rooker and Melissa McBride, who The Walking Dead fans know as Carol.

EDITOR’S PICK: See our Top 20 Moments from WALKING DEAD SEASON 3

Conan O’Brien is airing his late night talk show this week live from Atlanta and for those of you in the know, that’s where The Walking Dead is filmed. So check out this fun clip, courtesy of TeamCoco.com if you want to see Merle up to his old tricks, and he’s got backup.

The Walking Dead’s Top 20 Moments of Season 3

The Walking Dead is done until the fall and we’re looking back at our Top 20 Best Moments of Season 3. Some of these are vicious kills, others are big emotional moments. Either way, they’re some of the most talked about scenes that remind us what it is we love about this series. Over the next four pages, we’ve ranked them in order of greatness, so hopefully you’ll agree, and if not, let us know what your most memorable scenes were this season in the comments section.

EDITOR’S PICK: Vote for The Walking Dead in the Spring Madness Tournament

walking dead dixon bros

20. Dixon Bros. Reunion
Whether or not you’re playing The Walking Dead video game featuring the Dixon brothers, it was a big moment to see them reunite in the arena pits of Woodbury. It didn’t take long for them to team up and show what two Georgia rednecks can do. But Daryl (Norman Reedus) is a different guy than the one Merle (Michael Rooker) left behind, and Merle showed again and again why he was the character we loved to hate.

walking dead axel

19. Carol uses Axel as a shield
Carol (Melissa McBride) may have been rejecting Axel’s (Lew Temple) advances like Dikembe Mutombo blocks jump shots, but it was just his luck that the only shots fired by the Governor (David Morrissey) that hit anything were aimed Axel’s body. Carol found a tight hiding spot behind his corpse to shield her from bullets raining down.

walking dead amputee

18. Hershel becomes Stumpy in “Seed”
Poor Hershel (Scott Wilson) must lie on his back and writhe in pain, but seeing Rick (Andrew Lincoln) take multiple swings of the axe to his infected leg made viewers wince during the whole ordeal, and the sounds of the tearing flesh and bones crunching turned our ears inside out. Good thing he didn’t have a saw.

walking dead tyreese arrives

17. The Arrival of Tyreese
We weren’t exactly pleased at how Tyreese’s (Chad Coleman) story unfolded but it made sense in being able to compare and contrast Rick and the Governor. But it’s nice to know he’s in the mix for next season and will hopefully influence the group in a positive way. This show has a way of snuffing that type of thinking out.

walking dead glenn maggie love

16. Maggie and Glenn get engaged
Throughout the season there are these tender moments between our lovebirds that remind us why the living haven’t given up. Their engagement was as unceremonious as they come, and Glenn (Steve Yeun) taking a wedding ring off the hand of a walker was ghetto, but it fit in this world where you could be zombie food if you turn around the wrong corner. These two are living in the moment and we couldn’t be happier for them.

For our most memorable Walking Dead Moments of Season 3 #15-11 CLICK HERE

The Walking Dead Season 3 Finale Review

The third season of The Walking Dead ended in much more somber way than last season. It was a much more reflective episode, on the mistakes made along the way by Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Andrea (Laurie Holden) and the Governor (David Morrissey). Tyreese (Chad Coleman) waited it all out and ended up safe in the end and for those expecting a fight to the finish– well, feel comfort knowing that the Governor and Carl (Chandler Riggs) agree with you.

Governor: In this life, you kill or you die… Or you die and you kill.

walking dead 316 andrea

Like he has all season, the Governor got the ball rolling in “Welcome to the Tombs.” First, he delivered Milton (Dallas Roberts) at the welcome mat of death and opened the door to Zombieland, knowing he’ll eventually go after Andrea. The other was assembling an unexperienced army to storm the prison and kill as many in Rick’s camp as possible.

He succeeded with the first scenario (much more on that later), but the latter was a great failure on his part. The characters of Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol were more threatening, but they’ve been hinting at that all along. Merle (Michael Rooker) took out some of the Governor’s best men last week, and that gave his death meaning, which is why Phillip had to inspire the citizens of Woodbury to the front of the line of his Z-Day invasion of the prison. Rick used Michonne’s plan to not worry about defeating the Governor, just make it not worth the trouble.

After Rick, Glenn (Steve Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) drove them back, The Governor came to grips with reality. While he was softening Woodbury like Club Med, Rick and his camp have been hardened, desensitized, and training to survive the apocalypse. Rick’s group had the experience but also had nothing else to lose. Shane had a big part in getting everyone familiar with guns and kill tactics prior to Rick’s run at being a dictator. The Governor pacified his people with picnics and spa days, and by the looks of Andrea’s feet, maybe, pedicures? To make the leap from cooking barbecues to killing people was an enormous leap.

Rick’s lines became blurred, but it took losing Dale, Lori, Amy, Sophia, T-Dog and Shane to shap his camp, harden them for the hard choices they had to make later. Carl shot his mother dead. The Governor couldn’t even separate from his zombified daughter. It takes time to get to the point of desperation, look at Morgan (Lennie James) mental state after all a year and a half and that was mostly being with just his son, not a community or a camp of survivors.

walking dead 316 crazy governor

Once he realized he lost control and power over his army, the Governor smoked them in cold blood–another trial and error experiment of his gone bad. He was never going to win them back, and they became useless to him. He lost any compassion for any other person since Michonne killed zombie-Penny, his main motivation, that forced him to look at the pointless desire to bring back life to what it was, instead of facing the present day where the walkers ruled the Earth. When he does return–and he will–I don’t think there will be any more dicking around. He’ll become the evil incarnate and he’ll surround himself with people who see the world how he does.

Martinez (Jose Pablo Cantillo) and Bowman (Travis Love) remained loyal, but he’s just lucky they weren’t smart enough to cap him when they had the chance. We were given no satisfaction at seeing the Governor’s demise but we thought early on that he could survive into another season–a villain that psychotic who has dished up that level of grief unto others is going to have his day in punishment scheduled for another day. He’s too big of a personality to get a simple and short death. So sue me, I liked that he survived into next season. He is a giant presence in the comics so I did not expect them to tie his story in a bow, I just wished the “war” was more of a reality than a scenario played out in his head.

His survival provides a talking points in the off-season, like where did he drive off to? When is he coming back? Who’s coming back with him?

walking dead 316 carl

Let’s let one last thought about the Governor carry us to our next focus of the finale. While being tortured, Milton asks him, “What would your daughter think?” to which he replied, “She’d be afraid of me, but if I were like this from the start she’d be alive.”

Remember when Carl was a little afraid of Rick? He’s still alive, but something’s not quite right in the boy. Or, is he correct? Are these the new rules of survival? Kill a potential threat, before it comes back to harm you? Shane used to say similar things when he was alive. Carl made some compelling arguments for what he did. And there wasn’t much that Rick could say to tell him otherwise. He doesn’t care what Rick has to tell him and he tossed his sheriff pin on the ground.

And what makes Carl’s attitude different from the Governor, especially when the Woodbury refugees came to the prison? All of this time we’ve been comparing The Governor to Rick, when we should’ve been comparing him to Carl, who is losing his humanity quicker than he will reach puberty. In many ways Carl is correct, but they’ll have to work on curbing that in him or else find a serious problem on their hands.

That’s probably where Tyreese will come into play next season. He made an impression on Carl before before Rick drove him away. Tyreese has a way of talking situations down, but he’ll have his work cut out with Carl, because he’s not even listening to Rick anymore.

And finally there was Andrea, stuck in a room with a dying Milton and a pair of pliers. Let’s all agree that the dramatic pauses were absolutely aggravating. It took too long to get her out of there and despite having laid out all of those instruments of torture, we saw none of them put to the evil use we all imagined they would. That said, I thought her season arc, and perhaps her series arc, while not completely successful was satisfying.

walking dead 316 milton

It took an unexpected turn and yes, it was full of disappointments, mostly because she is a bad ass in the comics, especially with a gun. There’s this feeling that we were short-changed out of a really excellent character. But consider Andrea’s entire arc. From losing Amy, her disagreements with Dale, and then dealing with his death. One must consider the impact of Dale’s on her to understand her actions this season. Then add the year she spent connecting with Michonne. Look, Andrea was a civil rights attorney before the apocalypse. She fought for people to stand eye to eye and shoulder to shoulder with each other, she fought for the people wronged, so it made sense that she attempted to broker peace. She also hoped to bring the Governor back from cuckoo’s nest.

Now it didn’t work the exact way she had hoped but she was happy she tried, and in the end, aside from the Governor’s shooting spree, her mission was accomplished. It was a poetic tragedy though that the two people who concluded to save Woodbury and her friends without bloodshed, ended up destroying each other. It’s as if their roles as the peacemaker and the bystander were not going to survive in this world. There’s no place for it any longer. But she got to say goodbye on her terms, finish what she wanted to do in the season 1 finale, except with a greater outlook on life and with Michonne  (who you could tell, regretted giving Andrea attitude back at the prison) at her side.

It was important that the camera pan out during Andrea’s suicide, knowing that Michonne was beside her but Rick, Tyreese, and Daryl stood outside. Those are important players moving forward.

The season three finale was underwhelming for many or failed to execute on those high stakes laid out, but The Walking Dead continues to take their main characters on honest paths rather than trying to appease everyone. It still not the model of consistency as we’d all wish it to be. There are moments of brilliant entertainment and staggering frustration other times, but looking back this season as a whole was a solid, if not stronger effort than the first 22 episodes. I expect the characters to be affected by what happened to Andrea, Lori and Merle and will brace for the return of the Governor.

The Walking Dead Season 3 Finale Focus Points (Episode 3.16)

The Walking Dead Season 3 finale airs tonight on AMC, facing off against the season 3 premiere of Game of Thrones in the same time slot on HBO.

This season has arguably been the best to date, but its place in Walking Dead history will be judged by tonight’s finale. Here are a few questions and expectations going into tonight’s episode, “Welcome to the Tombs,” which will surely be filled with shocks.

What side will Tyreese (Chad L. Coleman) and his group end up on?
Rick Grimes’ (Andrew Lincoln) “family” had the chance to welcome Tyreese into their group. Unfortunately, that was right around the time when Rick went crazy and started seeing Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) at every turn. Now, we can only expect that Tyreese will play a pivotal role in the finale. The question is, will Tyreese cause a grievous injury to Team Grimes or will he turn on the Governor (David Morrissey) and help to save the day for the home town heroes?

What will become of Andrea (Laurie Holden)?
Although Andrea has grown into a zombie-slaying power house, she’s spent most of season 3 blind to the Governor’s true ambitions and objectives. It was like watching Lois Lane blind to Clark Kent’s Superman alter ego. Except in this case, Andrea was sleeping with Lex Luthor and not the Man of Steel. Andrea finally made the decision to return to the Grimes’ camp. However, the Governor caught her and brought her back to his private torture chamber before she had the chance to expose his secret plot. Will Andrea die or just get tortured? It would be sad to see her go. Hopefully, she gets reunited with Team Rick. I just don’t know how they’ll be able to pull it off unless the Governor is betrayed from within.

Life without Merle (Michael Rooker) will continue to be sad.
Hated Merle in season 1. In Season 3, Merle became one of my favorite characters and they showrunners didn’t need to jump the shark to make him great. Merle’s history and motivations were organically revealed and in the end, he made a sacrifice to try and make amends for his past wrongdoings. I’m still mourning his loss and will do so throughout The Walking Dead season 3 finale. If Team Grimes still had Merle, they’d stand a much better chance in facing the Governor. As for Daryl (Norman Reedus), he just got his brother back only to be forced to lose him and then kill Merle the Walker. Tragic.

Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan)
Glenn and Maggie are now engaged. Perhaps we’ll see a zombie apocalypse wedding in the finale? Let’s just hope we don’t have to wave goodbye to one of these characters – especially Glenn. That would be so cruel and sadistic on the part of the writers.

Which member of Team Grimes will have the highest kill count?
We’re betting on Michonne (Danai Gurira) or Daryl. Michonne’s got that razor-sharp sword, but Daryl’s got something to prove after Merle’s death. Let’s just hope Daryl doesn’t get too reckless in taking out his vendetta on the Governor.

Who will die?
It’s the question on everyone’s mind. Who will die in the season 3 finale? Everyone assumes that it has to be the Governor. But he’s become such a great villain that his death would leave a huge void. One thing is for sure, nobody – save Rick – is safe on The Walking Dead. Let’s just hope Carl (Chandler Riggs) and Daryl live. I can’t imagine the series without either of those two.

The Walking Dead ‘Survival’ Blood Bath

Neither Norman Reedus nor his alter ego Daryl Dixon could save The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct from this week’s ill-fated, review blood bath.

Activision capitalized on Robert Kirkman’s Walking Dead fandom with Survival Instinct, a first-person shooter. Unfortunately, following up Telltale Games’ episodic, “walker” adventure game was no easy task, even with fan-favorite Reedus lending his voice to the Survival game. Although the two TWD games fall into different genres, Activision’s FPS still fell short with reviewers in regards to story.

Survival Instinct currently has an average rating of 38% from IGN, Giant Bomb, Game Informer and Polygon. Reviews heckled this shooter for being “cheap”, “half-baked”, “lazy”, frustrating and monotonous.

IGN – 4.5/10
Game Informer – 5/10
Giant Bomb – 1/5
Polygon – 3/10