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The Walking Dead: Season 2, Episode 4 - Amid the Ruins Review

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Posted by Graham Banas

The penultimate peril

The next to last episode of the second season of Telltale Games’ episodic The Walking Dead adaptation is an unsurprisingly gripping experience. Following in the footsteps of arguably the best instalment that Telltale Games has released to date, the fourth entry, Amid the Ruins, has an awful lot to live up to. And live up to those lofty expectations it most certainly does.

While the overall quality of the episode doesn’t quite reach the same level as the one before it, it comes very close. As always, you’ll butt your head against a slew of scenarios and impossible decisions regarding the ever-growing Clementine, and these appear to have much more immediate consequences than in more recent outings.

This augments the episode with an even prompter pace than its predecessors, which is particularly impressive when you consider the things that the curly haired protagonist and her crew have had to deal with up until this point. It really is quite a relentless slice of content, and we found ourselves holding our collective breaths on multiple occasions in fear of something bad happening.

While we’ll resist delving into specifics for the purpose of spoilers, know that the story telling remains as top notch as ever, building upon the developer’s incomparable character development. You’ll get to see new sides to some comrades that you’ve known for a while, and the opportunity to learn about personalities that have played a more tertiary role up until this point.

There’s even a sequence here which harkens back to a memorable moment in Season One, particularly the part where Lee teaches Clem all manner of useful survival skills. This is a nice throwback, and the fact that the lesson is put to use almost straight away accentuates the immediate gratification that this instalment is so eager to offer.

Aside from the usual roster of technical woes – such as the remarkably inconsistent frame rate, among other flaws which we’ve pretty much discussed to death – the episode only really has one other issue: it doesn’t have the feel of a story building to a momentous conclusion. It’s compelling, and we are eagerly awaiting the finale, but we were hoping for a bigger crescendo here.

Still, this is a relatively meaty outing, with so much happening during its first hour or so that it actually seems longer. This is likely due to the fact that the game revels in utterly battering your emotions, and will leave you feeling mentally exhausted at times. The apocalypse certainly isn’t safe, and this game series continues to prove that it’s the best at explaining why.

Conclusion

The Walking Dead: Season 2, Episode 4 – Amid the Ruins serves up yet another emotional rollercoaster, offering just enough time between conflicts in order to allow you to catch your breath. Telltale Games’ unparalleled storytelling and character development remains as strong as ever here, and while this doesn’t quite finish on the note that we were perhaps expecting, it’s clear that there doesn’t appear to be any reprieve ahead for Clem and her group as we shuffle towards this season’s finale. Honestly, we wouldn’t have it any other way.

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User Comments (9)

get2sammybAdmin

#1

get2sammyb said:

Thanks for the spoiler-free review, Graham. I still haven't finished Season One (almost there), but it seems like this Season is just as eventful as the previous one.

Splat

#2

Splat said:

As a whole I liked season one better but season two is definitely worth playing.

hadlee73

#3

hadlee73 said:

Well, it was spoiler-free except for that one screenshot. And I'd avoided spoilers for so long as I wanted to play the episodes back-to-back, doh! My own fault. There's always that risk when you read a review :P

RaymanFan2

#4

RaymanFan2 said:

Reviewers are saying this is a bit of a lull like TWAU Ep 4, but I really liked this episode, I thought it was up there with TT's best.

rastamadeus

#5

rastamadeus said:

The main complaint I keep seeing about season two is that it's more on the rails than the first but I really think that is the point. In the first season you're a grown man while now you're a child so of course it's easier as there's no way Clementine could have done any of what Lee did back on the trains tracks involving the train and upturned lorry. If something happens to Clem - God forbid, it's amazing how much you root for her - and we start playing as, say, Luke, it will get more puzzly again. That's my take on it anyway.

Personally I'm loving season two and making Clem more of a bad ass/wee Michonne. Although (spoilers) I do think Sarah was a complete flop as I've long wanted to be rid of that prat while if you make Kenny furious at you at the start of this episode he doesn't half forgive you quickly (spoilers end).

RaymanFan2

#6

RaymanFan2 said:

@rastamadeus Nah, I think it's that TT have decided that they'd rather make stories with dialog/action choices rather than actual point-and-click games.

Which is a take i can get behind.

rastamadeus

#7

rastamadeus said:

@RaymanFan2 I think that's part of it too but it makes sense to do it with Clem as the character which is what I was trying to get at. I imagine in a few seasons time they might freshen it up by having us play as someone else and go back to puzzles or maybe more action.

JMC

#8

JMC said:

I'm loving Season 2 so far and I'm even more eager to see what happens next than I was with Season 1. Now I can't wait for episode 5...

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