Reviews

The Walking Dead Episode Two: Suffer The Children

Before we begin, prior to the release of the second episode of the Final Season of The Walking Dead, Telltale Games was hit with extensive layoffs. It is with a heavy heart that I have decided to approach this review about this episode on its merits as an individual installment and potentially the final episode of the series following the events that have transpired. The outpouring of support from the gaming industry has been wonderful, however it is my personal hope that those affected receive the help and support they need before a decision is made about the future of the remaining episodes.

Following the events of the previous episode, Clementine and AJ are at the mercy of the group as they decide what to do with them. I found the opening of the episode very effective as it moved between the past and present from Clem’s point of view filling in the gaps between the previous nights confrontation leaving you to make some quick decisions about what to say to try to defuse the situation and the conversation with AJ. Eventually this moves outside as the group try to make a decision about what to do with you both. It’s a mixture of trying to keep a good relationship with AJ while trying to figure out whether you can convince the group to keep you. Sadly, it seems that no matter what, it’s not going to work out well.

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After a walk in the woods, Clem and AJ find some trouble courtesy of a familiar face and for those of us who have been here since the start, we will remember that face. As the raiders issue their demands to you to take them to the school, Clem decides to run for it which works out about as well as you would expect. However, as a result, a new potential ally is made with a young men out in the woods seemingly by himself. He knows about the raiders but also how to walk among the walkers while guiding them in a particular direction. While a little unorthodox, his strategy does make sense and he does assist in returning you to the school. Of course, tensions are still a little fraught but you are enlisted to help prepare the school for an attack. My only issue was with the bow and arrow mechanic as it felt a little less powerful than the knife however it was a nice touch to change up the combat and offered a new challenge in a time sensitive situation which was a nice touch.

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The relationship between Clem and AJ is intense at times and sadly, your decisions will impact his behavior so if you say something hoping it will have a positive impact but it has the opposite effect. At times, he isn’t a small child anymore and almost becomes a cause for concern but hopefully, Clem will be able to steer him in the right direction. As for their relationship with the others, that’s a little harder to balance. Some of the youngsters are angry but hopefully some of those bridges can be mended over the course of the episode depending on how you play it. There’s a lot of tension in the air but hopefully you can disperse some of that when you talk to people as these are good kids really, they’re just in a bad situation. I also enjoyed working out Clems’ relationship with Violet, the section with the constellations was lovely and I noticed the spark between these two… I may have been hopeful for it almost as it’s about time we had something nice happen in these stories. But I fear that things never work out well and as with previous episodes, hearts will be broken all around.

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Overall, this is a well rounded episode if not one of the stronger Walking Dead episodes. I thought the transitions were inspired and well executed offering a cinematic feel that helped the narrative flow. There’s a right amount of action, tension mixed with emotion as we go on this final journey with Clem. If this is the final episode, the team involved did an amazing job and should be proud of what they’ve achieved and by how far Clem has come. While the Telltale Games may not be to the taste of everyone, I have always enjoyed them and The Walking Dead has been an exceptional story throughout the seasons including what we have been fortunate enough to experience in these final episodes. What the future holds remains to be seen but if this is the last time we experience The Walking Dead, it certainly has been a wild ride and we can only thank the talented, creative minds behind these games for taking us on this journey with them.

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