The Walking Dead: Season 2 – Episode 1 “All That Remains”
I’m too fucking excited. Let’s just jump right in, shall we?
“All That Remains” opens up with a quick recap of Season 1, wherein it also reminds you of what the heck you decided through that festival of feels… I, unfortunately, played the game on a different platform and so the game generated random choices for me. Actually, all of them were the same, except that, when I played I had Lee chop his fucking arm off.
So, without much fanfaire, we catch up, now playing as Clementine. She is traveling with Omid and Christa, who apparently were the two people walking along the hill in the distance in the final shot of Season 1. Christa is significantly further along in her pregnancy now, and the trio are simply hitting a rest stop bathroom during their travels, the couple talking the whole way of what to name the baby.
Omid tells Clementine to go ahead into the bathroom, and to be sure that she checks the place out first and keeps track of her stuff. After inspecting the stalls and finding them clear, Clem washes up, putting her stuff out on the counter, but a sound at the door sends her scurrying to the only clean stall, trying to hide out from whoever the intruder is. It turns out to be a teenaged girl, and one who immediately turns Clem’s out gun, left out on the counter, onto Clem. She rifles through her pretty pink backpack and ultimately demands her trademark hat, but I chose to keep it, as it’s the only thing Clementine has left from her parents.
Unfortunately, as I get to make these life and death choices, Omid sneaks into the bathroom to see what’s taking Clem so long, sees the standoff, is for some reason unarmed, and makes the smallest of noises, causing the young girl to whirl and fire, hitting him in the chest. Christa rushes in with her rifle and wordlessly shoots the pleading girl. Omid dies in her arms.
Cut to “Sixteen Months Later,” where Clem and Christa are sitting on a log in the woods, trying to get a fire going to cook a rabbit despite a drizzling rain. You plead with her to speak to you, but she is closed off, tending to the fire and then instructing you to do it as she stalks off into the woods. You look in your bag to find your lighter, finding a torn picture of Lee and a crude drawing of Kenny and his family. This is to stab you in the feels zone as you might have to choose between burning one of them for kindling if you’re not thorough enough in your search to find the log on the right side of the scene. And right after you realise that that baby Christa was carrying..? Nowhere to be seen.
You soon hear a commotion in the woods where Christa went and sneak around to find her being interrogated by a bunch of guys who seem to be crooks, trying to force Christa to reveal the location of her “group.” You can choose to ditch her or distract the scavengers, giving her a chance to run. Being a softie, I chose the latter, and a chase ensues where you have to fight off not only one of the ruffians, but also all of the fucking walkers that the commotion has drawn out.
The dude ends up as walker food and you end up getting knocked off of a little cliff into a rushing river. Now, you wake up washed ashore (like always happens in real life) with nothing and no one, and you’re, like, 11 years old and have limited skills. You once again find yourself wandering through the woods, which really just seems like a terrible idea which everyone should recognize at this point, but you go on anyways, finding a collared dog still roaming around the campsite of his now-apparently-deceased owners. You look for food, and can even take a sec to play with the dog, eventually finding an unopened can of beans in the campsite’s garbage can. Upon opening it, you can decide whether or not to share with the dog. I did, but the damned thing attacks Clementine when she protests that he’s trying to take it all for himself. The dog bites the absolute fuck out of Clem’s arm, and she has to fight it off, kicking it into a set of broken tent poles and impaling it. You can them choose whether to mercy-kill the dog with the pocket knife you should have taken out of a not-quite-dead walker, or leave it to suffer. I chose the former, since it was a gonner anyways and it would’ve been crueller to leave it to be eaten alive by walkers.
Now, you’re still an 11 year old girl with limited skills and no one to watch out for you, but you have a pocket knife..! And a huge gaping wound across most of your left forearm. Awesome. Just as you sit to rest because of that pesky blood loss, you find yourself surreounded by walkers, and little badass Clem practically rolls her eyes at the scene.
You do try to run, but there are too many and… Random strangers in the woods find you and save your tiny little mixed race ass! Hooray! The elder Pete and a handsome younger Luke hoist you up and begin to take you back to their house to get checked out… And Luke totally throws you on the ground when he realises that you’ve got what looks to be a walker bite on your arm. Despite you protests that it was from a dog, they still don’t quite believe you, but they take you back to their place anyways. The group, including their in-house doctor, conclude that the only way to be certain that she’s not infected is to take your, again, 11 year old ass and lock your in the shed. If you’re feverish or have turned by the morning, then you’re a goner. Of course, Clem actually reasons with them that the wound needs to be cleaned because non-walker infection will also give her a fever and other symptoms, but the group is very guarded and unwilling to potentially squander resources on a person who might not even make it.
Being the enterprising little munchkin that you are, you are able to escape the shed, sneak into the house and snatch what supplies you need, even going so far and to kind of sarcastically befriend the doctor’s introverted and irresponsibly extremely sheltered daughter… Who is kind of weird and she immediately declares that the two of you are best friends and that’s coming on a little bit strong and you kind of just want to leave and you pretty much think that she’s either going to bite it, to cause others to bite it, or that she’ll somehow make a weird turn and become your fucking psychotic nemesis of the season.
Her name is Sarah and she helps you get one of the three things you need to get from the house. In one of the bedrooms, you have the option to steal a gold watch, but I didn’t think that Clementine needed any more drama in her life, so I let it be. Upstairs in the bathroom, you find a needle in a pincushion and, just as you are about to leave, you have to hide because Rebecca, the pregnant light-skinned chick of undiscernable race who is openly hostile towards you, comes in to compose herself… Because she’s not sure the baby belongs to the guy who thinks it’s his… This bit of information can come into play later, if you let it.
Once you’ve got everything, Clem goes back to the shed to stitch herself up. It’s a long process with a lot of crying on her part due to the pain. It is realistic, but I highly recommend not playing it on your iPad around other people who might be concerned as to why you’re so intently focused on the cries of a young girl…
Once finished, you find yourself caught by a walker who has squished himself into the small hole through which you escaped earlier because NOBODY EVER CLOSES DOORS OR OPENINGS BEHIND THEMSELVES WHEN THERE ARE ZOMBIES. And really, shouldn’t that be the first rule?
The folks up at the house somehow hear the commotion and come out to investigate. They see that Clem has taken out the walker and I chose the option of having her defiantly point out that she still isn’t bitten because, dammit, she’s a survivor and a little firecracker to boot.
They see that she’s managed to stich herself up well enough and realise that she was able to steal supplies from them. You can choose to defend yourself or lie or plead, and I had Clem simply admit it and apologize. They argue some more but eventually let you into the house, where doctor Carlos looks you over and says that you ought to be fine… But to stay away from his special little snowflake of a daughter, further cementing the idea that some bad shit’s going to go down later and that it’s all going to revolve around her.
You’re given something to eat and Luke comes in to have a little chat with you, handsomely asking if you’re alright and being all good-looking about it. You can choose to let him sit in silence, but I had Clem talk to him, opening up a bit, since these folks might be kinda dickish but they at least didn’t look like happy-go-lucky cannibals this time around. While you’re talking, though, in comes Nick, one of the characters who gave you a ton of shit earlier and who, in fact, almost accidentally shot you when you came to at the house.
He apologizes and discloses that they’ve been very cautious of strangers with bite marks since they tries to help a woman who had a bite and it ended up costing his mother her life. Again, you can choose whether or not to accept his apology and, again, I did. When that’s over, Pete comes in and declares that it’s time to turn in, since they’ve got to save the candles they’ve got especially since the light in the house could attract unwanted visitors.
Clem is left to finish her meal in peace… Until Rebecca comes back in. She is, again, hostile to you, despite Luke’s offer that you stay. Here, you can choose to reason with her, to defend yourself, or, as I decided to do in Clementine’s first misstep into womanhood, have her ask who the baby’s father is, if for not other reason than to show this CUNextThursday that she shouldn’t start some shit she can’t finish.
The next day, Pete and Nick, his nephew by the way, take Clem towards their fishing grounds, hoping to catch some fresh fish for dinner for the group. As they’re walking, Pete tells an embarrassing story about Nick when he was thirteen and chickened out of shooting a buck, almost getting Pete in the process, and this pisses of Nick, who always feels like his uncle is riding him. Their argument is cut short, though, when they come across the pond… And a slaughter.
While checking for clues, survivors, and supplies, and while the guys discuss whether this could be the work of a nefarious character referred to only as Carver, Clementine spots her pink and flowery backpack and realizes that at least one of the men, a still-living but in bad shape dude with short dreadlocks, must have been part of the party in the forest when she was separated from Christa.
She demands to know what happened to her friend, but the moment is, as always, interrupted by more fucking walkers! Nick and Pete try to fend them off but Pete runs out of ammo. Nick is supposedly a crap shot, though, and prone to panic, and in this moment, Clem has to choose which of the guys to head towards.
Now, I totally misunderstood this moment. I thought that I was meant to think as an 11 year old girl, outnumbered a bajillion to one, with people who still didn’t fully trust me, armed only with the hammer I/she swiped from the shed these same people had locked me in earlier, I was supposed to head towards whoever I had the better chance of surviving with. I chose Nick. He still had bullets and, because of his supposed ineptitude, he might also actually need my help. Unfortunately, this leads to Pete getting mauled by walkers. If I had gone over to Pete’s side instead, Clem would have taken out a walker that was already on him, and we would see that he’d been bit anyways, but the preview for the next chapter implies that Pete would attempt an amputation since he’d heard that a cousin of his had survived being bitten that way.
But, since I went with Nick, Pete’s a goner in my story. And so we continue. Or, actually, we don’t. In fact, now all that we see after Clem and whoever she went with fleeing into the woods (if you pick Pete, then you and he go into the woods and Nick is seen retreating on his own) is the aforementioned trailer for the second chapter. In mine, Nick is a mess, drinking himself into a stupor, the rest of the group still is wary of Clem, more information is discussed about the mysterious Carver, and perhaps most intriguing, we see a final shot of Clementine, shocked, saying “I thought you were dead” to someone off-camera.
I’m certain that the creators are trying to guide players towards the notion that this will be Christa’s return, but I’m also fairly certain that this is a red herring. I think that this might be the much anticipated and rationalized by fans return of Kenny! Remember, from Season 1, the only person not to have definitively been declared dead was Kenny; he was simply marked as “lost” to the hoard. Ever since the end of that game, the Interwebs has been buzzing with survival theories for the former family man… And could we not all see him coming back as a harsher, more intense character? Almost a kind of Governor-esque nemesis for our young heroine… We’ll soon learn more about him, how he was a former member of this new group before going rogue, in the second chapter, “A House Divided.”
The gameplay is seemless. The decision-making system is still in place, where much of the story depends on how you interact with the other characters, but nothing is lost by having to play as Clementine this time instead of Lee. In fact, this lends itself to more opportunities for action as you’ve really got to be on the ball with your reflexes to avoid walkers and escape from hostile humans and animals. One wrong swipe or just a moment too late, and you’re sent back to the last saved checkpoint to try again. Clementine’s more moderate strength is a foil as you sometimes have to button mash to escape a situation, and you’re caught in this pre-teen mix of independence and still needing adult guidance and protection. Lee prepared you well, but you’ve still got a lot to learn, and it’s very cool to see Clementine learning and adapting both before your eyes and because of the decisions you make as the player. I understand some people’s complaints that the game just won’t be the same without Lee, but I think that wanting a game to be the same the next time you play it makes for a very dull experience indeed, especially when it comes down to a genre like the Zombie Apocalypse and survival one, where things can become very repetitive very quickly.
Well, either way, the next chapter is “TBD 2014,” so whenever the fuck that is, I’ve already got my season pass and the next review will be up soon after!