Despite the horror of it all, it feels good returning to the end of the world.
There’s nothing quite like getting reacquainted with an old friend, especially after the hell we endured together, but there’s something different about Clementine. 16 months have passed since the dramatic conclusion to the Season One, and Clem isn’t just a little older; she’s tougher, and a little more world-weary than we remember her.
There was every chance that Telltale’s return to The Walking Dead would go horribly wrong. The first season did a wonderful job of developing the relationship between Lee and Clementine, with what began as an uneasy alliance for survival quickly blossoming into a father-daughter relationship that tugged at the soul.
The realisation, then, that Clem would be taking point as the playable lead throughout Season Two certainly turned some heads, but we couldn’t help but wonder whether it was a step too far. Could we possibly emphasise with a young girl in a world where death and disaster lay around every corner? Would Telltale be willing to push her into the same extreme situations that we’ve become accustomed to from The Walking Dead franchise?
All The Remains washes away those doubts within minutes. This is a brutal opener to Season Two, and a firm statement of intent from Telltale to us, the player: the world is every bit as unforgiving. The studio doesn’t pull any punches here, and while the overall plotting stumbles somewhat, All The Remains doesn’t hold back on the gore and drama.
As compelling as the drama is, when it comes down to it, narrative is everything in The Walking Dead. So it’s disappointing to see a new group of characters introduced and given such little screen time to develop any real personality or emotional resonance. Presumably, we will get some one-on-one time with the new bloods in future episodes, but for now they’ve only succeeded in dimming the spotlight around Clementine. It’s also worth noting that while your decisions from Season One and 400 Days do carry across, they have little impact on the events that unfold here.
A few shortcomings aside, All That Remains is an emotional, tense and well-written reintroduction to the world of The Walking Dead, takING everything that you’ve come to expect after the stellar first season and amplifying it.
It’s only going to get more brutal from here, and we’re struggling to decide who to feel more sorry for: Clementine or ourselves.