With bated breath and half-eaten fingernails, we waited for what felt like forever to see what became of Clementine at the end of The Walking Dead: Season One. Who were those two figures atop a faraway hill who happened to spot Clem? Were they Zombies? Other survivors? Survivors from that horrid town in Savannah? Omid and Christa? Questions flew around our heads uncontrollably, until now with The Walking Dead: Season Two, ”All That Remains.”
Warning! Minor spoilers ahead.
“All That Remains” is the first of five episodes in The Walking Dead: Season Two, starring a slightly older, more jaded Clementine. This season brings an incredible aspect no one has really touched on before now. We’ve all seen adults surviving the zombie infestation, and sure, there are kids around in some of the stories we’ve seen already. But what if the sole protagonist is the child? Suddenly the whole dynamic of survival is instantly turned on its head.
Clementine, now at the ripe old age of 10, is all alone in the world trying to stay alive. We do come across some familiar faces, like Omid and Christa, whom we saw in the trailer, but they get separated once again after they’re attacked by a hostile group. Having barely escaped with her life, Clementine washes up near an abandoned camp. Hungry and exhausted, Clem stumbles through the woods to find food, only to find a new companion, a dog named Sam. I know what you’re thinking, we’re gonna get all attached to this little guy and he’s going to die a horrible, horrible death by way of sacrificing himself to save Clementine. I was thinking the same exact thing. What really happens is little more regrettable and ends with Clementine nursing a deep wound on her arm that looks like she’s been bitten.
Unable to move forward, Clem nearly gets caught again by a swarm of Walkers when she is saved by two survivors. They notice the wound on her arm and freak out. Still, they take her to their group, where they have a doctor.
Clem isn’t received well, understandably so. How would you react to a new person who happens to have a would that looks like a zombie bite? This is where we really start to see Clem’s resiliency. In the first season, she was this mousy girl just learning to shoot a gun. Two years later, Clem is harder and not afraid to stand up for herself. We can definitely credit some of this to what she’s learned from Lee and Christa.
With my play-through, I was a bit more forthcoming with information as Clementine than I was ever as Lee. I can tell you a bunch of reasons why, but the ultimate decision I came up with was that Clem is still a little girl. Before the zombie outbreak, she was just starting primary school. The only things she has every truly learned in life so far is how to read, how to do math (one assumes), how to shoot a gun, and how to stay alive. She still needs someone bigger to help do the heavy lifting, to reach those high places usually out of her reach, to ward off other survivors… You can’t always roll high with cuteness (+5 in Charisma) alone. Bottom line, she needs to gain their trust while still maintaining the “tough cookie” persona so adults will feel less inclined to take advantage of her smallness.
There are plenty of way you can play Clementine. Playing her the way that would shock adults with what she’s had to do while on her own was how I chose to play. None of the choices, however, detract significantly from how Clementine’s character was built from the first time we met her. We’re just helping along her evolution.
Gameplay in “All That Remains” is very similar to the previous season, with a few changes. If you’ve played through the first episode of The Wolf Among Us, you’ll recognize the button prompts and quicktime events right away. The way Telltale sets it all up makes sense. Clementine has to be more agile and stealthy while creeping her way through an occupied house, or running though a group of Walkers coming after her. In a fight, Clem can’t just bash in a guy’s head with a hammer as easily as an adult can, nor punch his lights out. She instead has to resort to dodging and pushing him in the way of a nearby Walker or into the business end of an anchor.
The story so far is solid and has you already curling up in a puddle of sadness at the five minute mark. The choices you’ve made in Season One have little effect in this first episode, but that reportedly changes as the story progresses. Already Episode Two looks promising. Clem is forced to deal with the fallout from her first major decision and someone from her past returns. We can’t wait.
Episode One, “All That Remains,” is a great reintroduction into The Walking Dead game series. The world we’re already familiar with is made anew through the eyes of a 10-year-old, a dynamic never before explored in depth by any other zombie apocalypse story.