Review: The Walking Dead Season Two: Amid The Ruins Is A Masterpiece
The Walking Dead Season Two has been going from strength to strength with each episode, and that pattern is showing no signs of changing with the fourth episode, Amid The Ruins.
- Worth The Time?What do you think? Of course!
- Things LovedIt's brutal - emotionally as well, Telltale nailed the emotional elements, the pacing is excellent, there's a lot more character interaction, few episodes in this series hit as hard, it sets up brilliantly for the finale, the decisions are as tough as you'd expect, it somehow betters the previous episode.
- Things HatedNothing.
- RecommendationWell, it works like this. Amid The Ruins is the best reason to get invested in the series. But either you're waiting until it finishes, or you're stalling for whatever reason. If you're still somehow on the fence though, you definitely shouldn't be after this episode. As usual this is an easy recommendation.
- Name: The Walking Dead Season Two: Amid The Ruins
- Genre: Adventure
- Players: 1
- Multiplayer: N/A
- Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360, Vita
- Developer: Telltale Games
- Publisher: Telltale Games
- Price: $24.99 (full season pass)
- Reviewed On: PC
The Walking Dead Season Two has been going from strength to strength with each episode, and reached a series high with In Harm’s Way. However, it would appear that the pattern is showing no signs of changing, as the fourth and penultimate episode, Amid The Ruins, surpasses even that. With The Wolf Among Us Telltale had the problem of leaving too much story for the final episode, but it overcame that obstacle. Here, though, Telltale has the major problem of trying to better what is essentially one of the best episodes they’ve done. After Amid The Ruins though, I’m inclined to believe that they’ve got this. Strap in folks, because if you’ve been following the progress of this season thus far, then Amid The Ruins will absolutely leave you drooling in anticipation for that fifth episode.
As usual I’m going to say very little about the story. Amid The Ruins starts exactly where the previous episode cut, and from there it’s pretty much an excellently paced episode with plenty of themes, great character moments, brutal twists and drama or fun moments to break up the intensity. Amid The Ruins, more so than previous episodes, brings back the importance of group dynamics and all those little subplots that emerge as members question each other, people clash and you’re left in the middle deciding who has the best handle on things. In the last episode I felt that Clementine and her relationship with her group needs more development, but Amid The Ruins does as much as is possible in its run time to correct that. It succeeds very well with this in fact, and I’d say that overall it’s perhaps the most well-rounded episode in season two thus far, complete with more than enough meat that often sets Telltale apart with its games. This is exactly what I play this series for.
Perhaps what is most admirable about this episode is that Amid the Ruins finds the sweet spot in making you feel like everything you’ve done in past episodes has led to its events, while also setting up for the final episode fantastically well. In many ways, with regards to the build-up, pay off and setups, I feel like it’s the perfect penultimate episode. The only problem would be that it’s quite torturous to have to face the fact that the final episode is some distance away, and perhaps all those people who are waiting until it’s all out are doing the right thing. That is, if they can avoid any spoilers of course. I’m not going to say anything else about the story because it’s best, as always, to just face it for yourself. But if there’s one thing that’s a certainty, the game has definitely changed with the conclusion of this one.
I’ve noticed over the course of this season that Telltale has shied away from traditional point and click gameplay, choosing instead to make this series a lot more cinematic. While the first season didn’t have a whole lot of walking around the environment, looking for items and talking to people in the breaks between story progression, it certainly had more than this season. This is not a criticism, but an observation. I feel it works a lot better in season two as far as the narrative is concerned, and Telltale has certainly succeeded with pacing. The only thing I cared about was being able to talk to your party members and learn more about them as people, which is what the first season often had and what’s been something less of a thing in this season. That’s another reason I was so pleased with Amid The Ruins, however, as it certainly does bring back those touching and interesting character interactions.
There’s not a whole lot more to say to be honest. There was nothing about this episode I felt was problematic or lacking. It had it all, and not only that but it executed its pivotal moments practically to perfection. I’ve accepted that this is Clementine’s personal journey, and that’s why it works so well that there isn’t really a primary antagonist or feeling that everything is going somewhere. However, despite that, the ending of this episode definitely sets the stage for one hell of a finale. There’s probably going to be a third season, and I can’t say that I’d have any problem whatsoever following Clementine once more, as her character is definitely the heart of season two. Telltale definitely deserves plaudits for presenting a child who has to play the part of an adult, often better than the actual adults. You’ll really feel in this episode that Clementine is a leader, and one of the most valuable of the group.
The Walking Dead’s penultimate episode Amid The Ruins not just betters the heights reached by the previous episode, but actually is one of the best Telltale has ever done. It has it all, and finds that sweet spot between paying off after previous episodes and setting the stage for the finale, which it does brilliantly. Overall, Telltale has created one of its most well-rounded episodes with Amid The Ruins, and I’d even go as far as to say that it deserves a standing ovation. I’m confident that the finale will live up to expectations, although it has a hell of a lot to do if it wants to be better than this episode. To that I say good luck, Telltale. It’s going to be great to see how the last chapter unfolds, but for now let’s just appreciate Amid The Ruins for the stellar piece of entertainment that it is.