The Walking Dead: Season 2 Ep 1 & 2 (PS Vita) Review
Not so much?
Five months after the initial release on PC and last gen systems, Telltale’s zombie adventure series lurches its way on the the PS Vita. But how goes the downsizing? Rather than stretch out a review for both the first and second episode of The Walking Dead Season 2 on PS Vita we thought it prudent […]
Five months after the initial release on PC and last gen systems, Telltale’s zombie adventure series lurches its way on the the PS Vita. But how goes the downsizing?
Rather than stretch out a review for both the first and second episode of The Walking Dead Season 2 on PS Vita we thought it prudent to combine them into one package. Both episodes have received more than favourable reviews from me previously and nothing has really changed from those versions to the one being presented for the PS Vita.
We pick up our story not long after leaving the tragic happenings at the end of Season one behind us. Clementine is now center stage as we start our story with Episode One – All That Remains. Here we follow Clementine through a series of unfortunate events that leave her stranded, injured, and at the mercy of a new group of people. Throughout the episode we get to grips with Clem as our main character and start to get introduced to our new band of travellers.
The initial episode will weigh in at around an hour and a half of play time but, as with each episode, there is merit to at least a 2nd play to see how decisions play out differently. The whole puzzling and adventure element is pretty lightweight and you’ll not find anything a particular challenge other than a few clumsy action sequences.
Episode one does a great job of easing us in to life without Lee and reveals a cast of characters just as eclectic as the ones from Season One. The episode does feel a little light on content but overall it satisfies as an opener.
Episode two of The Walking Dead Season Two is called A House Divided. Here we really see the story kick into high gear with some of the best story telling to date from a Telltale title. Here we see how far Clementine has come as a character in this horrific world. It’s been a few years since she was that frightened little girl that Lee taught to shoot a gun. Clementine, of you take her entire path since Season 1, has grown unlike any other video game character and it’s superb to see Telltale realise and utilise this. Adults turn to her, an 11 year old child, for advice and leadership.
The only thing that truly lets episode two down is the terrible shooting gallery style sequence towards the later part of the game. This boils down to a poor shambling House of the Dead style shooter that leaves you feeling puzzled as to how to complete it. It drags down an otherwise peerless performance.
Graphically the game still looks great on the Vita’s screen. Every ounce of detail on screen in the PC version appears to be reflected on the handheld. OK it might not be at the same resolution but who can tell on the smaller screen. Characters and environments have all been stepped up a notch since last season and it shows in the scope of some of the games environments.
Sound is another well utilised area of the franchise and the Vita edition of Season Two is no exception. Some wonderful moody soundtrack pieces as well as two very individual and highly appreciated credit tracks add to the package. What pushes the whole project forward though are the convincing and well written efforts of the voice cast. In both episodes the voice work is heartfelt, professional and expertly executed on all levels.
The biggest problem I have with The Walking Dead Season 2 on PS Vita is that, at times, the game becomes unplayable – even verging on broken. There are plenty of small niggles, screen tearing, general slow down, long load times etc. The real issues come when something rapid takes place on screen. The PS Vita simply seems unable to keep up with scenes pausing for seconds mid action, sound playing but visuals juddering, whole sections just locking up. I even had my first PS Vita hard crash whilst playing episode 2! Simply put the technical aspects of Season Two are not up to scratch. When the game is just meandering around or doing the simple exploration stuff it just about copes. Throw in something like an action sequence or a sudden scene change and everything falls apart. I don’t know if it’s an optimisation issue and Telltale can fix it, or, if it’s just that the data can’t be read any faster from the PS Vita’s memory card. Either way it almost takes the legs out from under this superb portable edition of the series.
The Walking Dead Season 2, Episode 1 and 2, on the PS Vita are superbly crafted stories that draw you back into the world of Clementine and her band of friends. The first episode serves to remind you of the world and gently break in the new characters. Episode 2 is a superbly crafted story with some real nail biting moments, wonderful character progression and superb storytelling.
The whole package is let down by some fairly significant technical issues. These detract from the game considerably and, it had been a game of lesser content, I probably would have given up. If Telltale can address these freezing and screen tearing issues then this would be the ultimate portable edition.
As it is all we can do is hope that the next update will smooth things out. For now know the technical niggles that will accompany the game but also appreciate that these two episodes are top notch storytelling and deserve your attention.