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Chopping zombies and developing characters in The Walking Dead Episode 4: Amid the Ruins (review)

Above: Clementine dispatches a walker in The Walking Dead Season 2, Episode 4: Amid the Ruins.

Image Credit: GamesBeat

It’s almost over. Telltale Games has released the penultimate installment of its episodic adventure series The Walking Dead: Season Two — Amid the Ruins. Picking up immediately after Episode 3’s cliffhanger, Clementine and her group of survivors use a herd of walkers to escape the villainous Carver’s camp. Now back on the road (and with me playing on PC), the ragtag group is low on supplies, a baby is on the way, and infighting and distrust threaten to tear them apart.

What you’ll like

The focus on character development

“Groups fall apart. People get killed,” Jane, a pragmatic loner and new addition to the group, tells Clementine early in the episode. Now that Season Two’s main antagonist, Carver, is dead, the mental state of Clem’s group and whether it can survive has become the focal point of the remaining episodes.

As they deal with one dire situation after another, they begin to crack under the stress. After nearly being beaten to death and suffering so many tragic losses, Kenny is becoming a little unhinged, to the point where others question whether they can trust him. Rebecca worries about her impending motherhood, and Sarah, now without a parent to protect her, becomes nearly catatonic when faced with dangerous situations. It’s easy to see Jane’s point, and whether Clementine should leave and strike out on her own seems to be the big decision Telltale is leading up to in the series’ finale.

Telltale isn’t going to make the choice easy. It’s done a good job this season of making many of its characters likeable. Even newcomers like Jane and Mike worm their way into your heart quickly. Although Jane is the stereotypical loner with a tragic past, she quickly becomes a sort of big sister and mentor to Clementine in a short amount of time, while Mike provides some much-needed levity in what is otherwise a grim game.

A walker gets too close for comfort in The Walking Dead Season 2, Episode 4: Amid the Ruins

Above: A walker gets too close for comfort in The Walking Dead Season 2: Episode 4 — Amid the Ruins

Image Credit: GamesBeat

The hard choices

The Walking Dead is known for its difficult choices, and some of the decisions in this episode are especially tough. They’re morally gray decisions that anyone would have a hard time making, particularly a child like Clementine. Don’t be surprised to see the dialogue timer nearly run out while you wonder if the decision you’re about to make is the wrong one. Sometimes, it will be. More than one character will meet their end by the time you finish Amid the Ruins, and their deaths will be a direct result of your actions. Even decisions that seem right at the time can, and will, bite you in the ass.

What you won’t like

It’s still a bit glitchy

The Walking Dead still suffers from the occasional glitch, like a sound effect unintentionally looping over and over until you quit the game and reload. Trying to click on a precise spot on a zombie during action sequences can be a little tricky. But these are only minor complaints in what is otherwise a fast-paced adventure that will keep you riveted for its short duration.

Conclusion

Like many penultimate television episodes, Episode 4: Amid the Ruins serves to set up the series’ finale by applying pressure to The Walking Dead’s characters and upping the stakes. Clementine’s group has never been more desperate. Where they go from here is anyone’s guess.

Score: 90/100

The Walking Dead: Season Two Episode Four — Amid the Ruins was released for PC, Mac, PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 3 (SCEA) on June 22, 2014. It comes out on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita (SCEE) on June 23, 2014. It comes out on iOS on June 24. The publisher provided GamesBeat with a PC copy of the game for the purpose of this review.

Read GamesBeat’s previous reviews of The Walking Dead:

Season Two

Episode 1: All That Remains
Episode 2: A House Divided
Episode 3: In Harm’s Way

Season One

Episode 1: A New Day review
Episode 2: Starved for Help review
Episode 3: Long Road Ahead review
Episode 4: Around Every Corner review
Episode 5: No Time Left
400 Days (DLC)

More information:

Telltale is an award-winning independent developer/publisher pioneering landmark episodic content. Founded in 2004 by LucasArts veterans with decades of experience, Telltale is now an industry leader, establishing the model for episodi... read more »

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1 comments
Tama Chan
Tama Chan

I regret to say that I find much more emotional the first season than the second. If a character dies from the new group [... Luke, Rebbeca, Sarah .... etc]Actually... i dont care if they die. For this reason is and remains the first season the best.

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