According to Steam achievements, I completed TWD S2 on February 19th. I took a bunch of screenshots and wrote up some posts for the message board I always go to, but then forgot to post them here. I’m awesome like that. Here are my message board posts slightly tidied up. Spoilers and such, beware.
General thoughts of the season as of episode 4:
All of the characters who previously were insufferable jerks are now bleeding hearts. What the hell happened? In the last episode, Rebecca was telling you that she wishes the group had shot you, and hissing all sorts of nastiness at you. This episode she’s asking you if you want to feel her baby kicking, and if you’d like to hold him when he’s born. Then she abruptly died and it’s not shocking so much as very confusing. I feel robbed of my revengeance. (That’s a word now.)
Clementine, Bonnie, and Mike are now BFFs. Jane, who was gruff and tough and established herself as the lone wolf, is now constantly talking about her sister. Luke is… Luke is still a dumbass, but now he likes to bicker with Kenny and it’s just arghhhhh shut up. The only consistent character is Kenny, but only in the sense that he was a schizo mess even from S1, so it’s not surprising that he’s at it again here.
Jane is probably the most interesting now, especially in relation to Sarah. Everything else in this episode was just sort of treading water, especially after the high tension from the first three eps. Carver ate it WAY too quickly IMHO, now the bad guys are a random gang of Russians and, uh, walkers. That’s just great. I WILL NEVER FORGET YOU, WILLIAM CARVER :'(
I complain, but only because I am invested, you see.
Thoughts on the illusion of agency in this game:
Even if you saved Sarah (which I did, after slapping the shit outta her) she dies like five minutes later in the episode anyway. Jane and Sarah fall off the crumbling deck, you have the option of saving Jane (who lets Sarah die) or yelling at Jane to save Sarah (which she half-heartedly tries to do but still fails, then climbs back up by herself).
Episode 5 is even worse. Except for the last ten minutes or so, the entire buildup to the end is just filler to get the unnecessary characters out of the way through any means, even if it means going totally OOC. There’s this scene with Luke that just infuriates me. He falls through thin ice, and you and Bonnie are there to witness it. Bonnie tells you to run in and save him (uh, hello, thin ice) but Luke tells you to shoot at the approaching zombies instead to buy him some time. That sounds reasonable, but as you’re covering zombies Bonnie the fucking dumbass runs to Luke, breaks the ice so they both fall through. If you break the ice to try and save them, Luke is already dead but Bonnie climbs out. “Oh man!” you think to yourself, “I totally fucked up! I should have listened to Bonnie instead!”
But then you rewind the ep, run in to save Luke, and surprise, you are the one to fall through the ice with him. He still dies. GOOD JOB. Except for the last five minutes, all of your choices in the game are like this: you can choose to save someone who eats it a few minutes later, or you can let them die and have everyone get mad at you. (If you choose to cover Luke, later on Bonnie gives you some shit about how “you could have saved him but didn’t”, even though you broke the ice which saves her life after her dumbass move seriously fuck you Bonnie rarrrrrrgh)
Later in the ep, Mike (the bleeding heart softie who’s all about keeping the group together and making it through this as one cohesive unit) is caught sneaking off with all your supplies, the truck, and goddamn Arvo, who had just led your group into a trap. Then Bonnie comes traipsing in and it’s like OH GREAT, this is the part of the game where we rather obviously narrow the players down to cut away the fat. Nothing about that betrayal felt like, well, betrayal, it was just weird and OOC. It was very much a “we need to get the plot going on this, it IS the final episode after all” move.
Then Kenny and Jane bickering like children in the car and aughhhhhh shut UP
The only really meaningful choice in the entire episode, and probably the best one you have to make in the entire series so far (including that emotional S1 ending), is choosing to shoot Kenny, or letting him stab Jane. After either of those options, you can choose to keep going with the character who survived, or ditch them and make it on your own. It’s sort of a bittersweet ending since the buildup in this episode to that point was so annoying that it’s hard to enjoy the (admittedly huge) payoff.
I ended up with Jane and told that family(?!) to go away. Overall I think I liked S2, but certainly liked the first three eps more than the last two (with the exception of the fifth ep’s pretty amazing ending). I also bought the comics thanks to this game series, and will probably get S3 if/when it comes out. (Dunno about getting any bridging DLC, though. 400 Days didn’t end up carrying over a whole lot of choices other than background cameos, kinda disappointed about that.)
Continuing the discussion about decisions being less weighty:
decisions are less weighty in season two – in season one you’re playing mr nice guy, taking the middle ground, always being diplomatic – whereas in season two you’re playing a little girl
It’s really interesting, this is how I thought of S2 as well. It was both its strongest point (you get to raise Clementine to be how you see her, and watch over her like a ghost-Lee (HOW META IS THAT BTW)) and its weakest, since you constantly feel like the outcome of events is out of your hands. Half the point of playing these choose-your-own-adventure games to shape the outcome of the story, even superficially and temporarily (cough Carley/Doug). I can appreciate that S2’s choices make you think about the morality of the situation, but I also would like to see my choices matter in a more “real” sense, and not just a “I think I did good just now, maybe?” internal way. For example:
It took a damn lot of convincing to get Sarah to come out of that cabin and back to safety, with Jane screaming at me the whole time about how I’m just wasting my breath and am going to get us all killed. That was a really good feeling, like “I am a good person who is trying to save my friend even though she’s kind of a dumbass, because I made a promise to her father with his DYING BREATH that I’d take care of her. That shit means something, dammit.” I comforted her all the way back to the base. I protected her from Jane’s scathing remarks about how I should have just let her die, and Luke’s numb “holy shit I didn’t even think about saving her ass, I’m evil” comments. I didn’t especially like Sarah, but I really felt a strong moral obligation to keep her going, in very much the same way I sometimes thought S1 Clementine was just a clingy brat, but I still made Lee keep his cool around her and try to keep her safe and loved. In fact, through dialogue they sort of build up this idea, that Sarah is mirroring S1 Clementine and you are mirroring Lee. It was kinda corny, maybe, but it still felt like saving her meant something.
Then, like, five minutes later, Sarah dies anyway. You are given a choice (save her or don’t save her) but they both end up with her dead. After that, nobody mentions her again. You don’t see Clementine or Luke or anyone mourning her or carrying any baggage about her, she’s just gone. Awesome. Just felt like a dud. Jane brings her up but only because she reminds her of her sister, and it turns into a moment about Jane’s past and not a “Hey remember how this character you’ve been with and maybe cared about for the past four episodes is now DEAD?” scene.
And now, screenshot dump. ENJOY: