"Although Episode 2 struggles in terms of pacing, a strong Act 2 to this brief entry makes for a worthwhile venture."
When we last left Clementine, she was forced to make a horrific choice. Novel, I know. Episode 2 continues with thought-provoking decisions, albeit less pressing than what fans may be used to. Unlike Episode 1, Clementine receives a little less abuse, though her active involvement may inspire some raised eyebrows from players. Does Episode 2 continue to mange on the imaginations of its fans or has it staggered onto the scene?
Episode 2 begins in medias res as the developers flaunt just how incredibly buff Clementine is (no, seriously, pay attention to the introduction). With yet another "how are they going to get out of this one?" scenario to dust off the cobwebs, Telltale offers up some relatively enticing dialogue as the human psyche is further explored. Unfortunately, the rest of the first half of the episode feels a tad slow. Although a new face marches onto the scene, Clementine's present cast feels bland for the most part.
The second half of the episode, however, almost justifies the slog. Telltale's approach to storytelling and foreshadowing are a little different in this episode, as I had become nervous and pensive about a decision I didn't want to make down the road. Although I don't believe there were any intense decisions to make during the second half, I still had difficulty settling on my choices. In fact, Telltale has put a premium on difficult decisions in many of their recent games, but this episode poses some big questions that are worth asking, especially given the gravity of the subject matter.
Dialogue in Episode 2 is standard fare, which isn't a bad thing. Telltale has certainly developed a rhythm and does a fantastic job crafting some of their characters. Although the cast is lackluster overall, a few leave a definite impression with clear voice, like them or not. The voice actors, of course, play a significant role in personifying the comic book-esque polygons gracing our screens.
Two changes that stood out to me in particular this episode were the facial expressions and "acting" of the characters. Telltale seems to have put more emphasis on nonverbal communication in this episode, although I may have missed it in previous installments. Additionally, some of the animations appeared more fluid and less rigid. While Telltale has done a capable job of moving their characters around naturally, Episode 2 had moments that seemed catered to motion rather than the stills one might expect from a comic book.
Controls fall into question once again as a combat-heavy portion of the game didn't flow as I had come to expect from Telltale as of late. While I readily accept defeat at my lack of preparedness or hasty judgment, my deaths in this episode felt completely unjustified. This is a minor quibble in the overall experience, but I know I will groan and throw my head back every time an "intense" sequence begins in future episodes. As an aside, I had experienced a couple crashes during this episode, which fans have complained about in previous entries in the series. These are infrequent enough to ignore, especially considering how often the game saves, but the nuisance is worth noting in this review.
Telltale has done an excellent job transitioning Clementine from girl to young lady. I commented on this in my previous review, but her continued growth warrants repeating. Not only has she matured and learned how to fend for herself, but she has become a little snarky and jaded. I'm left to assume female writers have made contributions to her character development, but if not, kudos to the talented writers. Although Episode 2 struggles in terms of pacing, a strong latter half to this brief entry makes for a worthwhile venture.