Clementine’s PTSD is going to be in full blossom one day. After all, even the most hardened, strong-willed characters in other branches of The Walking Dead’s lore falter. Though Clementine hasn’t reached the status of Rick Grimes or Daryl Dixon, TWD’s emphasis on how the apocalypse changes people is taking a similar toll on our heroine.
No matter the medium, TWD’s world centers around weak people becoming strong or strong people becoming weak. The unique circumstances the characters are thrown into shape them, and that is why we always return for more; this doesn’t even take into consideration group dynamics and psychology. At first glance, a person might say that Episode 3 seamlessly illustrates Clementine’s growth, but Telltale does more than that: it deftly asks the player what they would do.
The line between player and Clementine continues to blur, which is incredibly impressive in these short one-to-two hour episodes. Since the primary demographic is likely to be young adult males, the fact that Telltale accomplishes this feat deserves recognition. In the world of gaming, so few developers dare write in a strong female lead, let alone one who is budding into a little lady — a lady who wields a hatchet and plunges it into the skulls of shambling corpses. But, ya know.
If you haven’t caught on yet, Episode 3 expertly moves the character development along. The plot ensues, as well, but this series is all about the characters. Do we expect our cast to run into living and undead adversity? Yes, of course. What we don’t always expect is how these people who have laughed and spoken sincerely about their families will react to the bitter, gray world in which they struggle.
More than shock value, we experience the visceral hate and desire for revenge our family revels in. And that’s what they are — family. Like most biological families, we don’t always approve of what others do, but we stick with them. This is a theme Telltale has tried to drive home, and has done so ably here. While I commented in my previous review that I hadn’t taken to the new group Clem has found herself in, I have now grown to accept some of them. Some. That said, new characters enter the stage, adding a dynamic not previously seen in the series. Though they’re archetypes, the way the leading crew responds to these personalities under particular circumstances is what makes them fascinating. Nothing works on its own, but the ingredients Telltale continues to add and mix are sure to result in a satisfying, memorable meal.
The Walking Clementine has been a memorable journey thus far. Having the opportunity to see this young lady grow from Season 1 to the middle of Season 2 has been an absolute joy. In this way, Telltale has chronicled the development of youth in a similar fashion to Carl in the TV series. Although Episode 3 feels isolated from this season overall in terms of the plot, the character growth (or regression) leaves me wanting more. Truly, TWD is one of the most character-centric video game series to date.