Have you ever been in your car at a complete stop but thought you were moving, freaking out and smashing the break just to realize you really weren’t moving at all…? Well, that’s how this episode played out for me cause I thought we had some momentum built up and the story was really moving, and building to quite a climactic story plot…..then BAM you realize this episode is almost at a standstill in the story, or at least a creeping crawl in first gear.
Amid the Ruins, like many of this games episodes focuses on a very stripped down and quiet side of surviving the zombie apocalypse. This episode leaves Clementine to make some very difficult decisions that ultimately leave her alone, and responsible for the safety of those she cares about. We begin to see the large number of characters you have come to know and enjoy throughout the game begin to dwindle, ultimately leaving you with some tough choices to make of who to trust, and who to follow.
This episode of the game is anything but graceful about it’s approach to the people in Clementine’s life as they seem to exist solely so their departure can hurt her. The loss of people has been a large focus of season 2 and this episode is no different other than how Clementine begins to process those big hits. She as a young girl really is put through some awful and terrifying situations, but those moments seem to define her from the decisions she “You” get to make for her.
Amid the Ruins has some very gut wrenching moments because of those heavy decisions you have to make. Telltale has become quite famous for these gut punches as they write some beautiful, dramatic stories that suck you into the characters life. Much of Amid the Ruins, however, felt like loss with little meaning, as though characters are being cut because the cast is too big, or they don’t fit where the finale is going.
Characters vanish in this episode so rapidly and unexpectedly that it steals some spotlight away from the emotional connection this game brings with it’s characters. Some of the characters exits are cheap and unfulfilling, while others are unjustified, forced and forgotten very quickly. Worse, some of those departed characters are replaced by new villains who come out of nowhere with no introduction.
Overall I’ve enjoyed playing this episode as you get to discover more about the people we’ve spent little time with. Jane is one of those characters, one which helped Clem and her friends back in Episode 3. You’ll also see a ton of new conflicts arise between old friends and new. This is where the game get’s really intense as the resolution to these conflicts are crazy but satisfying as always.
Season 2 has been a large building block for the story and seems to be something much larger for Clementine, but it fizzles here by the end of Episode 4. Large stories by this time like the political battle between feuding sides seems to vanish, and Clementine begins to feel much smaller in the grand scheme of things, despite the grand large she is having to overcome. Meanwhile, although The Walking Dead: Season 2 has been building to something bigger for Clementine, it fizzles here by the end of Episode 4, the complex political drama that’s been brewing between feuding sides all but evaporates. Bickering elders don’t seem to weigh on Clementine as much as the grim things she has to do on her own. She’s starting to feel small, despite the big things she’s doing. I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing yet.
Maybe that’s the point. Perhaps the desperation and hopelessness of The Walking Dead’s bleak world is starting to overwhelm Clementine’s story? Maybe our little girl heroine is finally at a breaking point, ready to give in, and give up on what she has? Who really knows where Telltale is going with the story, but what I do know is it’s looking bleak at best for our Clementine and the people she currently trusts.
Until next time gamers!