Platforms PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, iOS, Vita, OUYA
Publisher/Developer Telltale Games
Genre Interactive Adventure Platform Played PC
Amid the Ruins, Walking Dead Season 2’s penultimate episode, takes place within a Civil War Memorial. The simple locale is a poignant statement on the post-apocalyptic setting that Clementine and her fellow survivors find themselves within, reflecting on the events of Episode 3 that left two sides from the same country battling over differences in how they perceived the future of the world. Amid the Ruins also evokes a strong statement of individuals showcasing their support, care, and help to those in trouble. This is strongly reflected when the camera pans on the image of a statue depicting two soldiers, one being carried away from an unknown scenario by his fellow man. Though the world may be in ruins, and despair furiously rampant, those who decide to help their fellow humans survive, despite adversity, are the true bearers of courage.
Following the action-packed final moments of Episode 3, our survivors are left in a state of despair, lacking optimism, luck, and for some, their will to live. These aspects become clear throughout the episode, as our group of survivors continuously face their greatest obstacles, as they barely survive to fight another day. Though Clementine has faced tough situations before, I cannot think of another episode that has made her face such human elements head-on. Once again, Telltale makes us decide some difficult choices, which either lead us down the path of brutal survival at all costs, or human optimism. Depending how you decide to handle these decisions, the game will continue to shape our own personal Clementine, whom, despite clinging to the hope of survival, must see those around her lose theirs.
Amid the Ruins provides some excellent dialog deliveries, with the characters suffering the most producing some memorable performances. These performances are made even better due to the friction amongst Clementine’s group, whom constantly argue over every decision going forward. The animosity between the group leaves Clementine in a difficult place, one that had her speechless for one of the first times within the series. I was unable to decide whom was putting forward the best solution, and for the first time in the series, I had nothing to say, utilising silence as my best option. Forcing me to choose silence over siding with members of my group only further emphasises how attached I have become to these characters, new or old.
Out of the latest characters to be introduced in the series, we are given a better look at Jane throughout the episode. Aside from learning about her past experiences and how she became to be the person she is today, we are also given a lesson in walker survival. This was one of the quieter moments during Amid the Ruins, but the scenario was one of my favourites, with the interaction between both Clementine and Jane being perfectly executed.
The main gripe I have with Jane as a character falls back on my familiarly issues from Episode 3, with Jane’s character being almost identical to Molly from Season 1, in almost every way. Between her mindset, their similar issues with their siblings, her solo-minded survival, and her overall arc within the episode, I was left shocked at how identical this character was from our experience in Season 1. This wasn’t the only aspect that was almost identical to Walking Dead’s previous season, with Clementine having to choose whether or not to take someone’s supplies. As much as I loved both Molly and Jane, as well as the idea of having to choose between Clementine’s well being and those of strangers, these points have been done before. The Walking Dead has the ability to showcase an array of choices and characters that don’t make sense in other worlds, which left these familiar moments leaving less impact than their first appearance.
Amid the Ruins feels like the episode where Telltale reels in our choices, and places every player in an almost identical position, despite our journey to this location being extremely different. Having experienced two playthroughs of Episode 4, most choices will eventuate to the same scenario. These will occur despite the fact you may choose to save someone instead of letting them perish, or even deciding to rest instead of exploring the next day. These are the ‘pivotal’ moments that Telltale wants us to experience, regardless of how we want our narrative to unfold. This lack of relevant choices also seem to affect how characters react to Clementine. Despite individuals having an apparent strong hatred toward Clementine or not, when the credits roll, their opinion of you will be situated the same, regardless.
Amid the Ruins is a brilliant title, as Clementine and her group of survivors must face the biggest human challenges yet, amongst the ruins of society. Amid the Ruins succeeded at making me agonise over every dialog choice throughout the adventure, with my choices not only affecting the group, but Clementine’s standing with certain characters. Though major decisions offer you the illusion of control, Amid the Ruins mostly suffers from déjà vu, as it provides similar narrative arcs to those experienced last season.
Despite Amid the Ruins suffering from minor drawbacks, the ground has been set for an unforgettable finale. Once Episode 4’s credits rolled, I was left speechless, realising that I’d have to wait even longer to find out how this season’s finale would play out.
- Human elements.
- Dialog choices tougher than ever.
- Excellent character performances.
- Elements seems way to similar to previous Season
- Our main choices don’t offer many differences
The Score: 8.6