The Walking Dead Season 2 Episode 4: Amid the Ruins is quite a ride. I’ve been covering Telltale’s Walking Dead games since the start (minus 400 Days) and they have become titles that I both look froward to and fear all at the same time. This is a good thing for this series. It shows that I want to come back to it, but that I’m afraid for the characters every time I do.
The Walking Dead Season 2 Episode 4: Amid the Ruins picks up right where episode 3 left off. Players are attempting to escape from Carver’s group through a herd of undead. I don’t think I need to tell anyone that not everyone makes it out alive, but the number of survivors was much higher than I predicted. This didn’t last throughout the episode.
All forms of media involving The Walking Dead have a heavy focus on death. The games are no different and many of you already know this. What sets the games apart from the TV show and comic is the player’s ability to decide who lives and who dies in certain situations. This has played a big part in the series ever since the first episode and it has continued to do so, until now.
I’m not going to be getting into details for who dies in The Walking Dead Season 2 Episode 4: Amid the Ruins, but I do want to talk about two of the deaths. These deaths occur in the episode no matter what the player does. That’s fine, I’m used to people having to die at this point in the series, but I didn’t like how it was handled. As I just said above, The Walking Dead game allows players to decide who lives and who dies in some situations. In Amid the Ruins, the player’s choices don’t actually matter. Two deaths in the episode that the game leads the player to believe they could have prevented must occur.
The fact that decisions don’t matter in Amid the Ruins really sets me off. One of my favorite things about Telltale’s The Walking Dead game has always been seeing the decisions made by other players and how it affected the story. Heck, John and I get together every time an episode comes out just to talk about this kind of stuff in the GiN Lounge. John and I have made some different choices along the way and we spend time comparing notes and checking the differences, but decisions not really mattering takes away from this unique experience offered by the game. It’s disappointing and I hope it doesn’t become a trend for Telltale.
The story that continues in The Walking Dead Season 2 Episode 4: Amid the Ruins is great. The game continues to surprise me with where its going and I love talking to all the different characters and learning more about them. To my delight, there was a lot more of this in Amid the Ruins than what previous episodes of season 2 have had. The in-depth characters and their complex emotions are really what make Telltale’s The Walking Dead game stand out and I was glad to see a heavier focus on this in Amid the Ruins.
One subject that has almost always been a disappointment in season two of The Walking dead is the length of each episode. Episodes in season two have have generally been shorter than episodes in season one. This is also the case with Amid the Ruins. Despite all the fleshed out talking that was added in this episode, I still completed it in less than two hours (closer to an hour and 40 minutes). I know I must sound like a broken record at this point, but I really feel that episodes of Telltale’s The Walking Dead should be reaching the three to five hour mark that was set by season one episodes. At this point I’d be happy if each episode was a consistent three hours and I’d just give up on seeing a four- or five-hour episode.
The Walking Dead Season 2 Episode 4: Amid the Ruins continues the great gameplay that has been featured in all of the previous episodes. Telltale has been working toward finding a good balance between action and story in the last few episodes. It did great with episode 3 and continues with episode 4. There was a little less action in Amid the Ruins, but the added character interactions that have been missing from the last few episodes made up for this in my book.
The Walking Dead Season 2 Episode 4: Amid the Ruins sports some of the best graphics in the series. It’s not that the quality of the graphics has improved, but instead it’s that I didn’t notice a single glitch while playing. Most episodes have at least one or two glitches with either animations or bad lip syncing, but I didn’t see any of that in Amid the Ruins.
The audio in The Walking Dead Season 2 Episode 4: Amid the Ruins is also great. The characters are well voiced and sound effects are spot on. The added conversations in this episode really helped it stand out as a great example of voice acting in a video game that carried a lot of emotion.
The Walking Dead Season 2 Episode 4: Amid the Ruins is a hard episode to judge. I love the added conversations, but I absolutely hate that Telltale took control away from the players with decisions that don’t matter. The length of the episode was also an issue with me. On the plus side, it does feature the great graphics and audio that have been present the entire series.
The Walking Dead Season 2 Episode 4: Amid the Ruins earns 2 GiN Gems out of 5.