Girl forced to grow up fast in second helping of The Walking Dead
Reviewed: The Walking Dead, Season Two; Threes; Deadfall Adventures
Published 21/02/2014 | 13:00
THE things a young girl is asked to do without flinching: bury a clawhammer in walker’s brain, stitch a gaping wound, choose who lives and who dies.
This second season from Telltale Games of the comic book spin-off pulls no punches in what it demands of its characters. Similar grisly tasks faced chief protagonist Lee in season one of this episodic survival horror. The difference is that he was a hardened adult protecting a little girl.
Now (spoiler alert if you haven’t finished season one) Lee is dead and that little girl, Clementine, has had to grow up mighty fast. Clem’s survival tale pits her against suspicious adults, murderous bandits and, of course, the walking dead.
The story beats carry that much more weight now that they centre on a vulnerable child. Except that Clem shows herself to be quite capable of evading danger. Yes, she sometimes whimpers in fear and cowers in terror but this girl has gumption beyond her years.
The narrative and acting hold up to the usual high standard, even papering over the cracks through which you can see Telltale reusing scenarios from season one. The much-vaunted moral choices (eg, opinions voiced or characters snubbed) seem to have little effect on how the plot unfolds, even though theoretically they’re supposed to carry over from season one.
You could justifiably argue too that Telltale focuses too much on story rather than gameplay but that’s true of most of its adventure games.
Still, Episode One sets up Clem promisingly for another intriguing tale rooted in zombie fiction.
On Steam (PC/Mac), however, you can only buy the whole season (€22) whereas on console and iOS, you can play Episode 1 for about €5 before deciding to pony up for the full season (€14 extra).
THE match-three genre has never been more oversaturated (gee thanks, Candy Crush) but Threes pitches for a more intellectual take on the well-worn style, which is effectively match-two.
You don’t need to be a mathematical genius (though it might help) because Threes is all about pairing figures on a board to merge them into higher numbers and thus a bigger score.
Like a variation on the old-school slide puzzles, you have to keep an eye on the big picture and move the numbers around until they’re adjacent and ready to merge. But every move also adds another random tile and the board quickly fills up.
Gradually, you learn to think several moves ahead with the aid of the preview function but you are at the mercy of random drops.
The sting of the inevitable frustration is soothed by the quirky presentation, from the jaunty theme tune to the way the numbers coo and flirt with each other.
But with only a single mode of play, you’d fear for the longevity of this €1.80 download unless the developers start to mix it up via an update.
FROM a soup of influences (or steals if you’re being unkind), Deadfall Adventures cooks up a tasteless, thin broth that betrays its small budget.
Squint and you’d swear this was an undocumented Uncharted spin-off by way of Raiders of the Lost Ark. But open your eyes (and ears) wide and Deadfall can’t hold a candle to the graphical splendour and rich script of either Naughty Dog’s game or Spielberg’s film.
Yes, there’s shooting aplenty and some rudimentary puzzles but the mixture is tainted by repetition, unimaginative level design and visual poverty.