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The Walking Dead: Season 2 – Amid the Ruins (PS3) Review

/ Aug 7th, 2014 No Comments

The Walking Dead: Season 2

“Amid the Ruins” is the penultimate episode of The Walking Dead: Season 2. After the disturbing conclusion of “In Harm’s Way”, Clementine and the group are in a bad way. The danger posed by Carver and his compound was great, but escaping may not be the triumph the group hoped it would be. “Amid the Ruins” deals with the aftermath of escaping Carver’s fortress and what may prove an even greater threat: finding shelter and keeping the group together.

The episode is an exciting follow-up to “In Harm’s Way,” which placed the group in a bleak situation as prisoners in Carver’s clutches. Where that episode forced players to take risks, “Amid the Ruins” requires gamers to make some troubling decisions. These harrowing scenarios and onerous decisions make this episode one of the best overall in the series.

Escape the Herd

The situation is dire. Clementine and the other survivors are scattered, scared and surrounded by walkers after escaping from the compound. The group has a vague plan to meet up near a museum a few miles away, but it is unknown if anyone survived. Clementine has to get Rebecca and her baby to safety. Before walkers can close in on them, Jane, the female prisoner they meet in “In Harm’s Way,” rescues them.

On the way to the rendezvous point, Jane puts pressure on Rebecca about what she’ll do with her kid once it’s born. Naturally, Rebecca is mortified at what Jane is suggesting, but Clementine has to react in some way. This pointed conversation is the perfect framing device for what happens during the rest of “Amid the Ruins.” The episode reminds players of the reality of the situation and the harshness of survival. It also sets up the budding mentor/mentee relationship between Jane and Clementine, which is the most interesting aspect of the episode.

When Clem, Rebecca and Jane reach the rendezvous point, they find the surviving groups members, aside from Luke, Nick and Sarah. There is the overwhelming pressure to find suitable shelter and food, but looking for the others takes priority. Jane takes Clementine to search for the three lost survivors. They find a mobile home area overrun with lurkers and a clue to where Luke and Sarah’s whereabouts, but avoiding walkers to save them is a tough task.
 

The Walking Dead: Season 2

Clementine deals with serious fallout from “In Harm’s Way.”

Jane takes the opportunity during this tense situation to teach Clementine a few survival tactics. She takes such a shine to the young girl because she sees a survivor in her and wants to help her learn the skills necessary to survive. This relationship is a weird parallel to Lee. Jane does not subscribe to the thought of strength in numbers and encourages Clementine to ditch the group.

The two concoct a plan to distract the walkers long enough to reach the house where Luke and Sarah are trapped, but that turns out to be the easy part. What is going on inside the house is the true test. Jane and Clem find Luke injured, Sarah in hysterics, and walkers rapidly breaking into the house. Luke, Jane and Clem must act quickly to prevent the walkers from getting inside while securing an escape route.

Decisions, Decisions

Action and reaction has become second nature for the survivors. Blocking a door with a dresser, stacking furniture to jet out a sky light and killing walkers covers the basics, but the difficulty comes when dealing with the living.

What do you do when a young girl sees the most important person to her devoured right in front of her? This is the moment in The Walking Dead: Season 2 that puts players’ mettle and morality to the test. It also elucidates how season two is much darker than the first season.

Whatever your choice is, you eventually meet up with Rebecca and the other survivors to answer the pressing problem of where will you stay and what will you eat. The group splits up to search for possibilities, and Clementine heads off with Jane to search an observation deck.
 

The Walking Dead: Season 2

Things go quite poorly for the group.

During their scouting of the area, Clem learns more about Jane and why she became so hard and insistent on being a lone wolf. Despite the friendship the two feel toward each other, Jane is not going to be around for long.

Whether it is a bizarre occurrence or kismet, the two run into a boy with a limp named Arvo. He is carrying medication that he is seemingly dropping off at the deck. Much like with Sarah, dealing with Arvo requires a difficult decision.

With the deck a suitable place to use as refuge, Clem heads back to the meeting place. Rebecca goes into labor as soon as Clementine tells them that the deck is usable, and things just get worse from there. It is up to Clem and the other survivors to get Rebecca to the deck to give birth safely. The road forward is arduous for this group.

Overall

More than any of the previous episodes, “Amid the Ruins” forces players to make problematic moral choices. These specific moments deal with Clementine’s morality and what it means to survive after a disaster. “Amid the Ruins” stands out as the best episode so far in The Walking Dead: Season 2. It skews the clear moral choice even more than prior episodes.

 

Kalvin Martinez

Kalvin Martinez

Senior Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Kalvin Martinez studied Creative Writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He writes reviews, prose and filthy limericks. While he is Orange County born, he now resides in Portland, OR. He is still wondering what it would be like to work at a real police department. Follow Kalvin on Twitter @freepartysubs
Kalvin Martinez

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THE WALKING DEAD: SEASON 2 – AMID THE RUINS (PS3) REVIEW

Gaming Illustrated RATING

Overall93%

GAMEPLAY9.5

The episode distills the very best of what a Telltale game has to offer into several potent bursts. Gameplay elements all work well with one another in these moments.

GRAPHICS9

The art style and framing always creates a bleak tone that matches the subject matter. Minor performance issues that make the experience less smooth.

SOUND9.5

The score still has a huge impact on the tone of the series, and the voice acting remains stellar. The best sound moment comes from a very specific moment during one of the early decisions Clementine must make.

STORY9.5

Season 2 started off meandering, but now the shape of Clementine's journey is becoming clear. This episode cements the fact that Clementine is in for more heart break.

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