Three Things I Liked About ALL THAT REMAINS
I feel that I've posted more than a few threads about everything I disliked in ALL THAT REMAINS, so I'm posting another where I'm going to point out what I DID appreciate, just so I don't come across as a whingey fanboy all the time:
There are no governments, no underground bunkers of stashed-away world leaders, and no refugee camps organized by the military; just isolated pockets of people in varying states of degenerative savagery. The dead seem to outnumber the living a hundred to one. Even if I thought the new group of survivors was vile, their paranoid treatment of an 11-year-old girl indicates just how desperate things have become. Basic human morality is being eroded by apathy and malevolence.
The tone of the story is somewhere between Spielberg's EMPIRE OF THE SUN and McCarthy's THE ROAD. The first shot we see of Clementine is very telling in this way: Vast, menacing trees that loom over Clem like giants. Right off the bat, we know what the theme of this season is going to be: Clem vs. the world. Judging from the image slides for future episodes, things are only going to get increasingly lonesome and desolate, until part 5 will probably feature Clem entirely alone throughout the entire chapter, fighting against an army of zombies amidst a punishing winter landscape.
Even if Telltale denies the player any control over almost every other aspect of the story, at least they allow us the ability to shape Clem's characterization. We can portray her as a desensitized monster like Carl, the lovable nine-year-old we knew from season 1, or something in between. I still think the 16-month time jump was a mistake, but it does give Clem time to grow a little older and a little harder. This is a child who's been forced to learn how to survive in a world where the living are often no better than the dead, and it's up to the player whether Clem becomes just another hateful voice in a chorus of hateful voices, or the one character who remains even remotely human.
Telltale advances the design, while keeping things familiar enough for veterans of S1. There were only two occasions where the new system threw me off. The first was when I was attacked by Sam, and the second was the walker in the shed. I now understand what Telltale meant when they said that Clem would need to use her environment more so than Lee to survive, but that didn't exactly help when I was being ravaged by a vicious animal for the first time. Seeing a feral dog rip into a little girl's throat not once, but *twice *, is not the kind of "Game Over" screen I hope to see again. It makes one nostalgic for the days when Mario would just leap off-screen whenever a goomba touched him.