For Telltale: a compendium of cross, constructive criticisms on this season's protagonist
(NB Due to the character limit, the criticisms in question can be found below in the first posted reply to this thread. They are a collection in one place of replies that have been posted in other threads, so before anyone should think me mad, I am certainly not expecting people to trudge through that swamp of text and read everything; you might glean some points here and there if you browse; you might find something interesting in the original threads these came from; you could carry on with and bring over the same discussions from parallel threads that are discussing these same topics; but the bulk of material posted following this introduction cannot be taken in all at once and is certainly not something meant for the sake of casual reading. If you want a summary of where I'm coming from, I recommend following the link in this introduction. It summarises things much better than I could.)
This has to count as the lengthiest opening post here in the forums' history, and no less the case with the individual critiques that come after it. Seeing that one of the main purposes of the forums is to provide the Telltale staff with feedback from players, then the dreary, tedious thoroughness provided in those critiques should more than satisfy that purpose. When you consider my place as somebody from the earliest wave of Telltale gamers, the old guard that is the minority, Gen-X, adventure-gamer demographic that has followed them from their start, it's not surprising that back at the time, a 'zombie game' had been the last thing I was expecting this company to try its hand at and the last sort of game I had any craving for or wish to play (the genre had never appealed to me and I wasn't from amongst the TWD franchise's fanbase), but something I nonetheless took a gamble on, having followed the company as far as I had. Despite the words 'distaste' and 'sheer apathy' being appropriate ones to describe my attitudes towards zombie universes, tropes, and themes, the game went far beyond my expectations to becoming my favourite from Telltale's game catalogue, and the same can be said of many others who have played it. Not a small feat, which explains why some players would value this game franchise enough to start viewing its progression with a protective eye. I had high expectations for the second season and although already had found certain flaws at the start of the prologue, had still allowed that prologue to lead me on with a general sense of optimism. What followed after that prologue up until now had been entirely unexpected and disappointing. The way things seem to stand now, I have little hope I'll find myself able to derive some sense of enjoyment or gratification playing this second-season game, owing to some very fundamental problems that relate to the protagonist in her character and story, flaws so distinctly, strongly, plainly and palpably felt and significant enough to have me willing to flesh them out here at considerable length.
The issues have been discussed haphazardly in several threads and likely with little chance for too much depth, given how multiple threads on the same rehashed opinions have a habit of sinking quickly so it wouldn't be bad to see made of this thread a primary hub for other naysayers to express their ideas with more clarity and a place where other forum members can discuss points of contention relating to the way Clementine's personality, story arc, and role vis a vis protagonist vs NPC have been treated as well as points relating to the strongly related topic of player motivation and drive in the game.
I leave the tsunami to follow as food for thought for everyone, but most importantly, I'm putting up this thread as one meant primarily for the eyes of Telltale staff who might find a critical view useful, if sometimes hyperbolically scathing in its venting. I should add that despite my long membership history, I have posted little and rarely participated on the forums--I don't draw much enjoyment out of forum banter or spending the time drawn into a whirlpool of endless memes and gif posts--and I would not normally be taking the time to write so much (I expect I'll be giving the forums a rest after this post) were I not sincere in my attachment to the game and its two primary characters and seriously miffed with the direction this second season has irreversibly taken (no, a third season in the form of a prequel will not mend this). I'll even add a small nugget of personal information to explain why I have enjoyed this game so much: I hail from a Syrian background, and here in this part of the world in the course of the many decades that have passed, we've grown up accustomed to the sight of suffering and dead and murdered children from an early age, whether through the news or having witnessed it in person. A story of a young suffering innocent convincingly portrayed thrown into an unforgiving world and forced to adapt resonates very cathartically with us and in a region like this. Unfortunately, those who do play games over here in the Middle East are normally too busy salivating over some FPS sniper game on their consoles than catching wind of titles like this.
Before anything from my end, I'd like to draw some serious attention to the posts of a fellow forum member, Maxwell Horse, who was at the time this season's first episode was released actively discussing points here regarding the topics mentioned and whom I found to be an outspoken and articulate fellow who could make his points more clearly and succinctly than I in my convoluted fashion, or most others on these topics. He's been inactive since December, which is unfortunate, because I've very much wanted to hear his views in regards to the second episode. Fortunately, though, that means his profile page still shows his comments from back in December under his latest 25 posts. The man's insightful writing cuts straight to the point and is ultimately easier on the eyes.
What follows from this point on is a collection of my own posts, that like too many others coping with this forum design, have sunk and got buried underneath endless layers of endlessly branching lines of discussion. Except for the first, each begins with a link to each post's original place if context is needed. The context for the first post is that it was intended as a response to the increasingly ubiquitous idea in the forums that Clementine in the first Season was something of a proto-Sarah. It eventually grew into a monster of a general critique. It is also a bit more rhetorical, hyperbolic, and spleen-venting than the others--I had to indulge the need to let off some steam. What comes after it has far less of that tone.
If you'll need someone standing by with a toilet plunger to fish you out in case you sink past this point, you should probably go call for him now.