It’s probably become apparent by now that I love action-horror and survival-horror games. Any game that’s creepifying or has you fighting demons or the supernatural gets at least a glance from me. It probably says a lot about my psyche that terrorizing virtual demons is one of my favorite pastimes.

October presents a great opportunity to get my ghoulish glee in. For the second year in a row I’ve been running my Hallowinning Marathon over on Twitch – Did I mention I stream on Twitch? I stream on Twitch at Twitch.Tv/Mr_Mephisto; give me a follow. The marathon has so far spanned both Walking Deads by TTG, Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines, RE4 (PS2), and I’m currently eyeing up Soma or Until Dawn. Until some additional funding comes in I may have to hammer the gap with Alan Wake’s American Nightmare or Amnesia (per viewer request).

Now that the self-promotion portion is out of the way, I’ll get to the real point of the post… The Hallowinning Marathon makes the second or third time I’ve played through Season 1 of The Walking Dead but only the first I’ve played Season 2 and boy do I have some words to share.

I’ve written more than a few things on TTG’s The Walking Dead. From a full review, to a couple in depth blog posts, and even a Gamer Dad Confession. To summarize, I loved Season 1. I could deride the simplistic controls, which seems to be the trend among other reviewers these days when it comes to TTG’s single and direct solution adventure game style, but I won’t. TTG’s games so heavily fall on the side of interactive narrative that I take any gameplay at all as a kindness. Whether the games are good or not falls entirely to the story. Good story means good Telltale game.

With all the accolades I gave Season 1 it will probably come as no surprise that I didn’t like Season 2 as much. That being said, I didn’t expect Season 2 to be better. In fact, I put as much distance between my playthroughs of 1 and 2 as I could. It allowed me to temper my expectations.  Season 2 was still a good game by its own measure and I still recommend it. I just ask that everyone try similar and not go into it with expectations. Sequels don’t mean better. The 2 after the name isn’t a multiplier. Just a continuation. In that vein, Season 2 of TTGs The Walking Dead was an adequate continuation.

But I really don’t want this to be a comparison between the two games. I meant it sincerely when I said Season 2 really attempts to be its own game. Yes, the standard TTG stuff is there. The standard zombie stuff, character cameos, allusions, and “choices matter” gimmicks all show up. But this isn’t a story about the lengths a man will go to, to protect his girl. It’s about a girl becoming a leader of men. In that respect it’s a huge success.

I found the decisions easier to make and lacking in the moral weight of the first game – it was just easier for me to make decisions for Clem than Lee. There was an inescapable feeling and build up going on despite those “easy” decisions. And that’s the point. That was the great success. Season 2 is a game about how Clementine becomes the most apt person to survive the zombie apocalypse based on all of the things she was taught by one of the best damn men to ever live, Lee.

And there were distinctive moments, you can see them in my VODs, where I was taken aback by what occurred in the game. It wasn’t a decision usually. It was an outcome. Around episode 3, shit gets real. You can watch me take my hands off the keyboard and mouse and run my fingertips through my hair as I lean away from my computer screen affected by what I’ve just played. I want to say that again. I am physically moved in reality to back away from the game and just absorb what I’ve done/witnessed. It’s. Fucking. Awesome. The big payoff moments aren’t quite there for TTGs The Walking Dead Season 2 but the introspection still is. That’s what video game narrative can be. It can make us step back and look at ourselves. It can help us understand or question our realities. This game did that. Check it out. And check out my stream.