Wednesday, January 15, 2014

All That Remains

All that remains

It's difficult to talk about even how the latest installment of Telltale Games' The Walking Dead made me feel, let alone what actually happens in it, without major spoilers. Not just for the first season or its 400 Days DLC, decisions from which inform the world in the second. Even the earliest events in this new episode deserve to be seen with fresh eyes; reading anything about the story, however minor a plot point it may seem, can't fail to have an impact on your interpretation of it.

What surprised me the most about Clementine - or myself? - in All That Remains was how different she is now that I'm in control. Detached and, in some ways, mercenary. Her own survival was all that mattered, whatever the consequences to the other characters. I wanted to be a better person than I ended up, but faced with the difficult decisions, threats real and imagined, my priority was to protect Clementine.

I'm not sure what the strongest motivator was for that coldness. The finale of the first season still triggers something in me when I think about it, and the experience must have affected me somehow - Lee's fundamental motivation to look out for this little girl informs every action and response. There's also a scene early in this episode that so thoroughly pulled the rug from under me that I treated every situation afterwards with suspicion.

One of the central threads of the first Walking Dead season was the trust between Clem and Lee - at first necessary and unsure, but by the end unconditional and unwavering. I'd assumed that relationship would have a lasting effect on Clementine, that she'd see the good in people first and not resort to just looking out for number one. But without Lee's presence to reassure her - to reassure me - that things would ultimately be okay, the walls are going up.

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