Friday, 8 August 2014

The Walking Dead: Season 2, Episode 4: 'Amid The Ruins' | Review

Bloodshed and Tears; No One is Safe
Tension is rising, the group is breaking, lives will be lost and another will be born. It’s never easy saying goodbye, nor is it easy to decide one’s fate. Escaping from the herd of zombies in ‘In Harm’s Way’ is only the beginning of what’s to come next, and with your choices locked in, there’s no 
turning back.

Episode 4 picks up from right where it left off; the moment that can damage a close friendship and leave behind a nasty scar. Fights will be fought, leadership will be challenged, and when everything seems to fall, the only thing that will keep them going and hold them together is each other. But then, when it all shatters, who will be the one to pick up the pieces and who will be left in the ruins?

Fallen, but Never Forsaken
After making it out of the herd, Jane, Rebecca and Clementine team up and stick together as they journey to the rendezvous point in hopes of reuniting with the group. Although there will be a sense of relief to see a few of the others have made it, that relief will instantly fade and turn into a painful ache as you are brought back to the damaging consequence you have directly or indirectly caused. But that’s not the only thing you need to worry about. Luke, Sarah and Nick (if saved in ‘A House Divided’) are missing and it’s up to you and Jane to find them in time.

Friendships will be tested, new lessons will be taught, and with Rebecca’s baby on the way, the group are forced to come together during this tense time. The question is, will it make them, or will it break them? Tough decisions must be made, testing your moral choices, and not everyone will make it.

Prepare for the unknown, the unexpected and the undead as you embark on a new chapter to find safe ground. But just when you think you’ve found it, a new threat presents itself. Trust is a whole new game and there’s no way out of what’s to come next. Let’s just say it will end with a ‘bang’.
The Harshness of Reality
It’s fair to say ‘Amid The Ruins’ is the best episode yet in Season 2. It’s well balanced in terms of action, dialogue and exploring, as well as overall time of gameplay. We see a lot more character development from each character — especially Jane — as they show a new side during this climatic and chaotic time. Responsibility is at an all time high, and with some not in the right head space, certain duties will be ignored that could cost the whole group their lives, as well as their reliability.

Helping those in need is definitely this episode’s main theme as quite a few scenes primarily focus around a statue of a man carrying and helping another: the fallen. It’s quite symbolic and plays an important part in the terms of the choices you make and the storyline. Doing what’s ‘right’ is always left to interpretation, and this episode proves that even when making an ethical choice, it won’t always feel right and it won’t always be easy.

As far as choices, there are a couple that will leave your brain tugging in separate directions as you choose between two tough decisions — one that’s tempting and another that’s risky. Your pragmatism, compassion, selflessness and survivalism will be tested along with your loyalties once again. With the cracks in the group growing deeper and more apparent, where you stand and who you will stand beside is up to you. But don’t be surprised if playing favouritism creates further tension in the group.
New Hope
Although this is a thoroughly enjoyable and eventful episode, it does have its minor drawbacks. Throughout most scenes, Clementine will play the ‘adult’ when it comes to cooling down arguments and picking up other characters’s slack.

In one segment with Bonnie and Mike, you will find them standing around and staring at things in the museum instead of looting the area and finding supplies. As soon as Clementine arrives, she finds everything, does almost everything and still gets treated like a baby by Bonnie who doesn’t do a thing. It felt as though that part of the episode was added in for extra play time, but it does include a moment when Clementine thinks about Lee and witnesses the nature and survivalism of wildlifemoments you can appreciate.

The main choices disappointingly don’t affect much, but the main drawback for me was that the choice that tests your compassion doesn’t change the outcome at the end of the episode; it remains the exact same. Hopefully in Episode 5 that the result of that choice comes into play and could cost you or reward you, otherwise it would serve no purpose. After all, consequences will make things more intense and interesting, especially if it costs you the group.
Overall, 'Amid The Ruins' is by far my favourite episode this season. It’s strong, emotional, eventful and entertaining that ends with another cliffhanger one that will leave you wanting more. And with the storyline taking a new direction and remaining strong, what happens next and what will happen in the Season Finale is anyone’s guess. Who will make it out alive and who will be left behind?

The end is closing in, none of your favourite characters are safe, and with your choices locked in, the road to safe haven could just be the deadliest choice of all. There’s no turning back.

4.5/5 9/10 

  An awesome, engaging and eventful episode with a strong narrative, but could have been more intense if certain choices were either rewarded or go punished. 


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