It’s not often that we know before playing an upcoming game that it might be the studio’s final release, as that news usually arrives afterwards with the confirmation of lackluster sales. This scenario became a reality last week, however, when Telltale revealed the unfortunate news that their studio would be effectively shutting down, with all but one of their upcoming projects cancelled and the vast majority of their staff being let go. While any game being cancelled is disappointing, Walking Dead fans had more reasons to be particularly upset, as the fourth and final season that is currently underway has now been left in limbo with only two of the four planned episodes being confirmed for release. As of the time of writing, the final season of The Walking Dead has been pulled from a variety of storefronts, and while there are talks being done behind the scenes to potentially see Clementine’s journey to its conclusion with help from another studio, the just-released second episode will officially go down as the final release from Telltale Games. “Suffer The Children” serves better as a reflection of better times for both Clementine and Telltale Games, as the episode does little to keep players interested in its expanding cast despite some intriguing advancements to the game’s combat system.
While the remainder of the review will not address any spoilers for “Suffer The Children”, important plot points from the previous episode of the season will be discussed below. For more on the season so far, check out the review for “Done Running.”
The conclusion of “Done Running” saw AJ jeopardizing his and Clementine’s future with the children of the school, but instead of drawing out the drama, the matter is solved abruptly with little room for the player to attempt to alter it, which leads to some rushed character interactions that arguably had room for more potential. The unusually fast pace continues for most of the episode, as characters are introduced and re-introduced with little justification or time for the player to appreciate it. That’s not to say that there aren’t room for interesting developments within this second episode, particularly in regards to this season’s antagonists and their plans for Clementine and the gang. Unfortunately, the young adults of the school continue to see little to no character progression, making it hard to recall every member of the decently sized cast when only a couple get a significant amount of screen time to allow them to separate themselves from their cliches.
The new camera perspective continues to enhance the overall presentation of the final season of The Walking Dead, both during exploration and combat sequences. Collectibles continue to play an important role in “Suffer the Children”, with these and other hidden items offering some of the more human moments in the episode for players willing to explore. While the initial combat encounters play out similarly to what Clementine encountered last episode, an addition to her arsenal offers some new methods for taking down some new and dangerous threats, offering Telltale’s best rendition of their real-time combat mechanics to date. The Walking Dead’s final season maintains its polished nature through its second (or potentially final) episode, with little-to-no technical issues to speak of during the two hour chapter.
Suffer the Children is an unsatisfying conclusion to Clementine’s journey, temporary or otherwise, as both she and Telltale Games have seen much higher highs over the years. The evolution of the core combat makes up for the lack thereof in the season’s plot, which feels unnecessarily hurried even during the slower moments of the episode. After playing this second episode, it’s hard not to be left wanting more, as Clementine deserves a better resolution to her multi-season adventure, even if it ends up being as depressing as the fate of the developer that created her.