Disclaimer: This review was originally written during the time when the chances of The Walking Dead: The Final Season being finished seemed to be nil. We originally decided not to publish it, as you couldn't even buy the game we were reviewing anyway. Now that another studio has taken the series over, there seems to be a much better chance we'll see The Walking Dead: The Final Season continued. As such, we're publishing this review as it was originally written. This means some of the information, most notably the stuff about the series not being continued, is out of date.
Normally I start an interview off with some lighthearted jokes, maybe a bit of history behind the game, and end it with a question about its quality. Here I find it difficult to do that. I'm an unashamed fan of both Telltale and the Walking Dead series of games, and my review of The Walking Dead: The Final Season's first episode was glowing. However between that review and this one, Telltale has imploded. The company barely exists, most of the staff has been laid off, and future episodes of The Walking Dead: The Final Season are in limbo. So in a way, Suffer the Children is the unofficial series finale. Does it manage to provide another great tale, or is our final story with Clementine a poor one?
Picking up right where Done Running left off, Suffer the Children opens up with the school deciding that they want to force Clementine and AJ to leave after AJ shot and killed Marlon. While exiled, the two run into the raiders that threatened their school. More importantly, they meet their leader: Lily. Apparently, she survived after being kicked out of the group all those years ago back in The Walking Dead's first season. She's also not happy. As such, the final two survivors from the original group find themselves pitted against each other as the raiders prepare to take the school over.
It's one hell of an intriguing setup for the episode. Watching Clementine and Lily interact is amazing in a twisted sort of way. They're two people who either hate or respect each other. It's probably somewhere in the middle, but you can't really tell. With two amazing characters taking the helm, the supporting cast has quite a bit of catch up to do.
AJ is still a fascinating case study, showing how a child born after the end of the world would grow up. More effort goes towards developing Mitch and Ruby, who both play significant parts in this episode. The development does them a lot of good, and by the end, I appreciated them far more. On the other hand, Omar continues to sit in the background and only got a single line the whole episode, while Aasid and Willy only get a few lines at best.
However, there are no two ways around one of the biggest issues. Suffer the Children holds a very strong chance of being the final episode of The Walking Dead: The Final Season. As a second episode, it does a fantastic job setting up three and four while still keeping me intrigued. As a final episode, it fails. The plot lines go unresolved and the season ends in a massive cliffhanger. I don't know if we'll ever see a proper end, but I have to assume this will be it. This is not a satisfying ending, and that hurts. Ultimately I know that the developers or writers didn't know. They made Suffer the Children with the expectation of it being just another episode. However, for those holding out for even a soft ending to the season, they won't find it here.
The gameplay elements from the first episode not only continue here but expand. You still get into fights with walkers that you need to stun and kill using Clementine's abilities. With more group fights happening, using timing to stun walkers so you can kill others uninterrupted is very important. The late game segment also introduces third-person shooting, giving Clementine a bow and requiring her to move, aim, and shoot zombies in the head. Burning zombies bring a new challenge. Clem can't use melee on them at all and they can kill her without other enemies helping. In all, it's clear the series has evolved from quick time event fights. I would have loved to see it keep going.
On the other hand, Telltale's engine problems turn their ugly head here. For the first time in quite a while, I noticed a lot of stuttering and slowdown in Suffer the Children. Part of me wonders if the game needed just a little more polish and that Telltale shutting down was the cause of this. I also had the game repeat its lengthy "choose Clementine's actions in the past seasons" intro section. It's weird that they suddenly let me rechoose since I already locked in my decisions. I can only assume this is a glitch.
It's a shame that we'll probably never see anything past Suffer the Children. It's also a shame that I genuinely can't suggest buying The Walking Dead: The Final Season (not like you can) because it'll probably never be finished. I'm sad I have to consider this the final episode. I'm sad that Telltale has shut down, and I can only wish the employees can find more work. They deserve it.
TechRaptor reviewed The Walking Dead: The Final Season - Episode 2: Suffer the Children on PlayStation 4 using a copy provided by the developers. The game was also available on PC, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
Suffer the Children is a fantastic second episode for The Walking Dead: The Final Season. Unfortunately, the reality is that it's also probably the final episode, and it just doesn't cut it as a finale.
- Great Set-up
- Interesting Characters
- Fun Gameplay
- Few Characters Remain Undeveloped
- No Resolution
- Glitches and Slowdown