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Sore Thumbs

1/8/2014

‘THE WALKING DEAD: SEASON TWO EPISODE 1 – ALL THAT REMAINS’    (M)

****

Telltale Games

Xbox Live Arcade

The second season of Telltale Games’ beloved zombie series has, at long last, begun. And while “Episode 1” barely hints at the overarching plot that will eventually define “Season Two,” it does present an engrossing character study of one of its familiar faces. Young Clementine takes center stage this time around, and in the years since her introduction, the trials of surviving an undead-infested world have hardened her. To what extent is up to you. As increasingly dramatic choices are thrust upon you, you can choose to keep Clementine compassionate, but you might be surprised by how many options there are to make her pragmatic, cynical, manipulative or even cruel. She is, after all, a child, which means she’s less capable of resolving problems with brute strength. You’ll have to use other tools to survive, and you might be shocked by how nasty those tools are.

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As with previous “Walking Dead” games, “Season Two Episode 1” is essentially a point-and-click adventure. You have the freedom to explore, but when it comes to conversations or action sequences, you’re presented with a list of choices as to how to proceed. This episode teams you with a whole new group of survivors, and the decisions you make will determine whether they become friends, become enemies, or are even alive in future episodes. There’s a lot of scene-setting in this installment, so, at times, the plot can feel a bit aimless, but, nevertheless, there are a handful of emotional scenes here you won’t soon forget. How this will all figure into the grand scheme is anyone’s guess at this point, but “Season Two” is definitely off to a solid start.

 

‘MINECRAFT: PLAYSTATION 3 EDITION’    (E10+)

****

Mojang AB

PlayStation Network

The PC sensation finally comes to PlayStation! Better late than never. Those unfamiliar with “Minecraft” will likely need some time to get over the primitive nature of the graphics, but once they do, a world of endless invention will be at their fingertips. Initially your pixelated avatar will have to make do with primitive shelters to protect himself from the onslaught of nasty critters that emerge at night, but once he amasses a robust set of tools, the structures he can build are limited only by your imagination. This game manages to capture the sensation of playing with LEGOs far better than any of the LEGO games have.

 

‘TOKI TORI’    (E)

***

Playlogic

PlayStation Network

This simplistic 2D puzzle-platformer casts you as a flightless bird on an Easter egg hunt. You’ll navigate up ladders and down cliffs in pursuit of your unhatched brethren, while porcupines and chasms conspire to hinder your progress. The ability to build bridges or freeze enemies comes in handy, but you’re limited to using each ability a set number of times, so you’ll have to think strategically. However, the game is incredibly forgiving, permitting you to rewind to the point before any unwise move, which makes “Toki Tori” a painless but utterly unchallenging exercise in trial and error. CV

Matthew Scott Hunter studied video games extensively while attending the University of Nevada Reno and Vancouver Film School (despite the fact that video games were not part of either school’s curriculum). He has been writing Sore Thumbs since 2004.

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