One of my favourite games of last year is returning for its second season this week. With the adorable-yet-tough Clementine from the last season returning as the protagonist, it's sure to out-depress the fantastic (and very depressing) last season that featured father-figure Lee.
If you're preparing for Season Two as it rolls out on its various platforms this week, chances are you've already played Season One. (If you haven't, you really should. Telltale themselves recommend doing so, as this is an episodic series much like the experience of watching Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones.)
And if you've been keeping up with the series since its release last year, chances are you'll want all of your decisions and their horrible results to roll over into the second season (there are no "right" choices in The Walking Dead, I've determined, only death and disappointment of different variety).
So here are a few tips to ensuring you're ready to dive into Season Two, armed with every questionable decision you've ever made.
Play all of Telltale's The Walking Dead episodes, including DLC '400 Days'
You should definitely play Season One of The Walking Dead before getting into Season Two. You'll have much more of a connection to Clementine and her history having done so.
The DLC Telltale released last summer, 400 Days, is considered optional. But your Season One choices had an impact on it and, in turn, Season One and 400 Days together will have an impact on Season Two. So, as a diehard fan of the series, I'd recommend playing all of it before you get into Season Two. The DLC was pretty good, too, so it really shouldn't be a difficult decision (unlike everything else in The Walking Dead). You'll have a deeper understanding of what happens in Season Two if you've got experience with the first season and its extra content.
Make sure all of your saves are in order
This one seems pretty straightforward, right? Not quite. It's easy enough for console and PC gamers: just make sure your saves are there. You don't necessarily need the download of the game itself on your hard drives, but you'll need the memory of your save files there.
It's a little different for iOS gamers. If you've played Season One and the DLC, you'll have to make sure those apps are still on your phone/tablet. If you've already deleted them, sorry, but you'll have to redownload and replay them (waiting to hear back on whether iTunes backups count; either way you'll also need to download the update to the Season One app to make sure Season Two can access the save file from it). Hey, no big deal. All the episodes are fairly short and it'll give you a nice excuse to "cheat" and go through again with previous knowledge of the impacts of some of the choices and dialogue you can use in the game. You can rig the game! Silver lining.
Know in your heart that it will be broken
C'mon. This is Telltale and The Walking Dead we're talking about. So grab some tissues and whatever your heartwarming food of preference is and prepare to be betrayed, threatened, starving, cold, and in constant fear of everything, the least terrifying of which is the zombie outbreak that started this whole thing.
Telltale describes this first incoming episode as a "buffer," so you don't have to worry too much about catching references and callbacks to a full season of The Walking Dead that, if you're anything like me and my terrible memory, have forgotten a lot of the details of. They're keeping those light for this first episode. The idea is to give you time to replay -- or play for the first time! -- the preceding episodes while still keeping up with the new season and the conversations about it that will surely follow. If you do decide, after playing the first episode, to go back and get a save file out of the first season (and potentially the DLC), you'll have to replay the first episode of the new season to add that data.
But Telltale pretty much guarantees you'll be able to find all sorts of references, small or big, to the things you've said and done in Season One. And if you find yourself without a save file and no opportunity to play through Season One or the DLC or both, the game will render some options for you to get you started. But expect Season One spoilers if you choose to go that route.
We'll have impressions up of the first episode for you very soon.