kejigoto / Member

Forum Posts Following Followers
2305 49 52

kejigoto Blog

An update from the other side of the world

by on

So it has been nearly a month since I've updated my blog and I apologize to those who read it. My schedule was suddenly changed and I was moved off nights in dispatch to driving a truck so my time online has been seriously hindered. However I'll be returning home in about two weeks so my online activity should increase dramatically at that time.

I've also been keeping rather busy with things though my writing on BitMob has gone down since I was moved. However in six months I've written 11 articles, 5 of which were published on the main page, 1 was part of a feature piece, and the other 5 saw a decent amount of activity. So far I'm managed to build up over 18,000 hits so I'm pretty happy with that.

Right now I'm talking with the developers behind Faster Than Light, which for some reason Gamespot won't let me link to their site so here's the address: http://www.ftlgame.com/, and setting up an interview with them which I'll run over on BitMob and of course post here.

Beyond that I've been knocking out games from my backlog and thus far have managed to beat the following:

  • The Witcher
  • Mass Effect
  • Mass Effect 2
  • Mass Effect 3
  • Duke Nukem Forever
  • Crysis 2
  • Sonic Generations
  • Sonic Generations 3D
  • Super Mario 3D Land
  • Mario Kart 7
  • Uncharted: Golden Abyss
  • Rayman Origins
  • Batman: Arkham City

Right now I'm working my way through Mirror's Edge which I'm highly enjoying and should have that knocked out in the next few days. Also I'm planning on doing reviews for most of the above that I haven't hit already. In fact I'm intending to do a review for the entire Mass Effect trilogy instead of breaking them up into seperate games.

Also I'm working on launching a seperate blog from this which will be where I'll be doing my updates once that gets up and running. I'm wanting to do more than Gamespot allows plus I'm finding myself using the site less and less. It'll be an area for me to post my articles from BitMob, reviews, a web comic I'm working on with a friend, and also I'm intending to start doing video reviews as well. I just want something that looks nice, I have full control over, and I don't have to wrestle with an unruly system like Gamespot has.

Anyways that's all from me for now.

Interview with Mark Long for Hawken

by on

I got incredibly lucky and thanks to Twitter was able to work out having some of my questions answered by Mark Long the CEO of Meteor Entertainment, the company publishing Hawken. I've already posted the story over on BitMob but I figured I'd share it with you guys as well.

If you want to see the pretty version with pictures and check out some of my other work click here otherwise read on:

Hawken is Adhesive Games' upcoming mech combat PC title which is looking incredible. The free to play game is running on Unreal Engine 3 bringing visuals to the table that is already starting to turn some heads and will hopefully raise the bar for what everyone should expect from free to play releases.

Having recently appeared at the Game Developers Conference last week details are beginning to emerge for Hawken. Mark Long, CEO of Meteor Entertainment, recently answered some questions for me about what gamers can expect from the upcoming title.

Jarrod Bell - Do you have any potential platforms you're looking at for release such as Steam or Origin?

Mark Long - We are currently researching all the platform options for Hawken's release. At this time, we haven't decided. Stay tuned to PlayHawken.com for updates!

JB - Since players won't be able to change their call sign will their be optional clan tags?

ML - We plan to support Clans in a big way. At its heart Hawken is a fast-paced mech-based shooter; it's a highly competitive game. For players who love to compete with their friends in clan on clan battles, we will support them.We haven't totally decided on how this will function. More info will be released as it's comes about on PlayHawken.com.

JB - Are multiplayer matches going to be focused on team play or more of a free for all setup?

ML - Both. Like many MMO FPSs, Hawken offers fun battles for people that want to jump in and slaughter as well as for those of us who "play well with others".

JB - Can players expect any form of user generated content such as maps?

ML - This has yet to be determined.

JB - Speaking of maps what sort of designs will players find? Will these be more of a city like layoutwith strategic points to control or more of an arena typ build with an even playing field?


ML - We have completed a number of maps. We're planning to launch beta testing with only a handful of maps so we don't overwhelm players in the beginning.You've likely seen the desert and city maps from our YouTube videos. We'll announce other map type on PlayHawken.com as they become available.

JB - How many different mech types will be available at release?


ML - Wehave a number of mechs finished. Again, for beta testing we are creating a strategy for releasing a handful of mechs and adding to the selection options gradually over time.


JB - Has any thought been put into a console release at this time or perhaps after the initial release on PC? ML - We're focusing on launching beta, which will be PC-only. We'll see if console versions will be in our future, but for now nothing has been decided yet.

Vita Impressions

by on

So at long last I've got my hands on my Vita and I've spent the last few days messing around with it albeit with some minor restrictions due to being deployed and not being online with it. What I've found is a mixture of both good and bad, however the good far out weighs the bad.

Game wise I only have Uncharted: Golden Abyss and Rayman Origins though Marvel vs Capcom 3 is on the way in the next few days I'll probably take a trip over to one of the areas with WiFi to try and download a game or two. I've also purchased a 32GB memory card just to make sure data storage is never a problem.

To start off I'll get the obvious out of the way. Sony has designed a great portable. Having skipped the PSP entirely though owning all of Nintendo's portables I'm rather impressed here. Compared to the 3DS the Vita is comfortable to hold and game with during long session. It's a sleek handheld that looks top notch and the only real complaint I have about it is the rear touch pad and the area it takes up. This is only a minor problem as I'm used to having my middle fingers stretched out towards the center of the device and from time to time Uncharted will think I'm wanting to do something via the rear touchpad when in reality I'm just wanting to hold the device comfortably. I would have liked to have seen Sony have a bigger area for me to rest my fingers but I'm sure I'll become adjusted to it in no time.

The analog sticks feel great, the button placement is excellent, the screen is by far the best feature displaying everything crisply. I have an actual PSP here, though not mine, and it is amazing to me how cheap the PSP feels when I pick it up after holding the Vita.

I started running into some minor complaints when I booted the device up and started browsing around on the OS. I really dislike how it asks me if I'm sure I want to start everything that I select. This was something I didn't expect to be an issue but as time goes on I'm getting a little tired of it. Yes my beloved Vita I want to start Uncharted, if I didn't I would have touched something else. This brings me to another point, everything is touch controlled. I get it Sony, you've got a touch screen now and it is fantastic however there are times where I don't feel like using the touch screen. Oh yes, every game you put in your Vita gets its own little bubble icon on the dashboard which makes me wonder why? If Sony keeps to this method my dashboard will be overcrowded in no time.

I'm also having trouble charging through my USB cable and I'm not sure why. I have it set to charge via USB in the settings menu yet whenever I connect it to my laptop it just says it can't connect. I think I may need to install the content manager but I haven't got around to that yet working with a limited internet connection. How on Earth Sony messed this simple aspect up is beyond my ability to comprehend and I'm finding it to be extremely annoying as US plugs are a little short handed here in the Middle East. So 9 times out of 10 it is either my laptop that is plugged in and charging or my Vita. Awesome.

Now onto the games! Uncharted is where I'll start as I've spent most of my time here and I'm currently on chapter 18. So far I'm enjoying my experience though not quite as much as I have on the PS3. This is mainly due to it feeling the need to push all the new control **** on me despite saying "Play how you want!" Well I don't want to play with the damn touch screen, I want to use the fancy analog sticks you've included.

Yet whenever I want to reload I have to tap my weapon icon on screen taking my thumb off the left analog stick meaning Drake stops running. Meanwhile Mr. Square Button sits there all lonely with nothing to do. Most things offer two or more ways to interact such as climbing where I can use the analog stick or the touch screen yet reloading I've got only one way to do it. Not only that but often it won't register my reload attempt so I've taken to tapping the screen until I hear the magazine release.

Another annoyance with the touch screen comes from the fact that all the menus are touch control only. Again Sony I get it, it's a touch screen, but do I constantly have to keep changing how I hold the device? The touch screen also forces its way into melee combat making me swipe my finger across the screen replicating whatever action it just showcased. Not only this but Quick Time Events make an appearance as well via the touch screen. A number of times I've found Drake falling to his doom because of this and my inability to get the screen to register that I indeed did swipe upwards.

Other areas I find forced motion controls is when Drake loses his balance while walking across planks and other such things. An explosion will rock the screen, something will break, or whatever and Drake is unsteady so I have to tilt the Vita back and forth to keep him level. At first this wasn't too bad but as time as gone on these sections last longer and longer. Sometimes a full ten seconds. How does he regain his balance? Leaning forward slightly and touching his thigh...

Not all is bad with the touch controls here as climbing is a breeze with the touch screen and something I enjoy plus I absolutely love using the gyroscope to aim. Lining up a shot is a breeze by moving the Vita to tweak your shots and I'm amazed at how well this works. Hit detection could be better but that is only a minor problem.

The graphics are of course top notch for a handheld though not close to the PS3 big brother. That is part of Golden Abyss' problem is standing in the shadow of the amazing work Naughty Dog has done. It lacks that feel, that sense of awe that Naughty Dog's previous work as invoked in me. It is still a great game but not on the same level as the PS3 counterparts.

Voice work is well done, environments are detailed, characters look great, the frame rate never dips, this is a Nathan Drake adventure through and through though I haven't hit a major set piece yet like I've found in the console versions. A little disappointing but I've still got a ways to go so we'll see. Thus far as been fairly standard, some shooting, some exploring, some character development. If I had to describe Golden Abyss I'd say it plays it safe not straying too far from the basic formula.

Rayman Origins looks amazing. I'll just put that out there. I was blown away when I first booted this up and though I'm only a few levels deep I'm in love. Pure 2D platforming action at its finest this game is a feast for the eyes and thus far hasn't given me anything to complain about.

The framerate is silky smooth, the characters, environments, music, control, everything is finely crafted and looks like something I would expect to see running on my big screen or PC at home. Playing this makes me wish more developers would try this approach to a game because you can just feel the love and attention that went into this game. The world oozes with charm as Rayman moves about the screen interacting with objects.

Even the finest details like Rayman's bright smile or the scowl on the face of an enemy can be seen in this beautifully hand drawn platformer and I can't help but smile as I play. The music is another fine asset for Rayman as it changes based on the action on screen and often syncs up to what is going on much like in the opening cutscene with Rayman and his friends napping. A few times I've got myself bobbing my head to the music as I play and I can already tell this will be a favorite of mine.

If you don't own Rayman Origins then do yourself a favor and go buy it. Regardless of the platform it is on this is great platformer and I'm in love with it.

Well that's it from me for now. I'm really enjoying my time with the Vita and despite a few minor issues this is a solid platform that I'm positive will see success in the coming years. Sony has crafted a great handheld to compete with Nintendo's 3DS and having both in my hands making me a little giddy thinking about what the future will bring for both handhelds.

Problems with Origin and locked out of my account UPDATED 2/20/2012!

by on

Just recently EA announced that they were running a special for those who pre-order Mass Effect 3 through Origin; you get a copy of Battlefield 3 for free. This is a pretty awesome deal and one net me a free copy of a game I've been wanting for some time plus I had just beaten Mass Effect 1 and 2. It was perfect and I was more than happy to start using Origin after trying to avoid their service despite having a few purchases there.

Heading over to the store online took me to the European site which would only display prices in Euros. I couldn't access the US store and when I went to check out it wouldn't allow me to input my US billing information.

Downloading the Origin software yielded even worse results as it won't let me log in at all. I get an error message telling me to restart Origin all because my IP is from the middle east and not the US. To make matters worse I can't even view or edit my account on Origin from the site because of my IP.

Emailing customer service brought zero results as well. I explained I'm currently deployed and can't access my account or make any purchases not to mention being completely locked out of my content I've bought on Origin. Their reply was to use a friend's account who lives here and then active the games on my account via the activation code. I emailed them right back again explaining my situation and how I don't have friends who live here, I'm here in support of the war effort not to live here and mingle among the people.

The response I got back was to call them stateside which I would be charged an international rate because I'm out of the country. The result of that would be having the minutes on my calling card ate up three times as fast and I would have to sacrifice time on the phone with my family to deal with them.

I told them no dice.

EA then informs me there's nothing they can do for me and they are terribly sorry over this but will look earnestly into the issue.

The crazy thing here is that Steam works just fine, Amazon's digital service works just fine, GOG hasn't had any issues taking my money, so why Origin? When I first arrived I attempted to buy Sonic Generations on Steam and I found I couldn't complete a purchase via a message telling me to contact customer support. My account still worked, I could access all my content on Steam, download games, get updates, everything but make purchases. I shoot Valve an email and they inform me that my account had been blocked from purchasing due to the new IP accessing my account from out of the country. I verify that it is me and they unlock my account infoming me to make any future purchases through their website to avoid any issues.

Since then my experience with Steam has been flawless and I've bought multiple games while here, updated even more games, installed games, traded some content around with friends, and more.

The truly funny part is that EA pulled their games off Steam due to them being unable to properly deliver content to their customers via Steam. I'm a customer yet I'm getting zero content from EA because of this. I can't even make a basic pre-order through their site. How is this better than Steam because from my position Origin is the restrictive service here.

I've contacted EA via their Origin Twitter account and after sending several messages back and forth I've emailed them my Origin logs so they can review them but still no word on if I can make any purchases let alone access any of my content. The pre-order special on Mass Effect 3 has closed out as well so who knows if I'll get access to that as EA examines my logs to find what information I could not tell you.

This is annoying. Being deployed is hard enough without dealing with hurdles like these and the fact that having an IP address from outside the US would keep you locked out of Origin is ridiculous. I know of numerous people stationed overseas and I'm sure there are plenty of US citizens who travel the world or live in other countries and are now locked out of this content.

I just wanted to share this and get the word out there about Origins being an incredibly restrictive service. Also wanted to warn everyone that all it takes is them to decide your IP address isn't where you should be and you won't be able to touch anything on your account. You can access your basic EA accout which does nothing for me but anything Origin based is out of the question.

So how is this providing a better service than Steam EA?

Update:

EA finally got back to me via Twitter and explained a few things. First off they are now looking into their systems and working on a way to make it so you can access the correct store no matter where you are in the world.

Secondly the main reason I couldn't access Origin was due to my auto sign in information being expired and thus creating an error each time I booted up Origin.

Thirdly as an apology for the issues I had with Origin and missing out on the Battlefield 3 promo they gave me not only Battlefield 3 Limited Edition for free but tossed in Mass Effect 3 N7 Deluxe Edition for free as well. I have to say this floored me as I never expected them to go this far nor toss in the special editions for free. I was simply seeking to pay for a product I wanted and EA went above and beyond anything I had expected.

Though their customer service wasn't very helpful communicating with them via Twitter was extremely helpful getting me the answers I wanted and more. EA definitely made this up to me and then some. Just wanted to pass on the word to everyone here that maybe EA isn't quite as horrible as everyone thought. They definitely made a fan out of me today.

Update #2:

Logged on to Origin today and found that I was also given a free copy of Syndicate and Shank 2! EA has really surpassed what I expected here and I couldn't be happier right now.

Gaming Update and More

by on

First off holy cow just had quite the influx of new people tracking me so I apologize about the lack of any updates over the past month. I've been busy writing a number of articles over on BitMob with some surprising success having five out of eight articles currently published. Plus I've been getting quite a bit of gaming done.

For starters I've finally completed The Witcher which was an incredible game. I also managed to finally beat both Mass Effect 1 and 2, both of these games I loved though I'm partial to Mass Effect 1 due to its stronger RPG elements. I'm currently engaged in Dead Space along though my mind is more focused on the release of the Vita which should hopefully be in my hands by the end of the month.

You can expect a review for all of these games in the coming weeks though they will be somewhat slow as I'm taking my time with them.

I pre-ordered my Vita through Amazon along with a 32GB memory card, Uncharted: Golden Abyss, and Rayman Origins. Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 may join the party but I think for now that will do me well.

I also have Resident Evil: Revelations coming though I think I'm going to leave my copy sealed if it has the misprint on it. Pre-ordered that as well so chances are it does. Plus this is one game I want to play with the Circle Pad Pro and that is something I can't get over here.

For those of you who are interested you can find my work on BitMob here. Please feel free to read over everything there and leave some feedback, I would greatly appreciate it as my ultimate goal is to become a video game journalist once I get done with the military in the coming months. My most recent article published is on the front page of BitMob as I write this talking about the positive effects games can have on people along with promoting Ashly Burch's blog How Games Saved My Life. I can't say enough good things about this blog and the incredible stories there. Please give it a read and submit your own story if you have something that fits.

I'm also on Twitter now and I plan to use that for updating about articles, general impressions on games, and other stuff like that. Nothing much going on there right now but once I get back home I'll be using it to engage people more and hopefully building something of a fan base if I'm allowed to use such a term.

Another thing that has kept me busy is a project I'm working on with a friend. We're putting together our own web comic series which I'm writing for and he's taking care of the drawing. Nothing much to show for it right now as we're in the early planning stages but if there's enough interest here once some work begins to surface I'll happily post some of it here to get some feed back.

That's about it for this update, just killing time here in the sand box and should be home some time in mid April hopefully.

Review roundup and other news

by on

So I've been busy writing up some reviews and a few other things. I'll start off with the reviews before getting into the other business.

Crysis

Crysis 2

Mario Kart 7

Sonic: Generations 3D

Still have a few other reviews in the works for Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Crysis: Warhead, The Witcher, Portal 2, and Super Meat Boy are all planned at the moment. Also I'll be reviewing the Playstation Vita abit after it releases since I have mine pre-ordered along with Uncharted: Golden Abyss (this will also be getting reviewed) though I'm not sure what else to pick up at release. After learning about Mod Nation Racers not supporting online play that became a pass for me. At the moment considering Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 but I'm still undecided.

Also I just recently had an article published over on BitMob about the Playstation Vita so I'm pretty stoked about that. Go on and check it out, I promise it is a decent read talking about how the Playstation Vita isn't about to fail over some bad sales and stumbling out the gate.

I'll be posting more stuff over on BitMob as I've decided once I separate from the military later on this year and will be attending school for journalism. Yes I'm going to be making a bold attempt to break into the world of gaming journalism by any means necessary and BitMob is a small stepping stone towards that dream. I know it is still a ways off but I figure now is the time to begin planning for that future and doing everything I can to make sure I can achieve that goal.

That's about it for now, I'll be working on getting the new reviews up along with a few other things so keep your eyes peeled for more soon.

Sam Witwer on The Walking Dead, Frank Darabont, and issues on set

by on

Sam Witwer Interview

So it seems that Frank Darabont had a completely different opening planned for The Walking Dead season two and this was something he had been planning since season one. Sam Witwer has also already been on the show as a zombie in season one, you probably remember him from the scene where Rick climbs into the tank and locks himself inside. The soldier inside is Witwer.

Darabont's original idea revolved around a Blackhawk Down back story on how Atlanta fell to the undead horde. Not only this but it would also feature cameos from other characters who were in Atlanta when it fell and providing some back story to Witwer's character along with the grenade which ultimately saved everyone during the season one finale. Witwer's helicopter was supposed to go down in the city and the first episode would follow their desperate struggle to survive and would end with Witwer being bitten. He would climb into the tank intending to blow himself up before deciding it wasn't worth it and setting the grenade aside. The next time the hatch opened would be Rick during season one trying to escape the zombies and thus tying both stories together.

Witwer went on to explain how Darabont had managed to pull the cast together, many taking serious pay cuts to work on the show with him (and this was the main reason why they took the cuts) and how Darabont hand delivered a prepackaged show for AMC with most of the cast filled out and everyone ready to go to work. AMC cut Darabont's idea for the season two opener due to budget cuts. Witwer said during the interview that Darabont had explained how these budget cuts were making it difficult for him to do the show, the same show which broke records for AMC as the highest rated and pulling in more viewers than any other show on the network outshining both Mad Men and Breaking Bad.

Tensions are also high on the set with cast members fearful they might be fired for speaking out against this as they've been reminded they are on a show about zombies and death can easily happen at any time. Many of these cast members are friends with Darabont and have worked with him on multiple projects before. Darabont was seen just three days before being let go promoting the show at Comic-Con while in good spirits and looking forward to getting to work on season two.

As Witwer explained, this isn't a simple thing of just dropping our support for The Walking Dead as those who were left behind after Darabont departed are doing an outstanding job and deserve the fans' support just as much as before. It is sad that Darabont is no longer on the project, given how much passion he brought to the series, even going as far as writing several episodes himself and working closely with Robert Kirkman.

Hopefully with Kirkman (the creator of the comics) still being involved and the cast still together the show will continue to thrive. We might even get lucky with AMC and they will ease up on the budget cuts. I'm remaining cautiously optemistic about what the future will hold; so far things have been nothing short of amazing with the show. Eagerly I await the return of season two next month to finish the rest of season two.

Just wow... (Update #6 The Saga continues)

by on

So today I happened upon this story over at Penny Arcade and couldn't believe what I was reading. I'm baffled by how a company could treat a customer so poorly and speak in a such a manner. Please give it a read and know that it is worth your time. Then spread the word about this and let other know not to support Ocean Marketing and anything they are backing. Treating their customers like that, talking down, insulting, and even attacking them is unacceptable and as gamers we need to let them know that this sort of thing isn't tolerated because they make a good controller.

So again I ask you to give those emails a read, see how this man treats not only his customer but the guys over at Penny Arcade when they get involved. At the very least we can get this guy fired and correct a very wrong situation. The Avenger N-Controller and XtendPlay does not deserve any support at all from us and I can't imagine anyone siding with Ocean Marketing on this one after looking over this emails.

Spread the word, blog about it, post it on forums, tell your friends, do whatever it takes to make sure these guys don't get any more business.

Thank you for your time.

Update:


So it appears that Paul has been contacted by Gamerfront and is still acting like an ass over this. His overall lack of caring and trying to do the least amount possible to fix this. I'm definitely going to be paying close attention to this to see how the situation evolves with Paul over at Ocean Marketing.

Update 2:

So it seems that not only has the above been going on but also it would see that Ocean Marketing has been ripping off articles from other sources and passing it off as their own. To add more fuel to the fire they are apparently they changed their Twitter name to @OceanStratagy. Their products have been reviewed to hell and back along with their Youtube channel being flooded with hate comments and their videos downvoted into oblivion.

Guess this won't be blowing over any time soon like Paul seems to think. Wonder how much longer he'll be working there?

Update 3:

It would appear that the guys at Penny Arcade have responded as well and personally I found it to be quite funny. It seems that Paul Christoforo is attempting to once again seek pity and give a half hearted apology for his actions. As Gabe points out he doesn't seem truly sorry for what had happened but rather he is sorry for the headache he's having to deal with because of his actions.

Again he uses his family as an excuse and acts as if they are being smeared because of his actions when everything I've seen has been directed towards him and his actions. He was the one who mentioned his family originally and tried to use that as an out for treating his customers like dirt and talking down to everyone.

Gabe doesn't seem the least bit interested in showing this guy any sympathy and personally I'm finding that to be quite funny. Seems Paul has rattled the cage of the beast of the internet and is now feeling the wrath of gamers across the internet.

I hope the hate train keeps rolling on this guy and it doesn't let up anytime soon.

Update 4:

Well it seems that everything is pretty much over for Paul as he and his company have been officially let go. Here's a link to another person who dealt with Paul back in February over similar issues and again this man puts his stupidity on display and acts as if he is a god of some sort. It's amazing how long this man has acted like this and I'm glad it finally blew up in his face.

You'll find in the link that the writer spoke with the inventor of the Avenger and he fired Ocean Marketing over Paul's actions. I'm rather glad how this ended and I hope Paul Christoforo doesn't find work anytime soon in this industry.

Update 5:

So Paul Christoforo has decided to respond to everything going on and it is a pretty poor response. Definitely worth a read though it is obvious he still isn't taking this seriously nor is he actually sorry for what happened. Making claims like he was caught on a bad day or if he knew who he was talking to he would have handled things a little differently just shows he doesn't truly care. How is it a bad day, or his new born son, or the recent death of a friend causing these actions when there are emails with him doing the same stuff from back in February?

It isn't hard to see that he is mostly sorry that he was caught and is losing business. His claims about still having plenty of clients and them just laughing this off I find hard to believe. I couldn't imagine any company out there being ok with these actions and the fact that he is representing their company/products.

End of the story is that he hasn't really learned and doesn't truly care. This isn't going to make anyone stop, if anything it'll only get worse from here.

Suck to be you Paul Christoforo.

Update 6:

It gets worse, just when you thought it couldn't it did. Paul Christoforo is now holding emails and accounts for N-Control hostage in an attempt to force his way back into the company. You heard/read correctly. He's actually refusing to return control to N-Control and their partners thinking they will give him a contract on his terms and for as long as the company exists.

Shame too (not really) after Kotaku published an article defending Paul Christoforo against everything and showing that he is something of a victim here. Apparently not considering his actions after everything was said and done.

Have fun burning alive Christoforo, at least you are providing quite abit of entertainment for everyone.

The Walking Dead Season 2 Review (Episodes 1-7)

by on

Welcome back for more The Walking Dead. I know I'm a little slow getting this one out the door (and that I never wrapped things up with Season 1) but better late than never right? Obviously this is going to contain some huge spoilers as I will be discussing some major plot points in this season and also doing some minor comparisons to the comics. So you've been warned!

WARNING! POTENTIAL SPOILERS MAY BE FOUND BELOW! READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!

WARNING! POTENTIAL SPOILERS MAY BE FOUND BELOW! READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!

WARNING! POTENTIAL SPOILERS MAY BE FOUND BELOW! READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!

Season 2 opens just after the events of season 1 with the CDC being destroyed and offering a brief recap of the events that lands the group where they are now. Rick is giving one last final attempt to contact Morgan over the radio, a speech which is an attempt to give Morgan (or anyone else listening) hope for survival. However the more Rick went on it became obvious he wasn't trying to give others hope; he was giving himself hope. The group was moving on from Atlanta and there was no looking back as they packed everything they could and hit the road in hopes of finding safety. This is when season 2 lets us know that it still intends to do its own thing and I couldn't have been happier with the results.


After a break down on the RV the group finds themselves stranded on the freeway in a graveyard of abandoned cars. As everyone spreads out to look for supplies while repairs begin on the RV it isn't long before things go south. We get our first glimpse of a "herd" or massive pack of zombies just roaming along. The following events brought me to the edge of my seat as everyone scrambles to hide, parents split up from their children, others caught completely off guard, some are totally unaware until it is almost too late, and the worst part is most have to watch silently what is happening around them. T-Dog nearly winds up dead as he cuts his arm open falling against some vehicle wreckage though rescue comes from the most unlikely source, Daryl. Despite what happened last season Daryl steps in and saves T-Dog who is bleeding out and unable to save himself. It's a moment where we get a really good look that Daryl isn't his brother Meryl who would have left them all for dead than risk his own life to save them.

Things only get worse as Andrea is attacked on the RV, barely able to save herself thanks to Dale slipping her a screwdriver that is put to excellent use. The most heart wrenching moment comes when Sophia is attacked and her mother Carroll looks on, unable to do anything as Laurie holds her back. Rick is the only one who acts when Sophia makes a break into the woods leaving everyone else behind now that most of the herd has passed. This is the kind of man Rick is though, thinking of what he'd want someone to do if that were his child being chased by two walkers, wanting to save everyone, taking on all the burdens while others simply stand by no doubt frozen with free.

The Walking Dead Season 2 from here takes a massive detour from the comics and spends most of the time telling its own tale while giving nods to the comics in various locations and characters. Nearly everything has been re-imagined in some form or another this time around though these are changes that I, a long time fan of the comics, more than welcomed and actually helped to draw me into the story. This isn't the same Walking Dead I know and love, the same Walking Dead I've been reading for year, no this version is a whole new beast and one I'm loving every moment of.

Rick manages to catch up with Sophia in the woods, getting to her before the walkers do but he makes a quick decision to have her hide while he lures the walkers away. Sophia watches as Rick takes off with two walkers hot on his heels, all in an attempt to save her life. However despite him telling her to stay put and he'd be back for her, she gets up and tries to find her way back. After Rick dispatches the two walkers he returns to find her gone and the rest of the first half of season 2 is spent looking for her.

It is truly a somber experience watching each day go by and they don't find her, all the while Rick doing his best to keep the hope alive that Sophia is still alive. Carroll is obviously depressed and fearing the worst though again Daryl surprises us with his determination to find Sophia as he often strikes out on his own looking for or assisting Rick. It's amazing to watch his character grow as he tries his best to fit into the group and contribute what he can; it's a drastic change from season 1. Daryl's changes make sense though, as he realizes this isn't something he can survive on his own and he needs them just as much as they need him. It is details like this that truly help the audience (or at least me) believe what is going on around them and that they truly are in a desperate struggle to survive.

It is during the search for Sophia we see a nod to the comics as Rick, Shane, and Carl happen upon a deer. Rick watches on as Carl is captivated by the deer, slowly wandering closer while the deer seems completely unaware of him. A rare moment of happiness as you can visibly see it gives Rick hope for the future seeing his son smile and get to be a little boy. Things are cut short though when a bullet rips through the deer's chest and strikes Carl in the stomach leaving Rick to watch in horror as his boy falls to the ground. In the comics we saw Carl get shot though he was mistaken for a walker by Otis, the same person who shot him in the show.

My heart was right there with Rick as he scooped Carl up and instead of attacking Otis, who instead of being a skinny red headed man is now fat and much older than his comic counter-part, is told where there is a farm near by that can help him. Watching Rick run with Carl, urging him to stay with him, was another deeply sad moment as you are pulling for Rick to make it there on time. Carl's lifeless body bouncing in his arms, the only thing keeping pressure on the wound is a belt, and then we get our first glimpse of the Hershel's farm in the distance and the family it contains. We also get another reminder that times have changed as the first question Hershel asks is "Was he bit?" before he even attempts to offer any help.

Hershel is able to stabilize Carl though he has internal bleeding and five bullet fragments inside him which require an operation to remove. This sends Shane and Otis to a near by town to get the medical supplies Hershel needs to save Carl's life. In a rare moment of weakness we see Rick unsure of what to do next and his need for Laurie could not shine through any stronger. Telling Shane that he needs to go get his wife only to have Shane tell him he needs to stay for Carl. The moment really gives you a sense of the deep friendship they share, even if everything has fallen apart around them. In Rick's weakness Shane steps up and takes control, leaving everyone behind except Otis on a supply run.

Meanwhile the others are completely unaware of what has happened to Carl and they are still looking for Sophia. Andrea finds herself under attack from a walker but before anyone else can react Maggie rides up on a horse, saving Andrea's life before swooping up Laurie in a rush and hurrying back to the farm with only quick instructions left on how to get there. The others are left to pick themselves up and continue the hike back to the freeway to get what they need to make it to the farm.

Soon Rick has his wife by his side and the wait begins for Shane and Otis to return with the supplies. Each minute that passes brings Carl a moment closer to death and the only option would be for Hershel to perform the operation without a ventilator which would keep Carl alive while under. The group decides to spend the evening on the freeway so they can leave a message behind for Sophia as well as gather up more supplies. Daryl continues to refuse to give up, even going out at night to look for Sophia, giving us a look of the heart of gold under his rough exterior.

At first things go smoothly for the newly formed team of Shane and Otis, they work well together and manage to slip past a large group of zombies to get into the medical trailer outside the high school. After a few minutes inside they have all that they need and more though once they leave things quickly go south for the pair. The flares that had been used to distract the zombies have gone out and now all their attention is on Shane and Otis. Quickly they take off towards the school and find a massive group of walkers right on their trail. Sticking together is key for their survival though it becomes apparent that their physical differences mean they might have to find their own ways out. They find themselves trapped onto of the bleachers in the gym, Shane suggesting they go for some windows near by but Otis knows he won't fit. Formulating a plan for Otis to draw them away, knowing a better way out for himself, they agree and set everything in motion.

Otis makes his get away and Shane does the same, though jumping from the window leaves him with a sprained ankle. All seems lost when Otis doesn't turn up at first, a good chunk of the supplies have been lost and Shane doesn't know his way through the town or how to get back. Luckily Otis turns up, alive and well, having managed to slip past the zombies and actually saves Shane's life in the process who is on the verge of being overrun. Exhaustion overwhelming them they trot down a street, a massive group 20 yards behind them and gaining, the realization setting in that they might not make it.

Jump forward a little later and we find out only Shane survived, as he returns alone with all the supplies and we are told Otis died a hero. Later on we find out what really happened as they have a small ceremony for Otis's grieving wife Patrica and Shane is asked to say a few words, to tell them how he died. Shane lies saying he gave his life to save Carl, in hopes of making up for shooting him though the reality is far worse. We truly see Shane for the monster that he is as we rejoin the pair on their run for safety. They hastily exchange words about the situation before Shane says sorry and fires his last shot into Otis's knee, crippling him. Shane struggles to get the supplies from Otis, who fights to his last breath to take Shane down with him for his treachery. It isn't hard to see Shane would easily overpower him and moments after he is limping his way to safety.

Otis was needlessly sacrificed for Shane, left behind for the zombies to fed on and distract them so Shane could slip away. It's a grim moment and truly showcases how far gone Shane is from the man he used to be. The others are unaware of this and though it haunts Shane to some degree, we also see a major change in him as he becomes much more driven for survival.

Things continue to spiral out of control despite Carl's recovery. Hershel doesn't want the group to stay, Rick finds out Laurie is pregnant with Shane's child, Sophia still hasn't been found, and worst yet the barn on Hershel's farm is full of walkers. Friends, family members (including his wife and son), and other random people are in there whom Hershel believes to be merely sick and can be cured/returned to normal. A huge divide suddenly forms in the group as Rick is willing to work with Hershel on the issue, even willing to help him put two more walkers inside all in hopes of his group staying so Laurie can have a safe place to bring their new baby into the world.

Shane has different plans though, after days of guarding the barn he finally snaps and decides it is time for something to be done and takes charge himself. Arming the group up with weapons he discovers Rick aiding Hershel in bringing two more walkers to the barn and obviously isn't happy with Rick's decision. In a moment of madness he unloads a pistol into the walker Hershel is leading, hoping to show Hershel that these aren't human anymore and can't be saved. Hershel doesn't budge on his position so Shane offs the walker and turns his attention to the barn leaving Hershel devasted by the murder he believes he just witnessed.

Breaking the barn door open Shane unleashes a flood of the undead upon them, forcing everyone to gun them down right in front of Hershel who still believes they are people who can be saved. Everything is now in ruins and Hershel is devasted though we finally learn Sophia's fate as she is the last to come shambling out. Carroll is crushed, the others are stunned, and you can literally feel their hope giving way to the reality of what has happened. No one is able to do anything as she moves out into the open though again Rick is the one to act when the others would not. Stepping forward he puts the bullet in her head that finally ends her time on this world.

The emotional impact of this moment is huge, everyone had their hopes pinned on finding her. Now they realize how truly powerless they are, how one thing can lead to this and that none of them are safe.

Season 2 didn't hold any punches, hasn't skimped on the gore, and delivered an amazing experience in its first half. I realize I skipped over various parts throughout the season; couldn't spoil it all for you now could I? Despite the massive departure from the comic, even killing a character (Sophia) who is still alive in the comic, I loved every moment so far. It does an amazing job at keeping me interested, on the edge of my seat, and in some ways scared for these characters and what their future might be. With Sophia's death we realize that no one is really safe, this isn't the same tale as the comics though it follows a similar path.


I can't really attach a number value or a letter grade to what I've seen so far though what I can say is go watch it. It is difficult (in my opinion) to rate something like this because it does such a wonderful job that I feel attaching any sore of score does it an injustice. My complaints aren't really there, the story flowed incredibly well, the characters developed nicely, and things are progressing at a great rate. I can't wait for things to see where things go from here when it picks back up in February. Where it leaves off is truly bone chilling knowing what the comics contain and what the show has done.

So that's it from me, I hope you enjoyed this rather long read and again I can't if you enjoy the show I can't give the comics enough praise. Check them out because they are more than worth it and won't really spoil the story that is being told here. Yes you might have some idea but as I said above the show is making it clear they are more than willing to break off and do their own thing, even spending majority of season 2 in a story arc which never occurred in the comics.

I leave you now with some parting words from Rick: