Why the limited choices and ending are perfect
This game isn't just the best I've ever played, it's amongst the best experiences I've had with art. I've heard meaningful songs, seen meaningful films, but rarely have I been lucky enough to have experienced a game like this.
The film critic Roger Ebert has said many times that video games can never be art, and though I flat out disagree with him, I agree with one of the reasons he gives as his justification: he says something along the lines of "if the user can influence the outcome then the narrative isn't something chosen by the work's creators and hence, has no real meaning."
I'm paraphrasing, but I agree with what he's getting at, even if I can think of plenty of examples that prove him wrong.
The way The Walking Dead balances the ideas of "freedom of choice" with "meaningful story arc" is perfect: you get to basically write the dialogue to the game/movie/TV show as you're playing it. You influence the supporting characters' feelings and actions by your own choices, and even some important character choices for Lee (will he cut his arm off, will he be considerate, selfish, ambivalent, etc...) but there's no influence over the ultimate narrative arc. Lee is gonna end up dead/zombified no matter what we do. And that's the way it ought to be.
The (extremely talented) writers of this game crafted a beautiful story around Lee and Clementine and to have allowed the player to have Lee survive would absolutely have compromised the emotional impact of the whole journey. The first shot of Lee in the game is of his hands, cuffed together in the back of the police car. The last time we see him, his hand is cuffed again, but our feelings about him are very different now. There's a kind of poetry to that storytelling that is beautiful and highly sophisticated and simply wouldn't exist at all if we could simply avoid that scenario or have him escape his fate.
Basically what I'm getting at is I see lots of people complaining about the lack of real control over the outcome and fate of the characters (which is totally justified if that's the experience you're looking for in a game) but for me, I saw the experience more like watching a movie with a gripping story and powerful ending, where I was lucky enough to be able to influence some of the events and characters along the way. And in that respect, the game is perfect.
I hope that Season Two is just as well written with characters just as compelling and a narrative just as perfect, where our influence over the events will not ultimately effect the outcome of the plot. Additionally, I really hope that we are introduced to some entirely new characters rather than seeing Clementine return. Lee and Clementine's story is told, and it was told wonderfully. To elaborate on what happens to Clementine now is up to each of us in our imaginations. Lee never got to find out what happens to her, so neither should we.