Starved for help.
It’s been over two months since the first of five episodes in The Walking Dead game was released, and this week we finally get to play Episode Two. Being a game heavy on choice and consequence, Episode Two is going to play differently depending on what choices you made in the first one, and I was ready to face my consequences.
This review will focus solely on the content in Episode Two, but you can read Scott’s review of Episode One here to learn more about the game in general.
The Walking Dead Episode Two “Starved For Help” picks up three months after the end of Episode One, where the survivors decided to set up camp at the Motel. During those three months they managed to fortify the perimeter of the Motel, meet a new survivor named Mark, get dangerously close to running out of food and most importantly, stay alive. Episode Two has the characters struggling with fatigue and hunger, and fighting over who should lead the group and make the decisions that affect them all. The major plot line in this episode is that Lee and the gang meet up with some new survivors who offer food and shelter in return for their help. The question is whether you can trust them or not and are their motives what they say they are? Lee is caught in the middle of everything and it’s up to you to decide how things play out.
Starved for Help digs deeper into the characters and the moral choices they have to make and is less about zombies than Episode One, although they still make appearances. The game, and other characters, will push and challenge you to make these decisions and live with the repercussions. Can you decide who gets food and who doesn’t? Can you decide who lives and who dies? Will you kill someone who is on the brink of death and will then turn into a zombie or try to save them? Those are the types of choices you’ll have to make in Episode Two, and it only gets harder the more you get to know the rest of the group. Some will agree with your choices and some won’t, and you really start to see them change due to this in Episode Two.
The pacing in Episode Two is slower, with much more dialogue than Episode One, but it does feature more blood and gore in some really brutal scenes. It builds an uneasy feeling in both you and Lee as you play through it trying to figure out if you made the right decisions and if everything is what it seems. Did you trust the right people or did you put the group in harm’s way? The linear part of the story will have you asking these questions the entire time, and even if some of it may be obvious to you, it still builds tension the entire way, with plenty of new twists and turns along the way that will shape the rest of the game. The Walking Dead is full of replay value, and Episode Two only adds to this and has already made me want to replay through both episodes again to see how different things can get. I think I’ll wait until all five episodes are out so I can see it from start to finish in a different way, but if Episode Three takes as long to come out as Episode Two did than I may have to start over earlier than I would have liked.
The Walking Dead game is a very personal experience. I find myself siding with Kenny more often, probably due to the fact that he is doing what he thinks is right to protect his family, and having kids myself in real life, I would be doing the exact same thing. The problem is that, playing as Lee, I find myself torn between doing what I would do if it was me and what I think Lee would do. Sure he has Clementine to look after, but she’s not his child, so do you do what is best for Lee or what is best for Lee and Clementine? It’s up to you to decide and shape what happens, and that is what I love about this game.
There are still a few things such as bad voice overs during cut scenes and having to do certain actions multiple times during the same sequence that remind you that The Walking Dead is still a video game and break you from the experience. Some of the dialogue is cheesy and that’s fine with me, but the frequent delays in what you see and what you hear really bugs me. When the game is sucking you in and all you can see is bad lip syncing, it ruins it a little bit. Hopefully Telltale are aware of this and are actively working on making things better in Episode Three.
There are no multiplayer or cooperative modes in The Walking Dead.
The Walking Dead Episode Two: Starved for Help is a slower, more human portion of the game that will force you to make some really tough moral choices, and live with your decisions. It has less action overall than Episode One, but ends in a flurry of chaos that will leave you wanting more right then and there. Episode One was good, but Episode Two is what really got me into the game. I’ve come to like certain characters more than others now, and it’s much harder to make decisions that I feel are for the good of the group, but that they disagree with. I always figured myself to be someone who could make these tough calls if the zombie apocalypse actually happened in real life, but The Walking Dead is starting to show me that it’s not as easy as I thought.
Release Date: June 27th, 2012
Price: 400 MS Points ($4.99)
Available On: XBLA, PSN, PC