By Steve Wright
GAME NAME: The Walking Dead Episode 2: Starved for Help
DEVELOPER(S): Telltale Games
PUBLISHER(S): Telltale Games
PLATFORM(S): PC, Xbox 360, PS3
RELEASE DATE(S): 27 June 2012
First off, this is the weirdest review I’ll ever have to write. Where to begin? If you’re reading this and haven’t read our Walking Dead “Episode 1” review -– or played the game, for that matter –- that’s obviously a great place to start. Go there. If you have read our review, or played the first installment of this adventure series, then you already know what to expect from the game and its mechanics. Telltale hasn't reinvented the wheel this time around.
“Episode 2: Starved for Help” adds some new characters to your group right off the bat, and then transitions very quickly to a story that focuses on finding food and fending off attacks from human bandits rather than scary zombies. From the get-go of this episode, you'll have to make a tough decision that's followed by gruesome consequences, no matter what you choose. It's a nice reminder that the game isn't pulling any punches and none of your main characters are safe...just like in The Walking Dead comics and television show.
Story-wise, it’s nice that Telltale isn’t just ignoring the fact that there are some essential survival basics that go beyond “destroy the brain.” However, the problem with this new story is that its plot is very predictable once you move from the familiar motel to the new set-piece of the St John Dairy Farm. I found myself going through the motions, wishing I could just knock some sense into my characters' heads. Knowing for a majority of the game that I was playing right into the antagonist’s hands caused me quite a bit of frustration.
In the end, the game is about choice and consequence; I can forgive Telltale for a bit of sloppy storytelling after what became a brutally tense endgame. Without getting into too much of the plot itself, there were another grouping of extremely tough decisions in the end, leading right into the final seconds of the episode. The final decision looks like it pay a huge part in the next episode of the game as well.
Now, at times during “Episode 1,” I wasn’t sure what to do and was perplexed by segments of the game that simply weren't logical. This time around, Telltale Games have improved on those unusual segments...but too much. The entire game's now a bit TOO straightforward. “Episode 2” is now at a point where you can literally just watch most of what is transpiring. It’s not until the end of the game that your input truly matters. That's not a huge criticism, to be honest -- predicability aside, I am enjoying the story that's playing out in this title.
Who will love this game? Those fans of survival stories, adventure games, zombies and of course The Walking Dead in its comic or TV form. It’s an easy sell, really – so strap in and enjoy the ride.
(Oh, and head over to our forums where you can see what other players did in their own playthroughs!)