Published on July 11th, 2012 | by CoreySA0
The Walking Dead: #2 – Starved for Help Review
Walking Dead Ep. 2 Review
Summary: Telltale Games has to be commended for their superior knowledge of Kirkman's story and understanding of The Walking Dead lore. It handles the fiction with a genius series that continues to impress and improve.
Best $5 Value Ever!
After critical acclaim for Telltale’s incredible first episode (see the MGP review here), many wondered if they could top the amazing dynamic they introduced in A New Day which blended character development and the ability to make several different moral and ethical choices that would change the landscape of your playing experience. Rest assured that not only does this dynamic improve, but it carries some of the very best story telling I’ve ever played in a video game.
It’s been three months since Telltale’s protagonist Lee Everett and Clementine – the little girl he’s been protecting in the midst of the zombie apocalypse – settled in with a group of fellow survivors in a barricaded motel. Although they have out-lasted the increasing zombie population, food has become scarce, tensions and attitudes are on the rise and a battle for who is the group’s leader has broken out between strong-willed Lilly (Larry’s daughter) who controls the rations and Kenny who at the end of A New Day, was ready to leave for the coast with his family.
That’s about as far as I’m going to take the story, as it is something that everyone should experience for themselves and to avoid spoilers. One thing that must be mentioned is that there are several choices that carry over from the first episode, even if some aren’t readily noticeable. For instance, depending if you kept Doug alive (which according to Telltale – most didn’t) or Carley, the fence at the motel you’re shacked up in will have different fortification. The motel will also look different depending if you gave Irene the gun or not in the motel scene from Episode 1. Characters also bring over their feelings towards you and have opinions of you at the start of the second episode.
What makes this series so great is the fact that each choice made comes with consequences and each option feels weighted and leaves a resonating impact. As I said in our Episode 1 review - Exploring each scene and interacting with each character is layered in choice and morality. Conversation, again, plays a huge part in the game. The Walking Dead has never really been about the zombies, but more so the characters and how their relationships change in desperate situations – something that Telltale nails to perfection, even better than the television series.
There are some gripping moments in Starved for Help - some of the very best I’ve had in any interactive experience. In fact, there is one moment in particular (no spoilers), that made me feel something I’ve never felt in a game before – regret. That specific moment that had so many emotions tied to it – hurt, regret, anger, relief – that I literally had to pause the game and think about what I did. It carried so much weight that it will change the way I play the rest of the series. It was so brilliantly done that I had to question if this was even a $5 game. There hasn’t been one retail title that has resonated with me in some of the ways that The Walking Dead has so far.
Another area that Telltale has excelled at thus far is how characters change and develop throughout the episodes. At the end of the first episode, I had specific favorites and people I hated. By the end of Episode 2, my feelings had completely changed on some characters, some of which flipped totally. I am guessing this will happen many times during The Walking Dead’s 5 episode series.
One area of concern is that this episode shares the same issue as its previous one – some pretty hefty choppiness in areas. At some points, audio will cut in and out, the game will freeze at the beginning and end of scenes and it can lag at some points overall. As I said in our first review – these issues don’t hinder the overall experience and outstanding story, but it would be nice to see Telltale clean this up before Episode 3, even if it took a bit of a delay to get it out. Having these issues can really take you out of the experience at times and hurt the flow of intense moments – even causing me to die at one point.
Telltale Games has to be commended for their superior knowledge of Kirkman’s story and understanding of The Walking Dead lore. It handles the fiction with a genius series that continues to impress and improve. As a $5 stand-alone episode, I’ve played the roughly two and a half hour adventure three separate times. Re-playing games is something I normally don’t do, but the story is so well done that I feel as if I have to have multiple saves just to see the different interweaving story-lines and choices. If Telltale can fix up some of its choppiness or patch current episodes, this could stand alone as one of the very best adventure series’ I’ve ever played by the end of Episode 5. What’s even more exciting is that Telltale has announced that more Walking Dead is on its way after the original series is over. I highly recommend picking this up if you haven’t already, and for us here at MGP – we are counting the days until Episode 3.
A Copy of The Walking Dead’s PSN Season Pass was given to us by Telltale Games for the purpose of this, and Episode 1-5′s reviews.