It seems like I’ve been waiting forever for the second installment in TellTale Games’ Walking Dead series. It’s only been two months, but the first episode was so riveting that I couldn’t wait to get seconds. After all, Lee’s horrifying decisions aren’t going to make themselves. I’d be lying, though, if I said that a part of me wasn’t worried that the game would use all of the momentum from the first game to fall flat on its face. Which part was right? Well, I certainly wasn’t disappointed.
I’m not going to waste my time or yours breaking down the pros and cons of Walking Dead‘s gameplay, because it’s virtually identical to the original game. If you’re curious, here’s my review of the initial episode. Instead, I’ll focus on what’s new.
Starved for Help brings a whole new set of awful situations to Clementine, Lee, and the rest of the ragtag group of survivors. Taking place three months after the initial episode, the group has begun to run out of food. Low on rations and terrified of bandits, they’re forced to decide whether or not to take help from a family who owns a dairy farm nearby.
Needless to say, things go bad. In fact, they get so bad that some moments are almost sickening. As a fan of the Walking Dead comic series, I’m not a squeamish person. Even so, this episode got to me a few times. If games affect you or disgust you, this may be a series to skip out on.
The pacing in Starved for Help is excellent. It’s not as fast-paced as the previous, but the set-ups to the events that eventually unfold are stellar. There’s a feeling of unease that is held throughout the entire episode, making the downward spiral that much more affecting.
Your decisions from the previous chapter actually do matter. Make no mistake about that. It will be interesting to watch how this series progresses, but there are already tangible differences depending on the choices you made. It makes life and death decisions that much more powerful when you’re forced to actually live on without those characters. It makes the game that much replayable, as well.
It should definitely be noted that there more graphical glitches throughout the game than the previous episode. It’s enough to occasionally break the immersion of the experience, but it never breaks the game. It’s unfortunate that the episodic scheduling of these games leads to games that could use a bit more polish, but when the game itself is so stunning it’s easy to look over.
[+New Story] [+Well Written] [+Old Decisions Matter] [+Great Pacing] [-Graphical Glitches Throughout]
At five dollars per episode, it’s hard to find any more value than you’ll find here. Clocking in at about two hours, I can’t deny that those couple of hours have been the highlight of my month. It’s certainly not all happiness and smiles, but it’s incredibly engrossing. Some may find the dollars to hours ratio a bit too high, but I’m glad they don’t overstay their welcome.
If you’ve ever been a fan of adventure games, you know that they’re not widely known for their replay value. Walking Dead seeks to change that. With a few major decisions in each installment, there are already myriad different ways for the game to play out.
[+Five Dollars] [+Replayable] [*Only Two Hours Long]
Look. I love Walking Dead. I may not be a fan of the show, but the comics are some of my favorite things ever. I approached this series reticently, knowing that this was a big departure for TellTale and I’ve come away from both episodes blown away. This is purely fantastic story telling with some of the best examples of “grey” decision making I’ve come across so far. I love these games and the wait for Episode 3 is already killing me.
[+New Story] [+Well Written] [+Old Decisions Matter] [+Great Pacing] [+Five Dollars] [+Replayable] [*Only Two Hours Long] [-Graphical Glitches Throughout]