The Walking Dead: Episode 2 – Starved For Help [Review]

 

  • Platform: XBLA(reviewed), PSN, PC
  • Published by: Telltale Games
  • Developed by: Telltale Games
  • Genre: Survival Horror
  • ESRB Rating: M For Mature
  • Number of Players: 1
  • Release Date: June 27th, 2012

There is no doubt that The Walking Dead Episode 1 was a huge success, there was quite the build up for the game and it quickly became Telltale Games best-selling game to date. The first game left everyone wanting more, we knew we would get more in the series eventually, but I doubt anyone thought it would take a full two months before the second episode would see release. Given the success of the first entry into the series, I thought that there would be a little more heads up when the second chapter was about to release, I actually didn’t realize the game was releasing until it released. I think that in and of itself was unexpected and might end up hampering the sales a bit of the second episode. The two month wait for this latest episode might also cause some people to have to go back and play through the first chapter all over again for a quick refresher. So, does Episode 2 live up to the lofty expectations laid by Episode 1?

As everyone knows I don’t like to give out spoilers in my reviews, I can however say that Starved For Help deals a bit more in the human reaction to crisis. That is not to say that zombies don’t play their part, it’s just we get a chance to see how people react and deal with different situations and we get a chance to see what humans will do to survive. All the choices you made in the first episode carry over to this one, which is a really great addition, you can actually have a couple of fairly different playthroughs if you so choose to do so. I absolutely didn’t think it was possible for the second episode to outdo the first in the gore factor, but I was wrong, Starved For Help is definitely gory, sick and at times scary.

 

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Episode 2 picks up some time later and we see our survivors are managing to stay alive, but are in danger from starvation, dead is dead, whether it be from zombie or hunger. With that in mind, tough choices are made and there is a power struggle within the camp, the choices you made in the first episode, along with the loyalty you’ve earned play a very important part in what happens in this episode. You might be tempted to stay neutral, but eventually you will have to choose a side and surprisingly, that side might not be outright good or bad. That is one of the interesting things with this chapter in the series, there isn’t necessarily right or wrong, so it makes the decisions that you have to make throughout the game all the tougher.

The story itself is what has impressed me the most with the first two episodes of this series, considering they are survival horror video games, I’ve been very pleasantly surprised at how interested and caught up I became with the story. I would finish one section and then I’d forge right into the next section just to see how it’d turn out. So far this series has been an equal to the television series and the comics, both always leave you wanting more and that is very, very important. The best thing about the story is that it can actually go on for a while, so I could see Telltale Games finishing with this particular story line and then going directly into the next, it could even be a totally different group of survivors, there is definitely a lot of ground to cover and this series has done a great job of portraying a great story that people can get into and understand pretty quickly.

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The graphics are obviously the same style as the first episode and that’s a very good thing indeed, I love the art direction and think it really gives Telltale a chance to do a lot of different things. The controls work really well and respond with ease, I like that even though this is a point and click game at its core, it is also a true survival horror story as well. It seems to mash-up different elements from different horror games and when you mix them together you end up with something pretty impressive. Basically what I’m saying is that in a bloated genre, lets face it zombies and survival horror have been done to death (haha!), Telltale Games manages to give us a fresh take on the genre and keep us all interested in what will happen next.

While I loved this episode, I probably liked the story and gore more in this one than the first one, I have to deduct a little something because there is a part later on in the game, you’ll most likely think its a game breaking glitch, I spent over an hour trying to get past this part before I came across a forum post explaining what the problem was. It’s difficult to tell you what the issue is without giving away plot details, but you will get to a part where your stuck and wont know what to do, you’ll want to press the X button on the Xbox 360 controller in order to force dialog, even when they aren’t giving you the option. I am sure there are FAQs and YouTube videos that can help you out more if you can’t seem to get past this particular part in the game. Overall, this frustrating part doesn’t take away from the solid experience of the game as a whole, and for $5 or 400 Microsoft Points, you can’t really go wrong. My main hope for the future installments is that they don’t wait two more months before the releasing the next episode in the series. I forget a lot of what I chose in the first episode and so I decided to play through the first one and then the second one back to back. This took me around five hours, which is impressive when you consider that a lot of full priced AAA titles don’t have stories that last that long. I highly recommend this title, if you bought the first game and enjoyed it, or if you enjoy the comics or television show, you’ll really enjoy these as well.

FINAL SCORE: 9/10

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