Finally the second episode of The Walking Dead is released, only a month late but late enough to annoy plenty of people. This is the episodic game had ties in with the comic book of the same name, nothing really to do with the impressive AMC series also of the same name. If you’ve yet to pick up the first episode check out this review; you don’t want to read this one as spoilers for the previous episode will be given out.
Set three months after the end of the first episode we see Lee and the gang of survivors still staying in the motel they found last time. Things haven’t been going smoothly however, the group is starving, the food is almost run out and tensions are rung high between all of the members of the group. Then salvation comes a knocking, two farmers in search of fuel stumble across our rag-tag band in exchange for food, but will reaching that food be as easy as it sounds?
While the first episode of the series focused more on event of the dead rising, walking around, and attempting to eat you, this episode is more about the characters. It becomes more political, you’re stuck in a Motel slowing starving to death with two people that want to lead the group. So it’s only natural that this would be more about whose side you’re on as the camp naturally starts to fragment. Early on in the game you’ve been given the task of handing out food, you’ve got four pieces of food and ten hungry people. Who you choose affects your standing among the group, do you feed the kids? Well they won’t be doing any of the work around here but, they’re kids! Do you feed Larry, the Jerk that punched you in the face and left you to die to zombies? Well he’s strong and doing a lot of work around her, so maybe it’s best to keep him fed. Do you feed yourself? Maybe you can keep going without food but maybe that’ll mean you’re too weak to fend off the zombies, and feeding yourself would also mean people in the group looking down on you.
Also now the way you treat people really starts to affect how they react to you, not just in conversation but in actions. Did you side with Kenny back when Duck was being threatened? Did you feed his family and did you take his side in the arguments over food? Well if you did when you’re wrestling for your life Kenny will jump to the aid of his friend who’s cared for him and his family. If you didn’t; well Kenny might just stand there and watch as you vainly struggle for your life. This follows over to other characters too, did you treat Larry like a jerk, did you side with Lily…well whether you did or didn’t that is going to affect how they react around you too.
This of this isn’t to say that it’s all about conversations and waiting around for everybody to chew off their own tongue. There are plenty of action sequences and in this episode it felt like more was at stake than the previous title. Which seems pretty silly as you at risk of everybody dying in the last episode too but here, that angle is brought to the forefront.
There are some minor issues with the game though. Firstly the puzzles are very easy, even when they’re not on a strict time-limit. At one point you’re tasked to repair something and then Lee tells you what you need to find. Wasn’t much need for that; as it was optional task and there are only a finite number of thing you can observe in the area you’re currently stuck in. Also the sound sync seems to be really off, it was slightly off in the first episode but in this one there are a few cases when it’s really quite jarring how bad it is. Finally I would be amiss if I didn’t mention that a lot of people are having problems with choices from Episode 1 linking up with Episode 2, I personally haven’t experienced any problems but you’ve been warned.
This episode is a perfect follow up to episode one (well a month late it better be), providing back story, fantastic dialogue, an engaging narrative, choices that matter, action, mystery and gore. I’m wondering how Telltale Games will top this one; I’m also wondering how much longer I’ll have to wait until Episode 3. So if you enjoyed Episode 1 you definitely need to pick this one up too.