Turns Out Your Not The Only Ones Starved For Help

The Walking Dead: Episode Two is a incredible thrill ride that places you back into the shoes of Lee Everett; a convicted criminal with a shady past and a conflicted future. The choices from your first time with Lee in episode one come back in a variety of ways, and while the game doesn't introduce any new mechanics or game-play features, it sure as hell crafts a story and underlying theme that will keep you on the edge of your seat for the whole ride down. 

Episode Two of the Walking Dead series starts off by placing you, Lee Everett, in the middle of a forest hunting for food with your comrade Mark; a new member of the group that you found holed up in a military air force base with a large quantity of food. In the three months that have gone by since we last visited our little group of survivors, things have pretty much gone to hell. Your stockpile of food is running low, tension within the group is rising, and things just keep going from bad, to worse.

As your hunting, you encounter a couple of band students and their teacher, who "accidentally" got stuck in a bear trap. His screams of pain attract the attention of some nearby walkers, who quickly start making their way to the scene. Now your stuck with a couple of teenage students who think your a bandit, an impending armada of zombie walkers, and a man who's only hope of escape is in your hands. With the right mind-set, and the right choices, you can either calm the boys and free the man, leave the man to die and take the boys back with you, or tell them its not your problem and walk away. Depending on how you handle this situation, different outcomes will emerge and have an impact on your story for this episode and for future episodes. 

And that is simply one of the choices you'll make during this roller-coaster of an episode, and your forced into that situation without more then five minutes of game-play behind you. Which is one of the main selling points of this series; tough decisions that force you into situations your not exactly sure how to handle. The entire game so far has been a gray area; choosing who to save and who to die, who to side with and who not to side with. You don't know the right choice; and that's because there isn't one. The right choice is simply YOUR choice. This mechanic has been prevalent in gaming, but usually you never see the far-reaching consequences of your actions. Series's like Mass Effect, Fallout, and The Witcher fully flesh out this mechanic to its fullest extent, which is why their such gaming dynamos. Players feel the weight of their actions, and react accordingly. Instead of just mindlessly shooting at whatever moves, the player sits and thinks about what the right thing to do is, and when they see the consequence, or their reward, from that choice further down the road, their simply forced to deal with what choices they've made. And that is what is going to keep people coming back to The Walking Dead; to see how different playthroughs play out, and what would happen if they choose to do this instead of that. This is where The Walking Dead really shines. 

Game-play wise, the game still functions as a point-and-click adventure. You'll collect items, use them to solve puzzles and mysteries, and smash zombies to bits with several mashes to the same button on your controller. Nothing has changed between episodes, but its still an enjoyable experience. It isn't a strong point of the game, but its just one of those things you deal with. 

Another point I want to bring up is character interaction. What I find to be quite unique about the Walking Dead is that all conversations have a countdown timer, that gives you a certain amount of time to answer before your character says nothing. This puts quite a bit of pressure on the player, and forces them to make important decisions within the small time frame they are given. But it's not just all the big important decisions that matter; its the little things too. If you have your HUD working at full capacity, then the game will tell you when certain characters make a point about what you said or did and remember that for the rest of the game. So much as offering food to someone and caring a little bit about their past can go a long way, and could earn you their loyalty when your own life is on the line. 

All in all, while Episode Two doesn't bring anything new to the table, it further solidifies the Walking Dead's presence in gaming, expands on a colorful cast of characters, weighs in your decisions from the previous episode, and takes you on one of the greatest Joy-Rides in this generation of gaming. It'll last you a good four-to-seven hours depending on whether or not you decide complete every little thing, and trying out the episode with different choices just to see how everything turns out completely increases the replay value of the game. If your a fan of the first episode, you won't be disappointed. Telltale has proven itself once again that it plans on taking full advantage of its Walking Dead license, and has showed us that The Walking Dead is still well alive and kicking.