The lights are on
I'm not going to flower up this review like others
on this site. If you wanted to read an essay full of big words and detailed
descriptions, you'd read the editors review. Here's my brief opinion on The Walking Dead Episode 2: Starved for Help.
To start off, if you haven't played the first game, you definitely should. You wouldn't be able to play this one (literally) without doing so.
The Walking Dead arcade game brilliantly captures the feeling that Robert Kirkman provides in the comics of the same name. Not only is the art style and look of the game so reminiscent, but the way the game twists and turns and dives deep into the demeanor of individual characters completely revolves around the comics.
Yet, instead of following the antics of the Grimes family, you're placed in the shoes of a man with a troubled past, and a knack for kick-assery, named Lee.
After the escapades of episode 1, you're found 3 months later at the motel the group herded to at the end of the first episode. Food is running out in its scarcity, and after another unsuccessful hunting/gathering trip, the group is left with a choice due to the arrival of two strange men at the motel.
To leave, or not to leave?
One way or the other, Lee makes his way to a Herschel-esque farm led by the two men and their mother. The game then pits you to uncover a strange mystery protruding from the hostiles around the farm and the trials within.
The game does a wonderful job of offering canon-altering choices, which really gives the player a feel of total control and, ultimately, power and responsibility. How will Clementine feel if I decide to do this? How will the rest of the group view me if I decide to eat the last bit of food rations? How will the fate of this person decide the outcome of the series in the end? These questions really start to weigh down on you as you progress through the second episode, and, in a way, even more so than the first.
The gameplay is the exact same as the first one and no real improvements seem to have been implemented, which really holds it back a decent amount The movement is sloppy and slow, and exploring is dull and somewhat meaningless. Sometimes it's unclear as to what the objective is when in 'exploration mode' as objects seem to run together and the camera pans in and out of areas unexpectedly. Just like the first one, you have no control of the camera, but it's really not a huge deal seeing as it is a point and click adventure.
The game does have its moments, however. I find myself, from time to time, with sweaty palms and a racing heart beat when placed in stressful situations and given a decision with somewhere from 5 to 10 seconds to react and decide upon. Silence or no action is often a decision, which is usually the default for disobeying the clock. This is a huge reason why the game is so enjoyable and somewhat unique, in that regard.
If you're a fan of the TV show, or especially the comics, you'll enjoy how strongly the game is story driven. It often times seems just like an interactive narrative or animated comic book. Yet it is definitely not a bad thing in this case.
For $5, you really can't find a much better deep and interactive game. For a good 8-15 hours of solid narration, above average gameplay, and driven character development and weighted decision making, this game is a no-brainer in my eyes.
9/10 and a bit longer of a review than I initially expected. Well done, TellTale.
I have to agree with your review. I did believe, at first, that this game would ruin the comics and the series for me but, even though it is a little dull at times, it is an overall great game. I can't wait for The Long Road Ahead.