More tips on surviving the Zombie apocalypse.
Season Two of The Walking Dead has finished – boo! But it finished revealing where the story is going next, at least to anyone who has read the comics, and will be back again for season three – Yay! The only problem is that I don’t know how I will last until the next season begins, such is the power of the show. It was hard enough to wait from one week to the next for each episode.
I seem to be suffering from the same compulsion with Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead episodic adventure game. Episode 2 has been released and the wait from the first episode to this one was unbearable. The problem is that the game is so compelling that one episode, which lasts around three or four hours, can be finished in a single sitting, leaving the player desperate for more. If I had more self-control, I would probably wait for all of the episodes to be released and then play them back to back. But I don’t have that self-control, and it would create some problems when it comes to writing this.
But still, Episode Two is now available and gamers who have been gagging for more of the same will not be disappointed. Titled “Starved For Help”, this episode continues with the theme of the first, concentrating on a small group of survivors and their interactions in a world that has totally gone wrong.
As with Episode One, the game follows main character Lee Everett, a man with a chequered past which has yet to be fully revealed, and the group of survivors that he meets along the way in a world which has been overrun with Zombies. This episode is set a couple of months after the conclusion of Episode One and begins with the survivors still holed up at the motel. Needless to say, things don’t get any easier for our ragtag group.
Being that the game is all about the story, the characters and the interactions between them, It would be unfair to reveal any spoilers. The scripting of the game is of such a high standard that there is very little by way of filler and, as with the first episode, dialogue choices made during the game have a dynamic effect. In fact, choices made during the first episode will come back and haunt the player this time around, and we will be expecting more of the same in the subsequent episodes. I can’t begin to explain how important it is to play the episodes in order – this may sound silly but we’ve all been tempted to jump into TV shows part way through a season and I would not be surprised to see players downloading this episode after passing on the first. But the relationships between the characters are being gradually built upon and their back stories revealed, so please, please, play them in order.
Mechanically, nothing has changed here. Proper gameplay sequences are relatively few, as are the explorable set-pieces, and split-second choices still need to be made. It is very easy to slip back into the game even though it has been a couple of months since the last installment. The cel-shaded graphic novel style remains unchanged, and still manages to prevent the game from getting too depressing.
Which is actually a very real problem. This episode takes things from bad to worse for our group and the bleak future for these characters who we are coming to know very well could leave the game feeling quite helpless. Thankfully, it hasn’t reached that point yet, we will have to wait and see where the series takes us.
The puzzles will again be a point of argument for gamers. Many gamers will expect more puzzles in an adventure game, and others will be disappointed with the relative ease of the few puzzles that are present. It is important to realise that this game straddles the fence between adventure game and interactive novel and gamers going into The Walking Dead for the first time should expect something different to what they usually play.
But realistically, if you are interested in Episode Two, then you have already played Episode One and know what to expect. However, even they might be surprised with where the story goes. The Walking Dead adventure game series is going from strength to strength. If you played the first episode, do yourself a favour and pick this up now. If you have yet to play Episode One, get it and then get this installment. This is Telltale at their best.