The Walking Dead, Episode 2: Starved for Help
System: Playstation 3 (also on Xbox 360, PC, Mac and iOS)
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Price: $4.99 ($19.99 for PS3 season pass)
Release Date: June 29, 2012
I didn’t think it would happen so quickly, but I am becoming pretty damn attached to the characters in The Walking Dead episodic games. At just two hours in length per episode, the story continues to surprise with plenty of character development and gut-wrenching twists and turns. Whereas A New Day set the table for things to come, Starved for Help shows just how bleak the ongoing zombie outbreak really is.
Set three months after the first episode’s events, Lee, Clementine and the rest now find themselves running dangerously low on food and supplies. Just as they reach the end of their stash, a couple of guys show up at the motel looking to exchange food for gasoline. They claim to have a safe haven: they own a huge dairy farm that is protected by an electrified fence. They even have a cow to provide them with milk. Could this be the group’s big break?
I won’t get into plot specifics, but Telltale did an excellent job at dropping hints about what’s to come while also building the suspense. I wasn’t sure what to expect as the episode played out, but the payoff was fantastic.
As per the first episode, Lee is presented with six “Tough Decisions” that are crucial to the story development. The first one happens right away, and this gruesome encounter sets the tone for the rest of the game. By the end, I was ashamed of my final two choices, and I was tempted to go back through and try a different way. But alas, this is my Walking Dead experience, and I am going to see it through with my original decisions in tact.
It really says something when a game can make you feel such moments of despair and regret based on a single decision. This story continues to grow darker and darker, and I am excited to see where it goes from here. Per usual, the episode ends with a cliffhanger, as well as a preview of what’s next.
The point-and-click gameplay is the same as before, and it works well in the context of this episode. There are occasionally some slight hiccups when the framerate stutters a bit, but these do not hinder the experience.
Naturally, this is a must play if you have completed A New Day. This episode is even better than the last, and it has seriously raised my expectations for the rest of the series. Decisions seem even more critical now, and the story is moving along at a nice clip. If you haven’t experienced The Walking Dead yet, now is the time.