The Walking Dead - Episodes 2 & 3:

Starved for Help & Long Road Ahead

Genre:   Adventure

Developer & Publisher:    TellTale Games

Released:  July & September 2012

PC Requirements:  

* OS: Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7
* CPU: Core 2 Duo 2GHz or equivalent
* RAM: 3 GB
* HDD: 2 GB free disk space
* Graphics: 1 GB Graphics Memory
* Sound Card: DirectX 9 Compatible
* DirectX: Version 9





by flotsam


Three down and two still to come. I played these two episodes back to back so intend to review them as a whole.

A few months have passed since our team first holed up in the motel, and food is low and harder to find. The foraging is becoming more difficult and further afield. A scream and a bear trap herald the first confrontation.

The Walking Dead continues to be compelling. The story is the thing, and it shines. And surprises. I did not see several things coming, and their impact was at times staggering.

It remains brutal, the more so because much of it is directed at the living by the living. Whether it is out-and-out confrontation - kill or be killed - or a smouldering undercurrent of suspicion that eventually ignites a rage, it’s clear that the zombies aren’t the only “inhuman” things around.

Further, the fact that you have a role to play makes it all the more powerful. There are times you have to choose how to behave. Do you go with the anger and take revenge at the dairy, do you shoot a young woman so she dies quickly or allow her to live so that she draws the zombies away from you, do you abandon a person by the side of the road because of their actions? The choices you make then determine how the story progresses.

It seemed there were more of these choices in Episode Two, and that what I did in Episode Three had less of an effect on events, but to me it didn’t matter. True, I would have liked a certain event to have played out differently, and despite choosing a variety of responses it never did. But looking over some bulletin boards it seems there may be a way to make a much earlier choice that will affect that particular event. Which makes it far more attractive to play again.

Not every choice is life or death. Tell the truth, obfuscate or outright lie. Side with one character, or the other, or walk a middle ground. Keep things to yourself or share. It’s the little things that help make a difference.

You can also choose not to choose. Or you can fail to choose. On many occasions there is a nothing response, or the time which you have in which to make a decision will lapse before you decide. I was genuinely conflicted about what to do in one spot, and in another just flat-out failed to react in the time available. The game went on, presumably based on my inaction.

Lee and Clementine continue to be front and centre and it’s becoming a two-way dependence. Who else is around depends on what you did or didn’t do. And what you will do. Pick favourites by all means but don’t get too fond of anyone.

There are touches of The Road in the events, particularly in Episode 2, and the dilemmas – moral and otherwise – are in keeping with many survival epics. You can’t know what you would be capable of if you ended up in a world like this one. The Walking Dead does an excellent job of exploring these situations, and making you confront them.

At the end of every episode, you get some statistics on the choices that other players made in various situations. It will say something like “you and 73% of other players chose to save X”. I have taken a deliberate approach to try and think about what I would do, not what I could do, which has resulted in some fairly callous action. Interestingly, I am rarely in a minority, and never a large minority either. Which may tell you something or nothing, but I still find it interesting.

Everything you need to know about how the game works is in the review of Episode One. Nothing has changed and the game remains high quality. There was the occasional graphic glitch (a character puts his hand through a door at one stage), and the eyes of the characters now strike me as a bit googly (like a ventriloquist’s doll), but these are small things in what is otherwise an impressive production.

Episode 3 seemed a bit more “actiony” than the other episodes, but it might have been because there were a number of scenes where you were sniping with a gun. There was also some keyboard pecking and the need to do some things reasonably quickly. But there was plenty of down time, and some good old fashioned adventuring to do. The sequence trying to start the train is probably the most like a traditional adventure, although the difficulty is mild at best.

In the end though, The Walking Dead is about the story and how you drive it. It ebbs and flows and meanders and then kicks you. It develops the characters, starts to build relationships, then rips them apart. It has quiet moments and then punctuates them with fury. It still rates an “A” as a work in progress, and if you haven’t played yet, you probably should.

I played on:

OS: Windows 7

Processor: Intel i7-3820 4GHz


Video card: AMD Radeon HD 7800 2048MB

The Walking Dead series can be purchased via download from Telltale Games.  


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