Published on July 1st, 2012 | by Kyle Spencer, Editor
The Walking Dead – Episode 2: Starved For Help Review
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Platform: Xbox 360 (XBLA)[Reviewed], PlayStation 3 (PSN)
Release Date: June 27, 2012
If you had the opportunity to play The Walking Dead: A New Day on PSN, XBLA or PC, then you know that Telltale Games is on its way to delivering a stand out, emotional roller coaster. A New Day was all about the “walker” outbreak and a small group of survivors fight for survival. The second episode however takes what we learned from the first game and flips it on its head. Starved For Help turns the zombie survival game into a character development game. The choices you made in the first episode will translate into the second, however Episode 2 is focused strongly on the character’s quest for survival and less about the Walkers.
Starved For Help picks up three months after the first episode. We still have control of Lee Everett as he protects Clementine and deals with a disgruntled group of survivors that are growing hungry and tired of the fight for power. The Walking Dead is all about the choices that you make and the sides that you choose. It is very difficult to achieve what Telltale has done with each episode of this series. They make you think about what choices you will make and who’s side you will go toward. You do not have very long to make most of your decisions so Telltale developed the system of timed answers which makes the your progress go mainly off of personal instinct, ultimately giving the game that much more of a personal attachment.
This episode becomes one of the most intense ones in the series. In it we begin see the consequences of our actions from the first episode. The second episode will progress based upon which characters lived and died by your decisions made in the prior episode. Defenses will also be different and so will the people who trust you. I won’t go into detail, but believe me when I say that some trust is needed by later in the episode.
Starved For Help opens with you having to make the tough decision of distributing rations amongst the party. This will play heavily on whether you are making the correct choices that is best for the group or whether you are playing favoritism. This is the pacing that is set for this episode; you gradually turn Lee into the character he will become in later episodes. A New Day was more about the outbreak and getting you and Clementine to a safe location. Starved For Help is now about survival and making good decisions.
Many games have decisions making options (take Mass Effect for example) in which you would typically base your choices on the type of character you view the hero to be–good, bad, hero, villain, sociopath, etc. But not many games will have you feeling that you are the game’s main protagonist. Many of the decisions I was making were based off of true feelings of myself. Many times I wondered why am I trying to please one person and not just focus on survival and then had to pause and understand why I made certain decisions. Telltale does a fantastic job of this, and if later episodes are any indication to what I am already seeing then I can’t wait to see how deep the decision making mechanic will go.
There are some very minor technical issues involved with the game. The voice work is not synced up with the animations and frame rate drops are noticeable, but nothing is severe enough to tell someone not to play this game. I will not spoil any of the story for you, but I will say that things do get very heavy and dark later in the episode. Remember some of the answers you gave to people and which lies you tell as they may turn and bite you in the ass.
The Walking Dead games are a great episodic franchise that any “The Walking Dead” fan needs to experience. They are not just a simple re-telling of the already told story but is rather a different perspective with different survivors. Remember, the world is a big place and there are other survivors out there. This episode deals more with morality and personal affects than it does with the zombies. Honestly I maybe counted two zombie interactions the entire episode, and I was more drawn in with this episode than I was the last. Telltale has this reviewer asking myself, “When is Episode 3 coming?”
+ Great story
+ Decision making system
+ Morality choices
– Framerate drops
– freeze frames