TellTale Games knew it had a hit on its hands with The Walking Dead after the launch of Episode One (read our episode one review here). After topping online sales and garnering attention worldwide, they took their time pushing out the second episode, Starved for Help. Now that the title has finally released, we can say with certainty that the episode was worth the wait.
The E3 2012 preview brought us more adrenaline-packed moments and more tough dilemmas in quick succession, which proved to be an accurate preview for the rest of the episode. TellTale Games has taken everything that made the first episode a hit and simply amplified the experience, making suspenseful scenes all the more terrifying and giving quick-choices even more impact to the storyline, for better or worse.
Episode Two begins much like an episode of the television show, with a 'Previously On Walking Dead' segment which allows a quick recap for players to remember their most important decisions. From then on, the second episode opens three months after the ending of A New Day. With food running out and the entire group one argument away from a meltdown, Lee Everett is once again forced to make tough decisions and do his best to protect Clementine, the young (and likely orphaned) girl he swore to protect above all else.
TellTale Games has continued to do a great job in regards to building character depth, and Starved for Help shines a light to everyone's flaws as stress, hunger and primal instinct come to the surface. Gamers will be forced to make a plethora of moral decisions, from choosing who gets food all the way to holding the choice of life in your hands. There will be plenty of occasions where players will have to pick a side to issues rather than staying on the fence, and with little time to think about your decisions in the heat of the moment many players will likely finish Episode Two with a few regrets.
Of course, this is exactly what TellTale was aiming for: will gamers be willing to break some essence of their humanity in the name of survival? How far will they go to protect themselves and the group, and do these ends justify the means? Players will be forced to ask themselves these questions over and over again in an episode where bad news just seems to get worse, and relationships with other characters will likely have their bridges burned.
Players will have to pick who to trust - and hope they're right.
While Starved for Help contains a lot more action sequences than the first outing, story still takes precedence. Those looking for a Left 4 Dead experience should still look elsewhere, but gamers looking for a captivating story of survival mixed with dark elements will have come to the right place with The Walking Dead. With that said, Episode Two has stepped up with the amount of gore, and players may feel disgusted going through some parts of the game - which is, of course, the desired reaction to a title like this.
Regardless of player interference, Lee Everett will come out of this episode likely having made many choices he wouldn't have thought he'd ever need make, which ties in to the idea of Episode Two as a whole: a new era is clearly taking place for the survivors, and they must choose whether to ensure their survival at the cost of their humanity, or take the moral high-road and risk the death of the group, whether it be from walkers, starvation, or even other humans. Knowing who to have at your back will be the difference between life and death, and players will be in for a psychological nightmare when it comes to figuring out who is trustworthy and who would leave you for dead.
In short, TellTale Games has continued crafting a storytelling masterpiece that is sure to bring the spectrum of a good television episode to gamers, whether it will delight them, depress them or even just disgust them. Starved for Help is a truly entertaining title, whilst also ushering in a new element of darkness to the series. This is a game that truly makes players think about their choices, and shaping what kind of man Lee becomes in the world of Walking Dead, will have players not only questioning themselves, but the others in their group as well. It goes without saying that The Walking Dead is a thrilling experience from start to finish, and purchasing a Season Pass for the game, regardless of wait-time between episodes, is just simply good value - making it a must-have for fans of the show.
The Walking Dead: Episode Two is available now for PC, PS3, and Xbox 360. Game Rant played the PS3 version for this review.
Follow me on Twitter @Makelevi.