TellTale Games, The Walking Dead returns in Episode II: Starved for help. Playing off the actions of the previous episode, you continue on your own uniquely told story though the eye of Lee Everett. Inspired and based on Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead comic book series, does The Walking Dead Episode II: Starved for Help continue offering the suspense and great narrative that The Walking Dead is known for, or is this episode brain-dead?
Starved for Help takes place three months after the events of Episode I. Lee Everett and the survivors have managed to survive within their new safe haven. Ultimately, this new safe haven runs out of food just as tensions are at an all-time high. Later, Lee and the survivors meet two brothers who are willing to trade fuel for food. As they agree, Lee and a few survivors go to the farm that the brothers are staying at. As the story continues to unfold, Mark – the newest member - goes missing and the dark secrets of the farm are uncovered. The story will focus less on the evil of the Walkers and more on the evilness of man during this time of crisis.
Gameplay and the story go hand in hand in TellTale Games’ The Walking Dead. If you’ve played the previous The Walking Dead episode, or any of the Sam & Max games, it’s pretty much the same as before. Instead of intellectual puzzles like Sam & Max series, The Walking Dead focuses on storytelling. Everything that you do affects the dialogue and, eventually, the next episode. This time around your choices will have a heavier impact on what’s to come. Unlike the first episode where the choices were easier to make, Episode II‘s choices dive into hate and revenge. While the Walkers were the main enemy of Episode I, Episode II places human nature and the will to survive as your biggest foe. So the you’ll be making tougher choices, especially on how the group looks a Lee Everett, is he a peaceful man or a man ready for revenge. In the end, it’s all up to you and no matter what you choose, you’ll love the outcome.
Presentation wise, The Walking Dead still looks like a beautiful interactive comic book. Character models and the environments are detailed and gorgeous to look at – especially during the episode’s final moments. There are some frame issues here and there, but none hamper the experience. The voice acting is still top-notch and believable and the soundtrack keeps the tension high during action sequences.
The Walking Dead Episode II: Starved for Help has ended on a high-note and, so far, is the best episode that this season has to offer. Still having a major focus on storytelling than actual puzzles, it’s clear to see that your choices will have a heavier impact on Lee Everett this time around. More people will die this episode and it’s up to you to see fit how they live or die, or even if they can be saved at all. If you love the comic book, or AMCs television adaptation, then you’ll love this episode from beginning to end.
Audio/Visual – 4/5: You’ll enjoy the interactive comic book feel The Walking Dead has to offer. Characters are even more believable this time around, however there are some frame issues, but very little to hamper your Walking Dead experience.
Gameplay – 4/5: There isn’t much gameplay per se, or actual complex puzzles, but The Walking Dead is more about the experience than actual gameplay.
Value – 4/5: There is much value to behold for even The Walking Dead fans. Everyone’s playthough will be different depending on the choices made. There really is an essence of replayability.
Innovation – 5/5: It a nice blend of storytelling and interactive gameplay. TellTale Games have out-done with themselves with The Walking Dead, giving players hard choices and episodes that affect each other perfectly.
Final Score: 4.5/5