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The Walking Dead Episode Two: Starved for Help
The Walking Dead Episode Two: Starved for Help

Genre: Adventure Players: 1 to 0
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale, Inc.
Release Date:
29th June 2012
The Walking Dead Episode Two: Starved for Help Review
Review By @ 10:44am 02/07/12
We’ve been told that the choices we make in The Walking Dead game will matter all the way through to the last episode. Consequences carry through in dialog and in action, and feed into our understanding of both the world and the character of Lee, who remains, two episodes in, a relative enigma beyond the decisions the player has explicitly made for him. With this in mind, the start of Episode 2 will, for those who encounter the same glitch that I did, reveal a rather frustrating flaw in the system Telltale has devised.

When my episode started up, a character who had died in Episode 1 – one who had died, no less, because I had chosen to prioritise someone else’s life over his – was still very much alive and well. The character I had saved was presumably off elsewhere, moaning sadly and pining for human brains. The issue wasn’t simply that the game had messed up my choice. That can (and probably will) be patched.

Ultimately it’s the sort of thing I can begrudgingly learn to live with as long as it’s a one-time incident, and detracted from the experience less than I would have expected it to. What bothered me was that my immediate reaction wasn’t to get angry that the game had screwed up, but rather to second-guess myself. Had I really killed this guy? Who was the other character? Why had I let her live instead? Could it be that I simply misremembered the events I played through back in April?

This is a potential issue resulting from the game’s episodic structure, which means that, right now, you can’t immediately see the fallout of your actions. We’ll be revisiting the game as a whole when Episode 5 comes out, but who knows whether we’ll remember what other choices we made in Episode 1 by then? This isn’t Mass Effect, where your major choices are part of a sprawling week of space adventuring – you’ll need to remember very specific details about how you spent two hours several months prior.

But critiqued on its individual merits, Starved For Help is another success, nailing comic author Robert Kirkman’s uneasy vibe. Human societies must, it seems, inevitably boil over into full-blown amorality in the wake of a zombie apocalypse. The old cliché is that the people are the real monsters of any zombie flick, and that’s certainly true here. This episode starts a full three months after the first, and sees the rag-tag bunch of survivors heading to a nearby dairy farm in search of food and protection, while simultaneously dealing with nearby bandit camps. Without spoiling anything, Starved for Help takes some seriously creepy turns, and really ramps up the horror. It’s clearer here than it was in the previous episode why the series has not been submitted for classification in Australia. This is actually a pretty harrowing outing, with moments of extreme violence that are sudden, unexpected and brutal.

As before, the focus isn’t on conversations, not puzzles (of which there are basically none). The dialog is actually better written than the vast majority of exchanges in the comics, and the moments of intrigue and action are far more exciting than anything the TV show has offered up. The way you treat the major choices in the narrative actually allow for some interesting characterisation too – I’m personally crafting Lee as a man who mostly does the right thing, but who has, as of the end of this episode, unwittingly started the inevitable downward moral shift that Kirkman’s characters always seem to have. I can’t wait to see how that’s going to pan out.

Starved for Help tells a better story than A New Day did, but the sparse puzzles and that one huge glitch hold it back from being a huge improvement. The Walking Dead remains Telltale’s most promising work, although these series often start to see a downward shift around the midway point. Let’s hope that’s not the case with this one.
What we liked
  • An incredibly tense, exciting, unnerving episode
  • The writing is genuinely great
  • Some shocking moments
What we didn't like
  • The one choice that didn’t carry over was a big one
  • Debatable whether it actually contains any puzzles or not
  • You can’t immediately see how your choices play out
We gave it:
Latest Comments
Posted 11:35am 02/7/12
Not really interested in The Walking Dead, but it's good to see Telltale pull things back on track after the average Back to the Future and panned Jurassic Park series. I haven't enjoyed their stuff since the last season of Sam n Max, and if they f*** up the King's Quest reboot so help me god...
Posted 11:24am 02/7/12
I'm really enjoying this game so far. $25 and it's been money well spent already!

The tension and pacing is great. Buy it if you haven't already!!
Posted 11:32am 02/7/12
Yeah, its awesome, played Episode 2 last night and absolutely loved it. It does the whole "moral choices" thing better than any other game I think I've played.
Posted 12:43pm 02/7/12
If it's better than the first one that's a pretty good rap. The first one was great.
Posted 03:20pm 02/7/12
I liked this ep much better than the first. It seemed a little rushed though, in my opinion. Like minor interactions stuttered awkwardly, but it was really not much a problem. I didn't notice the bug in this review because I saved the other person, so that must definitely be annoying for some. However, in my game, one of the characters in this episode gives me s*** for doing something back in episode 1 when in fact I did the opposite of what they said... So it could use some fine tuning, to say the least.

But the story and whatnot, really interesting and worth the $25!
Posted 03:32pm 02/7/12

Kenny seems to hate me now in this episode because I didn't stick up for his son when Larry was trying to throw him out back in Episode 1, but I'm pretty sure I did. Either way, Kenny hates me much more now after Episode 2.

The thing that stuck with me, is I did something towards the end of episode 2 that made the little girl I was protecting think less of me and it made me feel like such an a******, even though it was really kinda the right thing to do at the time. Pretty rare for a game to actually evoke emotions like that and make you actually think about the choices you made and care about what the other characters think of you, even Mass Effect didn't really achieve that goal very consistently.
Posted 08:13pm 02/7/12
Khel - I made that same decision. I love that the game gets me to a point of thinking where doing something so morally questionable seems like the right thing to do. As a player, I find myself putting Clementine first, no matter the cost.
Posted 12:59pm 10/7/12
Bought it, played it, loved it!

Good recommendation. It's also awesome that licensed computer games have gotten to such a quality now that my entry point into the franchise can be through a game.

It's good they didn't submit it for classification, this game uses violence really effectively! Kenny's use of the salt lick in Ep 2 was shocking. Like.... holy s***!

Khel - same character hates me, I think it's because even though I mostly sided with them, I went neutral on a few options and they didn't like that.

F*****g Duck. Little 'tard.

Totally hanging out for the next ep :D
Posted 01:44pm 10/7/12
Hrmm, spoiler tags have stopped working, so don't read my post if you don't want spoilers I guess.

Yeah, the salt lick bit was unexpected, I can see why they never bothered submitting it for classification too.

I think I had almost won Kenny back over to my side, but then when he wanted to kill Larry I told him no and tried to save his life. I was genuinely shocked when Kenny splattered his head and killed him anyway, and then I went off at him and called him a cold blooded murderer and he pretty much hates me now.
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