GAME NAME: The Walking Dead Episode 2
PLATFORM(S): PSN, XBLA, PC
GENRE(S): Adventure Game
RELEASE DATE(S): July 2012
The Walking Dead Episode 2 started off with one hell of a bang. It immediately punched me in the face and reminded me how terrible the zombie apocalypse actually is. I am trying desperately to help but the zombies are approaching, my ammo is gone, and I am left violently swinging my ax. In the end, I could not help anyone and things might actually be worse now. As everybody walks back into camp I am left wondering what I could have done better, if I actually even had a chance. In the end I felt it was my responsibly, and I failed, in the worst possible way.
The Walking Dead Game has done really interesting things with the genre of Puzzle Games. Mixing action, puzzles, smart dialogue, and excellent storytelling is no easy feat but Telltale has pulled it off yet again. The first ten minutes of the game are a huge testament to how masterfully those three components are wrapped together. One of them however, shines above all else and that is storytelling.
The Walking Dead pushes you into situations that are so gray that you might as well flip a coin. If you had trouble making any calls in Episode 1 then prepare to freak out. On multiple occasions you are given around five seconds to decide the fates of so many people. You do not have time to think about how this will affect your future, only how do you fix the right here, the right now. No matter what you choose the outcome is sure to be grim and most likely terrible.
All of these decisions would mean nothing if the characters felt like lifeless polygons, which they do not. The voice acting and character development are spot on. Every character has something to say and some sort of purpose. So when you have to, for example, tell them that they are not getting any food, it is not easy. The weight of your decisions are just that more compounded upon you because these characters feel believable.
The only real issue to be brought up is the framerate. There are times when the game will lock up for five or more seconds at a time. This almost always happens during an action sequence which can be very disorienting. Nothing is worse than trying to clobber a zombie and nothing is happening. Action plays much less of a role for the majority of this episode than the previous one and so it is not often a problem.
At this point you may be thinking to yourself “This sounds a lot like the review of the first episode.” The reason for that is because Telltale actually captured lighting in a bottle again. The storytelling and general atmosphere is consistent with that of some of the best zombie moves. The characters exude life and it is harsh when it is stolen from them. The entire package is, so far, quite possibly the best story driven zombie game to date. The real question is, can they continue on this track and catch three more rods of lightning?
Man, I hope so.