Good things come to those who wait seems to be the mantra of TellTale‘s follow up to the episodic depiction of the hit comic book and television show The Walking Dead. In this installment, once promised almost a month ago, we rejoin the ragtag group of survivors for Episode 2: Starved for Help. Lee returns and deals with trials and tribulations that impact the group once food sources start to become scarce and tempers mount.
This time, the story takes place largely on the set of a dairy farm where everything seems safe enough but there’s a nagging feeling that nothing is exactly as it seems. While the plot is predictable and I personally had the twist figured out quite a while before it was delivered, I found myself enthralled with the story enough to see it through to the end, twice more. The same formula for this episode is carried over from the first in that you control Lee through several different scenes in which you’re either asked to react quickly to a tense situation, or solve puzzle like solutions to the problem that is mounted in front of you, all while following the linear game on rails. The diversion however comes when you’re given dialogue and plot choices that quite severely impact the rest of the game. This time around, TellTale has made the decisions meatier and more gritty. Several times I found myself pressed against the in-game timer to make a decision, only to almost regret that decision as soon as I made it while I was quickly trying to come up with the best possible scenario. This formula deftly builds drama and gives the player a sense of dread and urgency that I haven’t felt in any other game.
Graphically, the game is still its cel-shaded layout which works well given the source. It appears that TellTale may have put in a little extra effort with some of the scenes to make them look a bit more believable. The opening scene in particular finds Lee in the middle of the woods and the depth of the cartoon-esque trees were impressive to behold and quickly made me feel the immersion of the game itself. Additionally, this title seemed to be a bit grimier and bloodier than the last. If this progression keeps up, I can only assume that the remaining episodes will be a veritable blood bath of zombies and humans alike.
Once again the title is scoreless which adds to feeling of desperation and loneliness that the characters would be feeling. The surprises come through the story and the twists the plot throws at you and doesn’t rely on cheesy horror movie cliches where dramatic crescendos give away when the antagonist is going to strike. This is a nice effect and lends itself very well to the game.
All in all it was another fun ride through a universe that I admire. As a fan of the comic and of the show, this side-story is a very nice diversion that thankfully is faithful to the source. True to the nature of the comic, the human characters drive the story forward and give you the most feeling of empathy, dread and fear more-so than the titular characters you expect to see, the zombies. If you’ve already purchased The Walking Dead, you’re already entitled to the subsequent episodes and you know of what I speak when I say that this is a short but fulfilling diversion into a desolate world filled with zombies. If you do not own The Walking Dead and are a fan of the subject matter, I have to ask, what are you waiting for?