Xbox 360

  News 
  Reviews
  Previews
  Hardware
  Interviews
  All Features

Areas

  3DS
  Android
  iPad
  iPhone
  Mac
  PC
  PlayStation 3
  Vita
  Wii U
  Xbox 360
  Media
  Archives
  Search
  Contests

 

The Walking Dead: Episode 2 - Starved for Help
Score: 90%
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Survival Horror/Puzzle/Adventure

Graphics & Sound:

As an extension of the first episode, A New Day, The Walking Dead: Episode 2 - Starved for Help continues on the stylized visuals that give this episodic series its graphic novel appeal. Although in 3D, the style relies on a lot of hand-drawn textures, with thick black lines that define features for both characters and props. All together, this visual style gives the series an outstanding personality of its own, unlike most games on the market.

Being that this is a downloaded title, Episode 2 - Starved for Help does suffer from some graphical glitches that a lot of times are likely due to reduced file concerns. Texture quality is greatly reduced from games you may typically be used to, but honestly, itís not distracting due to the visual style that the developers present. There were also a few camera shots that lent views giving away some of the "tricks" the developers at Telltale Games used, which may not have been intentional. But again, there wasnít anything too distracting.

Moving beyond that, however, the audio once again is a mixed bag. The background music is definitely once again moody and will bring out the aura of the situation your character is currently in, but the voice acting can sometimes be a bit sub-par, either due to timing, the script, the acting, or a combination of the above. Still, the branching dialogue can usually keep a person entertained.


Gameplay:

Once again, The Walking Dead: Episode 2 - Starved for Help focuses on character development and interaction rather than action, which is a far cry from every zombie game thatís ever been produced to date. What does this mean for the gameplay? It means that this is not the typical hack-n-slash setup. It also means that the game is actually very inviting, and likely will be for a wider range of gamers or fans of the genre. But donít let this fool you. There are still some pretty disturbing visuals at times of death.

Again, you will control Lee Everett, the man from Macon who has a history that isnít all that pleasant. After an accident in Episode 1 - A New Day freed him from police custody, he has been the source of decision-making for the group of survivors that he has teamed up with. The Walking Dead episodic series actually adapts to your choices, and while some are a bit rudimentary and donít truly impact anything more than the emotions of your team, others will carry with you not just throughout each episode, but also bridge between episodes.

Because of these real-time ups and downs, youíll likely want to play through the episode(s) multiple times to see the differences. By doing so, you can see the impact of your decisions throughout the series. Characters will interact differently with you as you go, so sometimes it feels like youíre controlling Lee to be more of a public relations officer, trying to keep everyone on your side. Or if you choose, you can take sides and see how everyone responds to that.

The Walking Dead: Episode 2 - Starved for Help continues three months after the end of the first episode, and offers the addition of more characters that the group encounters. Whether it was due to this or not, Starved for Help offers more decision points that have graver impacts on the group dynamic. Thankfully, this helps keep the interest up and, once again, allows for an engaging gameplay element that continues to impress.


Difficulty:

Just like the first episode, The Walking Dead: Episode 2 - Starved for Help offers the same type of point and click gameplay that allows for really anyone to pick up and play the game. Again, response time limits can vary when interacting with characters, which can sometimes impact the storyline greatly if you have a hard time making a decision. However, there really isnít a true feeling of stress associated with making decisions.

In fact, when it comes to the truly important decision points in the game, they generally offer much more time to make up your mind. Usually, this involves choosing between siding with one person or another, but it can also involve a small amount of button-mashing (but nothing complicated).

Unlike the first episode, however, I have to admit that I actually had to restart multiple times due to either being too slow or, more likely, due to a poor decision that lead to my characterís death. The funny thing is that despite only dying once the first time through in the first episode of The Walking Dead series, I actually preferred that I died more in this episode, Starved for Help. Because of this, my actions felt a bit more important in the grand scheme of things.


Game Mechanics:

The Walking Dead: Episode 2 - Starved for Help is an extension of the first and part 2 of 5 in the series. As such, the game mechanics really havenít changed. Iím happy to report that just about anyone would be able to pick up and play this series, from hardcore gamers to more casual gamers, simply because the game offers a more laid back approach to gameplay, even with a subject matter as grim as the zombie apocalypse. Also, due to the somewhat branching storyline, there is a certain amount of replay value added, even if it is a generally short during these sets of episodes. In fact, at first I enjoyed the three save slots included in the title, but now realize that unlimited save slots (or at least far more) would have been even more appropriate, considering that decisions also link from one episode to another. It would have been fun to try out every possible combination as each new episode gets released. Incidentally, Starved for Help actually begins with a cinematic collection of events from the first episode, unique to those decisions that you made. If for some reason you didnít play through the first one, you also have the option of randomly generating a storyline at the start of Episode 2.

It should be once again noted that even though the gameplay may not be a typical zombie-style hack-n-slash setup, there are definitely some graphically animated sequences that may be disturbing to a lot of people. Combine that with an ample usage of the "F" word, and parents may want to steer their children clear of this series. In fact, I have to admit that this word in particular feels a bit crammed down the playerís throat in Starved for Help, as it was completely overused to the point of losing its impact in the dialogue.

If you can get past this and some of the slow camera transitions and forced dialogue situations, The Walking Dead: Episode 2 - Starved for Help is still worth checking out. Donít be expecting a long play, however, as this episode is once again pretty short. Iíd estimate that the first time through may take around 3 hours or so if you truly explore the environments to the fullest, but could also be completed much, much faster than that if you only hit the necessary hot spots. Still, combined into a 5-part series, The Walking Dead is worth checking out. Now itís a matter of eagerly awaiting the third episode.


-Woody, GameVortex Communications
AKA Shane Wodele

Related Links:



Windows The Walking Dead: Episode 2 - Starved for Help Windows The Sims 3: Lucky Palms

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated