Developers: Telltale Games
Producers: Telltale Games
Plot: When the group are on their last legs and desperate for food, a nearby family take them in, offering protection and supplies on their farm. However, are they to be trusted?
Since we last saw Lee Everett, Clementine and the group a month has passed. We now have a new member, Mark, Larry is still a dick and tensions have risen between Lily, self-appointed leader, and Kenny, who, understandably, is putting his family before the rest of the group. Seeing as last episode, Kenny was your closest friend and Lily was the cold one with the violent father, Telltale Games have thrown a spanner into the works by making Kenny the least rational one out of the two. Right from the off, you are forced to be loyal to your friend or do the right thing for the group. This is only one of the more brilliant moves by Telltale Games.
Right from the opening sequence, you are thrown into the action, answering complaints that the first episode was a little too passive. You stumble across three survivors, one of whom has his leg caught in a bear trap. Before you can wrap your head around the newcomers, walkers start appearing. You can either leave the wounded one to his fate or save him by slicing off his leg with an axe. It is brutal, sickening and a swift reminder that the Walking Dead Game is the gaming highlight of 2012.
Following this sequence up, we end up with a little mini-game. Tired of being painted as the bad guy, leader Lily makes you hand out the food rations. You have four items and nine people to feed, excluded yourself. Thus begins the heart-breaking task of handing out the food, avoiding the disappointed gazes of those that don’t make the cut. It is the best moment of this particular episode. The only thing that could have improved it was if there was a sequence later on the game that was affected by the fact that you went without eating. The more kind-hearted people would feed someone else, rather than themselves (it’s easier to choose between nine people than ten), but then they would struggle, when the hunger kicked in, during a fire-fight.
The majority of this level takes place at the St. John’s farm. We have Andy, the likeable leader, his kind-hearted mother and the slightly off, Danny. At first, it seems like your saving grace… their farm is free from Walker attack and there is enough food for everyone. However, the game becomes akin to a mystery, as your character snoops around the farm, becoming more and more suspicious of their new friends. This is a nice change of pace, as it is fun coming to grips with your surroundings and uncovering clues, as you go about the level. The twist is a little easy to figure out, yet it is a fun style and sets this episode apart from the last, suggesting that Telltale Games are not a one-trick pony.
When the twist does come about, we are treated to some gripping action sequences. Sure, it is hardly action, as we would expect from a Gears of War game, but it is still exciting in its own way. You have to land punches at the right time, react sharply to what’s around you and make some tough choices. There is a fantastic choice sequence at the closing third of this game that I will not spoil for you, but it forces you to pick a side between Kenny and Lily. Telltale predicts exactly what you are thinking and forces you into uncomfortable situations. It shows a real clever side to the script that you cannot help but admire.
Downsides: well, for one, it’s on a farm. That’s a definite no-no, after the slow-paced Season Two from the TV show. There are definite comparisons to Hershel’s farm that will have you doubting the script. As I just said above, it makes up for it, but you cannot help but wish for some original set-pieces. Another is the fact that we are introduced to a handful of red shirts. This is not a good episode for the newcomers. However, these are small bumps in the road in the grand scheme of things. If you liked episode one, you will like this.
Final verdict: The Walking Dead Game goes from strength to strength. More action, tougher choices and a gripping story.