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Published September 10th 2012
Walking Dead: Episode 2 is true to the original series
When TellTale Games (Known for point and click adventures) announced they would be creating a game based on The Walking Dead series, many fans were shocked and didn't know what to expect from this announcement. The Walking Dead is known for its zombie infested world, but that is only a back drop for the real story, the breakdown of human society. Zombies may be a problem but it always turns out the real monsters on Earth are the humans still living. TellTale has been able to once again provide an endearing narrative for the franchise, but Episode 2 takes us to an even darker, grim tale that rivals anything the comic book series has done. The Walking Dead: Episode 2 is true to the series, which is something fans will love to hear.
Walking Dead: Episode 2 is set 2 months after Episode 1, Lee and his gang of survivors are now joined by a new member named Mark. Providing some extra food for the group (Which is now running low), they have welcomed him into their home amongst an abandoned motel. The dark tonne of the episode is revealed within the first few moments. Whilst going for a hunt to try and find some desperately needed food, the group stumble upon 2 teenagers and their teacher, the teacher has become caught in a bear trap.
Without going into what happens to much, you have only two choices, leave him or use your trusty axe to save his life. The aftermath if you choose to use the axe, is brutal and could easily make some stomachs turn. TellTale pulled this over brilliantly, those who read the comics would know just how much Kirkman loves to torture his characters and this situation reeked of that Kirkman touch.
Providing a narrative that is able to tell an in-depth story is a hard task, especially when you can balance this along with the extreme gore factor that the series is known. Episode 2 balances these two elements perfectly, the world isn't a safe place anymore, and anyone and anything is able to end your life. The narrative is stellar, providing some great plot twists and not pulling any punches. When you come across the main story changer throughout the episode, you will be left in shock. It is able to stress just how much no one can be trusted in this new world, keeping you on the edge of your seat.
The games story becomes more interesting because of your investment in the characters. The main investment in the series is the relationship between Lee and Clementine, Clementine has lost her parents and it is up to Lee to protect her. The interaction between characters feels so natural, that you will have a strong emotional connection to both individuals. I find myself personally caring about Clementine and if anyone tries to mess with her, I will make sure they are accounted for. This emotional investment in the characters makes the game so much stronger, I don't want my favourites to be hurt, I want to protect them and this is one of the strongest points of the episode.
When it comes to gameplay Walking Dead is fairly basic, moving your mouse to either 'look' or 'interact' with objects and people. In high action sequences you will have to mash the Q key to be able to avoid death, then pulling off the E key at the right time. It may not be the most challenging game, but this system works at allowing you to focus on the narrative heavy experience.
Those who have played Episode 1 will also find that all the decisions in the first game carry through to Episode 2, so if you saved someone's life or sided with a character in the past, this will all affect how the episode plays. The AI surprised me several times referencing the smallest detail from the original episode, even decisions I forgot I had made. This made the game feel unique to my play through, with my choices having such a strong effect on the story it felt as though this was my own personal journey.
Episode 2 is not without its problems, you will notice the game comes to a standstill when it transitions from certain cut scenes. This is only a few seconds but it is a good way of taking you out of the immersive experience, this happens at most cut scene transitions so be prepared.
The animation itself would sometimes come down with the same problem, but never so much to ruin the game. These are very minor issues, but as you become engrossed by the story in front of you, these issues are easily noticeable. There is also one particular scene in the game where you're not explained what exactly it is you need to do, after thinking I had hit a game breaking bug and replaying this scene multiple times. I found that the way to continue was found hidden, this may not provide a problem for most but the lack of direction was apparent.
Walking Dead: Episode 2 is a masterpiece, the acting was raised from the previous episode and the narrative was something fans of the series will greatly appreciate. For TellTale to touch on the subjects within episode 2 was a great sign at what the future of the series could address. With such strong emotional connections with the characters and choices actually playing a big part in how the story unfolds, episode 2 is worth visiting.