It’s been longer than expected, but we’re finally back in the comfortable shoes of Lee Everett. Lee and the rest of the gang is still holed up in a motel, and despite adding a new member with a lot of supplies, Mark, but we’ve already almost run out of that food and tensions are at an alltime high.
Much of the game revolves around a conflict in the group between Lilly (the self elected “leader” of the group) and Kenny. The conflict permeates almost every decision you make during the game and takes into account decisions that you made during the last episode, though not fully, as Kenny appreciated my friendship during the last episode, but made some odd decisions in this one.
The rest of the game involves what would be considered the “A” plot. A family of dairy farmers offers food in exchange for gas, but when a group of bandits attacks Mark and Lee things start to unravel. Unfortunately, the A plot isn’t very strong. While it has gripping moments, the big twist is telegraphed from a mile away and never really takes off because of that.
However, the big moments of the game are really well executed and make you think. I made a poor decision and Clementine, the little girl Lee has “adopted” for lack of a better word, saw it and just her reaction broke my heart. I can count on one hand the ammount of times a video game has made me feel geniunely awful like that. It’s honestly pretty amazing how they got that done.
One interesting note is that the game does play out slightly differently depending on whether you saved Doug or Carly in the last episdoe. Doug is more about comic relief and tech gadgets, while Carly is all about emotional drama and gun-toting action. It’s a nice little twist.
There aren’t any extra features, to speak of.
There have been some reported issues with trying to run the first episode clearing out your save files from Episode 1. Additionally, the PS3 version has issues with one section of the game wherein you have to play “Red Light Green Light” with another character that the game doesn’t recognize propperly and so it fails to initiate.
Again the graphics are suprisingly well done. Some of the characters are a little over the top, but the models display emotion extremely well and really works well to get you into the game. It does a really good job also of being brutal, bloody, and violent, without going way over the top with it.
It’s almost entirely new environments this time out and they’re all very well made. The dairy farm looks appropriately light hearted in the daytime and dreary at night. The campsite you also visit has a really eerie awesome feel to it that’s conveyed through the art style.
Once again, the voice acting is pretty spot on. The dairy farmers aren’t particularly well done, but that has more to do with the telegraphed storyline than any fault of the actors. The rest of the acting is spot on, including, interestingly enough, Carly and Doug who essentially had to paly different sides of the same part.
The music is great in the handful of real action scenes, approprately ramping up the drama in the extreme. Otherwise it’s nicely unobrusive, allowing you to focus on the story, dialog, and puzzles, what few there are.
There are some big changes that you can make from almost the first minute of the game, so it’s worth taking another playthrough. With the plot kind of branching and some big plot decisions coming up in Episode 3, it’s going to be interesting to see how the different permutations carry out.
Final Score: 9/10
It doesn’t quite live up to the lofty expectations caused by the first game, in part because there isn’t quite as much to do, but also because the writing isn’t quite as tight. As soon as you begin to suspect that something is awry, the game does nothing to even try to change your opinon on that. Plus, Kenny’s odd turn in this episode feels very incongruous from his character in the previous episode.
That having been said, it’s still an amazing experience and an excellent representation of the Walking Dead brand. Whether you’re a fan of the books or television show or even if you’re not a big fan of zombies in general, you should really give this game a hard look. This is what bringing adventure games into the 21st century is really all about. TellTale really has something here.
If you’re interested in taking a look at the game, you can find it at the TellTale Website.