XBLA Review: The Walking Dead: Episode 2: Starved for Help

Zombies aren’t the only problem now…

The first episode of The Walking Dead provided typical situations of a zombie outbreak, it gave you tough choices on who lives or dies, while the game remembers what choices you made and I wasn’t sure what sort of impact that would have, but Episode 2 does a good job in reminding you what you did. The episode picks 3 months after and the survivors are still barricaded at the motor inn, but supplies are wearing thin and a power struggle within the group doesn’t help matters, especially when everyone is starving and after doing one horrific act to try and save someone, you have even more mouths to feed.

But then a miracle happens! Two men approach the motor inn who says they live up at the dairy farm and are willing to trade food for gas to power their electric fence from the undead, it sounds like a nice deal but as you would expect, everything isn’t what it seems. The twist is a bit obvious, but no less disturbing and as with the first episode; you’ll come across difficult decisions that will impact the end result, although some deaths cannot be prevented and I didn’t see some of them coming, that’s for sure.

The characters are truly engaging and incredibly believable, the internal power struggle in the group over decisions and food is starting to pick up momentum and it’s only going to get worse, much worse if the teaser for Episode 3 is anything to go by. The game still handles the same, which is good and it works very well, having said that there are some framerate issues and long pauses between making choices. I also had a devil of a time just trying to access the game, I kept getting a “Get” option in the main menu instead of “Play”, but the way I got to it was by signing out and signing back into Xbox Live, annoying…but 100% worth it, but let’s hope Telltale patches it, for the record though it hasn’t happened to everyone, so you might be lucky…

The visual style of the series is really strong with a mixture of realism and cel-shaded, with plenty of gore and twisted moments. Voice-acting is superb, while the music has a creepy undertone that matches the nature of the atmosphere.

The Verdict

Starved for Help is a great follow-up to the first episode, it provides tension, depth and a realistic insight into survival, twisted as it is. Technical problems aside, the only downside is waiting for Episode 3….