The Walking Dead: Episode 2 - Starved for Help Review

Starved for Help is a disgusting and disturbing look at the realities of life after the zombie apocalypse in the world of The Walking Dead.

Gross-outs combine with a number of disturbing moral choices to create one unsettling game in The Walking Dead: Episode 2: Starved for Help. Telltale Games builds on the intensity of the first episode in this ongoing series, throwing around buckets of blood and adding in some disquieting glimpses of life after the zombie apocalypse. Although fans of Robert Kirkman's comics might recognize plot points lifted directly from the black-and-white series, this is still a gut shot of an adventure sure to keep you creeped out for the three or four hours that it lasts.

Zombies are far from the only danger survivors face.

Three months have passed since the ragtag group of survivors who came together in Episode 1 first set up shop in a barricaded motel courtyard. Protagonist Lee Everett, a convicted killer freed by a walker on the interstate in the opening moments of the first episode, is in something of an uneasy truce with other members of the gang. Everyone is on edge now, the result of nearly running out of food and having to deal with the argumentative Larry and his headstrong daughter Lily, who has taken it upon herself to lead the group. The story now branches farther away from the comics, taking on more of a life of its own, with nothing like the somewhat cheesy appearance of comics fave Glenn as one of the main characters in the first episode.

Most of the tale focuses on the moral decisions that need to be made due to the harsh realities of life in a world where dead people want to nosh on your brains. The game kicks off with Lee being faced with trying to save a man from a bear trap by hacking off his leg with an axe, and continues through wrenching choices about which members of your party to feed when the rations dwindle to almost nothing and whether or not to kill a bad guy even with a child watching.

As noted philosopher Satchel Paige once said, 'Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you.'

Character conflicts are carried over from the first episode, and glimpses of personality traits and potential sore points are brought forward. So it's not a big surprise that Lee runs into big trouble with Larry, or that Kenny remains a coward when called upon to help out a buddy in dire need. The script is excellent. It moves the plot along quickly while also lingering long enough in spots to bring out personalities, such as a telling moment where Kenny assumes that Lee, a black man, would know how to pick a lock because he's "urban." With that said, the main plot leaves a little to be desired. The big secret about sinister dairy farmers holed up behind an electric fence is telegraphed from the moment that Lee and crew set foot on their property, yet the game chugs along as if the source of the family's food supply is an unfathomable mystery. Anyone who has read the Kirkman comics will also recognize elements of this tale from the early issues of the series.

Though the plot is predictable, it is told very well with a supreme ick factor that will leave you shocked and nauseous. The tough choices that you're faced with through action and conversation, along with regular bouts of scrambly quick-time arcade sequences of the same sort as those featured in the first game, thicken an atmosphere of apprehension. There is more depth here than in Episode 1. You take an active role in more situations now and have to think when conversing with characters or committing yourself to courses of action. Where in the last chapter Lee was something of a lone wolf keeping himself apart from his companions due to worries about his criminal past being revealed, here he is a member of a group dealing with stresses like the daily threat from walkers and the ever-present risk of starvation. The sense of a broken moral order hangs over everything and forces you to make choices between actions that can be justified for survival and actions that cross the line into barbarity.

There's nothing quite like a home-cooked meal.

Performance issues that were something of an annoyance on the Xbox 360 version of the game have been cleaned up on PC and PS3. Where the 360 game was rather murky and afflicted by frame-rate hitches just about every time that the scene switched to a new character or new camera angle, neither the PC nor the PS3 editions exhibit these issues. The graphic-novel visuals look fantastic on these platforms and there are no problems with stuttering. Sound syncing errors with the 360 have also been cleared up on the PC and PS3, so lip syncing and atmospheric audio effects are now in time with on-screen animations. Controls can be a bit of an irritant on the PC, though. With the resolution upped to high-res levels, the mouse cursor becomes laggy, which can cause you to get killed during some of the speedier twitch action sequences. This isn't a showstopper, but the mouse could use some fine tuning.

Starved for Help is a great second episode in Telltale's Walking Dead franchise. The story borrows much from the graphic novels and is predictable even if you haven't read them, and the performance issues cause some grief, but this is an excellent adventure that needs to be played by every horror fan. It grosses you out at the same time that it makes you think about the fragile nature of society--and what would happen if everything suddenly broke down and left us scrounging to keep our stomachs full.

The Good
Fantastic script, with first-rate dialogue and characterizations
More tough choices with dialogue and action
Some really disturbing sequences that delve into the fragile nature of the post-apocalyptic society
The Bad
Somewhat predictable plot
8.5
Great
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Discussion

0 comments
SolidTy
SolidTy

A shame the 360 version had some issues. According the review the PC or PS3 version is the way to go. I got into this series because of PS+. I got Episodes 1 & 2 for free. Digging it! :P

Pireta_Ictavist
Pireta_Ictavist

I find the story enjoyable enough to like the game.

I do not however think it is very honest to say that the story "is tailored" by what choices you make.

 

Choices, I find, can at best result in rather small variations to the story and there has never been even the opportunity to make any choices that could result in taking different path or having a situation resolve with a strategically different outcome or a direction of the story.

 

Also what is completely missing is the ability to decide or steer the ideological nature of the main character let alone the group as a whole.

fubar20421
fubar20421

I don't get it.Does everyone on here work for TT or something?Yea its a pretty good game ......If you don't mind all the glitches,ungodly download problems,release dates that are weeks or months behind the times they say,and the worst customer support of any game ever!

nedsig7
nedsig7

A great zombie video game that no need to shoots a lot of zombies just to have fun with it!

qassim1982
qassim1982

hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

vadagar1
vadagar1

its nice to see games like this every once in a while

neo4evr
neo4evr

When will the next episode come? Anyone know?

xsonicchaos
xsonicchaos

it's a great game. waiting for the next episode!

SipahSalar
SipahSalar

This is truly an amazing and unique game. Its as intense as the TV series and at times even more.

ydnarrewop
ydnarrewop

I finished this a few days ago. I love it! I'm looking forward to ep. 3 :)

coxy1
coxy1

yep great game i dont have anything bad to say about this, these type of games keep gaming alive, im sick of MW 3.2 black ops 2.3 copy and paste routine

punksterdaddy
punksterdaddy

I think this game is really good and different from most. I only have one problem with it, and I admit that its a small one at that...

I wish I knew when each episode is due for release? The last time, episode 2 was available for over a week before I knew it was there...? I did say it was a small problem. lol

killman961
killman961

WHAT?! that one con about the review made its rating go down by 1.5 points! ONE!SMALL!THING!Thats why i kinda hate it when people give ratings on games. they should just say what they think about it and what kind of audience would like this game.

slipknotsoad
slipknotsoad

I dont even read reviews on this website, I just scroll down and look for Gelugon_baats inevitable fishing trip, far more entertaining than most of these games.These comments were the best thing gamespot ever added to this site, Gelugon_baat I salute you. 

McStrongfast
McStrongfast

A mere €15 on Steam for the best game of the year so far is a no-brainer if you don't already own it, like you should.

Mehrdadmaskull
Mehrdadmaskull

I just love the way it is a real-time...even when u're needed to say sth

punksterdaddy
punksterdaddy

 @fubar20421 What game have you been playing in comparison to all of us "Tell Tale," employees? 

I can only speak for myself, so I will!

There are people (like myself) in this world, who have the desire to play games that are NOT... F.P.Shooters! It has a different approach to their game play that is, sadly lacking on originality these days. I'm not saying that it's completely original. But at the very least, it tries to be different with the chapter storyline and the whole series plot!

They could've very easily made, yet another awful FPS styled game but they made themselves a great game... for that alone, they deserve praise???

As for the glitches, download problems and poor customer support that you mentioned regarding the game?

WTF are you on about?

Why would you need customer support? All you need is to play the game and you get every cheevo, easily! The download probs (for me) are non existent, yes there are glitches at times but this is an Arcade release at only 400msp per episode... What do you expect? I've played full retail released titles, with more errors than this 'Cracking good series' has!

godfather830
godfather830

 @killman961 Even if there were no negative things to say, doesn't mean the game gets a 10. Gamespot has explained numerous how their system works. they don't start with a perfect score and then subtract based on negatives.

fend_oblivion
fend_oblivion

 @Gelugon_baat You do know that TT is going to make a Season 2 right? :D

www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/118317-TellTale-Games-Planning-The-Walking-Dead-Season-Two

The Walking Dead: A Telltale Games Series More Info

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    The Walking Dead: A Telltale Games Series is a zombie game that lets players experience the true horror and emotional impact of being a survivor of the undead apocalypse.
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