Episode 2: Starved for Help picks up three months after the events of Episode 1: A New Day. Lee's group has managed to settle in nicely at the motel by setting up a defensive parameter all around the establishment and have even managed to secure enough guns and ammunition to keep the group safe. All is not well however; food supplies are dwindling quickly and with the starvation comes plenty of arguments within the group. Lee's group soon has numerous encounters with other survivors and tough decisions must be made to determine if these other people can be trusted. Episode 2: Starved for Help has its fair share of zombie attacks, but the real focus here is establishing that other survivors may be far more dangerous than the undead during the zombie apocalypse.
You'll need to own and complete Episode 1: A New Day before you'll have access to the new game, but in case you're still on the fence with Telltale's The Walking Dead we'll breakdown gameplay one more time for you. The game primarily consists of segments of dialogue that will prompt you to make a timed response. You will also find certain segments that will ask how you want to react to a certain situation such as choosing to help one survivor or another. Nearly every choice you make throughout the game will have direct consequences that may not be felt until further along in the game's storyline or into other episodes. There are other parts of the game where you will actually fight enemies, but these scenarios are more like mini-games that task you with mashing appropriate buttons, finding a necessary item quickly enough to deter the threat or quickly aim and attack an approaching enemy. Telltale's The Walking Dead is set in a fairly linear world that features great use of camera to keep you focused on the task at hand and to add a dramatic effect.
In Episode 2: Starved for Help, you get the first real look at how decisions you made in earlier episodes will dramatically change the storyline moving forward in the game. In one playthrough I had nearly formed an alliance with a character that hated me in a different playthrough for the choices I had made differently in the previous episode. It's things like these that will have you considering your multiple options with each decision you make and continuously second guessing others. This is also the reason you'll keep coming back to Telltale's The Walking Dead numerous times to witness the different outcomes your decisions and reactions have on the entire storyline.
The excellent sound quality, voice acting and colorful cel-shaded graphics are retained in Episode 2: Starved for Help from the first episode and the new episode's storyline is actually far superior to the original's. You will notice a few more bugs and graphical glitches than were present in the first episode, but these usually only occur between scenes and never take away from the dramatic tension the game constantly builds upon throughout the entire episode. The new episode also brings in plenty of new characters to interact with and puzzles to solve during the game's down moments. The game's soundtrack remains an important part of the immersive experience by playing appropriate tunes through the most important segments during the game.
Episode 2: Starved for Help is a lot more of the same, and that's a good thing. While the storyline, environment and many of the characters have changed, the core gameplay that made the game so great the first time around is back again. Obviously if you own Episode 1: A New Day, then you should pick up this title as well, but Telltale's The Walking Dead is a fantastic game that anyone can pick up, play and enjoy and should be experienced by all fans of zombies. However, the game can easily appeal to both the casual gamer and the hardcore with plenty of great gameplay and a compelling story that anyone can enjoy regardless of your skill level. The reality of human nature shined through in Episode 2: Starved for Help and revealed that often we are the most frightening creatures within our nightmares. Purchase Episode 2: Starved for Help today and enjoy one of the best zombie games of all-time!
Developer & Publisher: Telltale Games
Rating: M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence & Strong Language
Platforms: Xbox 360 (reviewed), PlayStation 3, iOS, Mac & PC
Release Date: June 27, 2012 for Xbox 360 and June 29, 2012 for PlayStation 3 and PC
Score: 10 out of 10