The Walking Dead Season 2: Episode 3 "In Harms Way" Review

Posted by: Sam Tree | 30 May 2014

Publisher:
Telltale Games

Developer:
Telltale Games

Release Date:
2013 through 2014

Player(s):
Single Player

Platform(s):
Microsoft Windows, OS X, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, iOS, PlayStation Vita, Ouya, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Reviewed On:
PlayStation 4

The Walking Dead Season 2 is a continuation of Telltale’s epic saga inspired by the graphic novel of the same name. We were left with a cliffhanger at the end of Season 1, which promised a deeper story, following young survivor Clementine, and wow, we were not disapointed.

I haven’t done a review as such on the first two episodes of season two, so as episode three “In Harms Way” has recently released, I felt this was the opportune time to write a quick overview of the series to date as a whole. Although I have tried to keep spoilers to a minimum, there may be a few things that reveal little details.

An important detail to pay attention to, is that your save file from season 1 and the 400 days DLC carries over, making the choice you made really matter from your previous play sessions. Unfortunately for me, my save file was corrupted, so I started season 2 with randomised choices from the previous season.

Technically, the game has changed very little since season 1. The UI has had a slight upgrade, but other than that, there isn’t much to talk about. The system works fine as it is, so really, Telltale have no need to fiddle around with it too much. I have noticed however, that in some situations, although the game is asking for an R1 input (I am playing on the PlayStation 3), it does accept an X input, which is handy if you’ve been pounced on by a walker, and panic!

Another thing I noticed was that the conversational input seem to flow a lot better. Often the game gives you a little more time to select your response, and most of the time, it fits in nicely with the conversation, with little to no pauses, in some instances, I notice the other characters continue talking about the subject matter, awating your input, which really helps with the flow of the game, as well as the immersive feel of the story. The same, unfortunately, cannot be said for some of the main scene changes. The game visibly freezes while loading up some new areas, even the loading indicator freezes, and in some instances, the characters start talking before the screen loads up the images, so you are faced with a black screen and people talking. This can disconnect you from the action, especially, if you’re like me, and you get really engaged with the story!

Visually, The Walking Dead is still stunning, I have always been a fan of cell shaded graphics, ever since the release of The Wind Waker on the Game Cube. Telltale pull of the style flawlessly, and it adds to the comic book feel, an obvious nod to the source material. Surprisingly, even the gore works well, even though it isn’t hugely graphic, the vibrant reds contrast well with the darker tones of the post apocalyptic setting, making it stand out all the more.

In Harms Way picks up right where episode two left off, and players are instantly faced with decisions. Should you side with an old friend, or do you side with your new ‘family’? Do you try to escape, or do you play the waiting game? Telltale seem to be masters at making us feel uncomfortable, as The Walking Dead plays out more like a feature length film, or like it’s TV show counter part, and the fact we are aware that our choices have consequences really makes it harder to make those split second choices.

In Harms Way it quite fast paced, you’re thrown into the thick of things when you arrive at your new camp, and I noticed that Clem is much more of an adult in this season, not only does she look older, but she is definitely a stronger character mentally. I like how Telltale have linked her behaviour to Lee, and there are still references to the previous protagonist, especially Clem’s curse word of choice: “Oh shit!”. Your team want out, and turn to Clem to help them, it feels that they often mistake the 12 year old girl for an adult, and they put a lot of pressure on her to make the hard calls, which furthers my view that Clem has mentally developed far beyond her physical years. One downside of this, is I don’t feel as protective over her as I did in season 1, but maybe that’s Telltale’s plan?

This episode introduces a few new characters, one of which I took an instant dislike to, but I feel he was needed to expand the characterisation of Carver, and to make us hate him even more, which again, has a pivotal role in the ultimate outcome of the guy. An enemy becomes a friend, which I could see happening, and we do lose a friend along the way, but I felt it happened a little too fast, so I didn’t really connect with the loss, but that being said, it is possible I’m getting use to losing people, so I tend not to get too attached.

Clem’s relationship with Sarah continues to grow based on how you, as the player decides it should, and I am intrigued to how this will play out in the end game. It’s hard not to feel sorry for the girl, it’s clear that Carlos is trying to shield her from the dangerous new world, but his molly coddling is having the opposite effect. I personally keep sticking up for Sarah, helping her where I can, and generally, trying to ensure she trusts Clem.

Without giving too much away, there is a lot at stake, and In Harms Way makes sure you understand you can lose a character at any given second. Your choices are clearly going to have some major ramifications in the final two episodes, and I think Telltale are unfolding this story perfectly. The final scene is short lived, but it is epic as it is short, and leaves you wanting more, with not a lot of time to reflect on your final choice. I look forward to episode 4, especially seeing how episode 3 ended, and I urge any who have not played season 2 up to this point so far to do so.







EXCELLENT
The Good
The Bad
A few minor loading issues, but other than that, Telltale continue to deliver a high level of quality that we have come to expect
This review is based on playing the PlayStation 4 version of The Walking Dead Season 2: Episode 3 "In Harms Way" that was kindly provided for review purposes by Telltale Games.


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