The Walking Dead: Episode 2 - Starved for Help Review
Reviewing the second episode in a five part series is a little tricky. The gameplay mechanics are the same so the only real thing that's different here is the story, and I can't comment too much on the story without resorting to spoilers. Taking that into account, I think that the people most interested in a review of Starved for Help are those who've played Episode 1 and are still on the fence about getting the next episode and those who are waiting to see how well the entire series does critically before jumping in, so I'll take that into account in this review. I won't rehash all of the mechanics of the game or the gameplay style here, so if you're in that latter group I'll direct you to my Episode 1 review to get you started.
There are really two things to look at in a review of Episode 2, 1) the story and 2) whether or not the game can carry the momentum built in the first episode. As I noted earlier, I will not be dropping any spoilers here and I'll try to be careful, but in case you want to be sure that absolutely nothing is implied or inferred you may want to skip ahead to the next paragraph. As for the story, I have to say that Episode 2 is a lot slower than Episode 1. The slow pace builds to an action-packed and disturbing climax, but it certainly felt like it took a little more time than necessary getting there. Also, as far as an overall narrative goes, this episode felt more like an isolated encounter than it did a part of an overall story arc. It's not that those criticisms are necessarily knocks against the game, but I hope that they're not an indication that the story is being padded out to fill a full five episodes.
One of the core features of the series is that the choices that you make have an effect on your relationships with your fellow survivors and on how the story plays out. Some of these are life and death decisions, so I was certainly interested in how this would be handled going into the second episode. So far it seems that the game minimizes your encounters with the characters that may or may not still be around by keeping them on the sidelines for most of the time. While this certainly makes things easier on the developers, I hope that as the series progresses that this narrative trick is not overused because it will make each successive choice seem less and less critical. On the positive side, the game does do a good job of keeping your choices in forming alliances with your fellow survivors from being anything but black and white, and you'll probably find your loyalties shifting and feeling strained as Episode 2 plays out.
Overall, Episode 2 is worth playing and I enjoyed my time with it. I did find Episode 1 to be more intense overall and better paced, but Episode 2 is certainly good enough to warrant playing it and to have you looking forward to Episode 3.
Final Rating: 85%. Starved for Help slows the pace, but will still have you starved for Episode 3.