In the wake of the zombie apocalypse, even the most noble and good hearted individuals can become just as inhumane as the walking deceased. The battle waged in The Walking Dead: Episode 2 is not against a zombie hoard, but within the group of survivors lead by our main character Lee. Regardless of the decisions made in Episode 1, no one will be prepared to face the horrors coming from what happens when even unlikely heroes are forced to become monsters.
Three months passed since we last saw the Macon natives attempting to find some way to survive another day, and the lack of food and support has made it almost impossible. The tough decision to decide who will eat that day not only tears at your heart, but sets the tone for what transpires the rest of that day. It would be unfair to go through any specifics of the second episode, since my particular outcomes will greatly differ from what other players experience. It's safe to say things are definitely not as they seem. And by the shocking conclusion, no one will be the same.
This was the first game to include a morality system or system of choice I have not tried to “game” or look up a strategy for the best result. Honestly that’s because in The Walking Dead, there is no “best” result to be found. People will not survive, friends will become enemies, and even in death there is no escape. The way conversations present themselves forces the player to make tough decisions without dwelling over what the best outcome may possibly be; it's a real test of what each individual player would do if they were in a similar situation. I enjoyed the fact that the consequences were hard to deal with, and made my playthrough impactful in a way I have not yet experienced in a video game. As Lee, I found myself trying to be a good person while still fighting to survive and do what is best for the group of survivors. The realization comes very early on that you cannot do both without sacrificing something important to you. In order to see another day in this hell on earth, characters will do unspeakable things to disappoint others -- even the ones we have promised to protect.
Mechanically, the second installment seemed to have less action moments, as well as less puzzles to solve. It's almost as if Telltale is going away from the adventure background they are so well known for, and instead replacing the game with more interactive experiences that define character relationships while foreshadowing future events. With the exception of longer load times and a few contextual mistakes, the game itself runs well and allows the player to become immersed in the story, and see the pain and suffering that comes from a zombie outbreak first hand.
The Walking Dead: Episode 2 succeeds in every way to make the experience of survival as hard and heartbreaking as it should be, while putting into motion events that ultimately decide the fate of every character involved in the story. No decision was ever easy, but regardless of the outcome I stood by my choices and was willing to face the consequences. No other title has had that effect, and it's why the fine group of people at Telltale Games accomplished something very special. I hope the next installment of The Walking Dead follows up on the two previous entries, because they have been phenomenal so far.
Four out of Five Hadokens