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The Walking Dead: Season 2 "In Harm's Way" review for PC, Xbox 360, PS3

Platform: PC
Also On: PS3, PS Vita, Xbox 360
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: M

I’ve been mildly underwhelmed by Season 2 of Telltale’s The Walking Dead, but with episode 3 I find my interest certainly rekindled. That’s not to say that the series had dipped severely in quality, but compared side by side with The Wolf Among Us, I felt like The Walking Dead was beginning to pale in comparison. However, episode 3, dubbed In Harm’s Way, really ratchets up the drama and action for this season in a surprising way. Without going into spoilers, lets just say that the Clementine’s group has jumped out of the frying pan, and directly into the fire.

The conversation and character choice moments in this episode may feel a little light, but that actually benefits this entry. You’re given a bit more time to move Clementine around different areas, interact with the environment, and so on. There’s still no real puzzle solving to speak of, but giving me more direct control over Clementine, and the ability to really get a look at my surroundings here, felt like a nice departure from the narrative-driven focus of the last couple episodes.

twd_203_capturedThis episode is also packed with gut-wrenching sequences, and the overall plot moves a lot faster than I would have anticipated. Coming off of the end of Episode 2, I would have thought that Clementine’s group would be confined to a singular location until the tail end of this season. But things quickly change, with new characters introduced, and more uses of the 400 Days DLC from the first season start to work their way in too. The final sequence for this episode is a harrowing experience, one that’s been shown before, but with a greater sense of danger this time around.

I don’t have much else to say though, as it’s hard to really go into specifics without discussing specific plot points. But I will say that this feels like an improvement over the past two episodes, both in narrative and gameplay. There’s still a heavy focus on the dialogue and choices made, but there’s a better balance here between that and area exploration than what we’ve seen so far. I also like that we get just a taste of the new cast members, with plenty of unanswered questions to unravel over the next two episodes. There’s a decent number of surprises, but nothing that feels too wild or out of place. There’s also a couple of particularly gruesome moments, which seem to hint heavily at the effect all of this violence is potentially having on Clementine’s state of mind.

twd_203_carverI’m certainly looking forward to seeing how this season shapes up, even more so now thanks to this episode. It will really be interesting to see what becomes of Clementine, not only in a physical sense, but psychologically as well. I’d imagine the developers and writers involved still have a few surprises up their sleeves, and thanks to the climatic ending of this episode, I have no idea what’s in store for the cast. Whatever it is, it’s sure to be interesting and absolutely terrifying.

Grade: A



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