The Walking Dead Episode 2 Review

If there’s a drawback to that, it’s that Episode 2 is focused almost entirely on storytelling and dialog options. Where Episode 1 had a number of puzzles to solve, even though they might be short-lived or somewhat simple, they still brought a gameplay aspect to the title. Episode 2 has almost no such puzzles to speak of. The nearest it gets is dismantling a machine or figuring out how to distract a character, but there didn’t seem to be much true puzzle-solving in this episode.

In fact, much of Episode 2 is more methodical and calculating. The story, however, more than makes up for what might feel like a lack of interactivity. Things get pretty messed up through the course of Episode 2, and there’s really no point at which I want to spoil it for you, so it’s tough for me to discuss. But where in Episode 1 players often had to make choices about who lived and who died, in Episode 2, those choices are not so clear-cut; they often carry personal, emotional and moral baggage. That the decisions are as tough and brutal as they are only serves to further highlight how great the story really is.

Making a solid return are The Walking Dead’s quick-time events, which make up for the lack of real puzzle-solving. I’m still very much on board with the game’s take on QTEs, which largely include button-tapping scenarios or fast-reflex moments in which players need to focus the mouse cursor on an object and click — and do nothing else. The elegance of these events is in their simplicity and in the feeling that the action on the keyboard or with the mouse mirrors what the character is doing. You don’t have to hit a meaningless sequence of buttons to make a character duck, jump, swing and run. You just need to point at the spot to hit with the ax, or the zombie’s forehead so you can kick it. The tension of these moments remains very high; they should be held as a standard for anyone who feels they want to add QTEs to their games.

I’m very positive on The Walking Dead Episode 2. I’d love to see more games tackle their subject matter in the same way Telltale is, with great storytelling and a refusal to compromise. The Walking Dead is engaging as much from its delicate character interaction as from its zombie-fighting tensest moments. And it manages to do horror beautifully.

If there’s a reduction in this episode, it’s that it feels less like a game and more like an interactive graphic novel. Some of the player agency and the challenge has pulled back in this episode. It’s only a slight deflation, though, and if you’re not playing The Walking Dead, you damn well should be.

Pros:

  • Top-notch writing and story continues
  • Extremely dark and adult, to its credit
  • Telltale puts players to some awesomely difficult decisions
  • Character interaction is delicate and thoughtful
  • Seeing previous decisions come to bear is great and bodes well for future episodes

Cons:

  • Reduction in gameplay in this episode: fewer puzzles, less to figure out
  • Episode is a bit buggier than the last one

Final Score: 85/100

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