|System: PS3, Xbox 360, PC*|
|Dev: Telltale Games|
|Pub: Telltale Games|
|Release: May 13, 2014|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Strong Language|
Alright, is everyone back with us? Good. I would hesitate to call The Walking Dead Season 2: Episode 3 – In Harm’s Way “fun” but then again it’s not supposed to be. It’s an incredible piece of media, one that everyone should experience, but it doesn’t produce the same feelings that a “fun” game does.
Rather, this episode makes you think. It makes you examine the things you are doing in new lights. It forces you to make actions like the “examine butterfly” one in the intro, just because it makes the things that happen afterward feel more poignant. You’ll find that this happens a lot over the episode. You’ll be forced to walk down a hallway to continue a scene just because it feels like you have a role in it. You’ll talk with someone several times just to keep the story moving. Where normally this would feel like a chore in any other game, The Walking Dead makes it feel as if every action you take has meaning, because you are the one who is taking them.
There are a couple game-y elements The Walking Dead Season 2: Episode 3 – In Harm’s Way. You’ll encounter a few stealth sections, some timed puzzles, and of course the zombie fighting quick time events. You’ll also see some pretty drastic consequences of your choices in episodes 1 and 2, sometimes coming down to characters that live or die and their impact on the direction the story goes.
However, once again the majority of this game hinges on its spectacular dialogue, fantastic dialogue choices, and other cinematic elements. The game also manages to lay out environments in such a way that you end up hearing even more cinematic dialogue than you usually would. The thing you need to advance the scene will usually be in an unlikely area, and as you wander around trying to find it, you’ll hear even more backstory. The animations are also smooth as always and the voice acting is, once again, some of the best in the industry, which just makes the story even more believable.
If I had to nitpick the game a bit, I could notice a couple flaws. For one, the camera tends to jitter a lot, especially during scripted sequences. This only seems to happen if you move the cursor in an attempt to control the camera, but it still can be quite jarring, and if you don’t move the cursor back to a neutral position the camera will continue to jitter all throughout the scene.
This episode also features the return of a lot of characters from 400 Days. However, I kind of feel like this was missed potential. With the exception of one character whose 400 Days story isn’t even mentioned, all of the 400 Days characters are really sort of cameos. They will say one or two words to you as you walk past them and that’s about it. They don’t play any major part in the story and don’t interact with you in any meaningful way. I really would have liked to see these characters integrated with the plot a bit more.
But aside from those few gripes, The Walking Dead Season 2: Episode 3 – In Harm’s Way is still a phenomenal game. The episodes truly do feel like they are getting better and better with each passing one. Let’s hope that Telltale can keep up this string of hits right up to the conclusion of the series. Only two episodes left now!
Angelo M. D’Argenio
Date: May 13, 2014