The Walking Dead: Episode 2 – ‘Starved for Help’ E3 2012 Preview

The Walking Dead

Telltale Games’ second entry in The Walking Dead episodic game series makes the choice to track a players’ every word and action, using those decisions to branch along diverging narrative paths each time they play the story. Playing a story is an apt description of what The Walking Dead: Episode 2 – “Starved for Help” is, and from what we saw at E3, multiple playthroughs will be almost a necessity – surely so if a player wishes to explore the game’s content in its entirety.

Food is running out and the survivors are on edge; watching a walker devour a rabbit feels like a great loss of potential sustenance. This hardship sets the tone of the episode, and players’ big, episode-one choices and all future actions as Lee will shape the way the story unfolds. Which relationships will thrive and which will suffer as the series continues are all up to players.

The Walking Dead: Episode 2 - Starved for Help

“Starved for Help” is essentially a choose-your-own-adventure story, driven by dialog and enhanced by a few key action scenes. In just a short demo, we saw more choice-based conversation sequences that we could count, and Telltale plans to track and record every single one, with all data being available to the series’ writers not only for the events already written into the episode, but to conjure up presently unknown consequences in later episodes.

Without revealing too much of a very spoiler-sensitive, narrative-focused game, we can say that a power struggle among the survivors develops in “Starved for Help” under the stress of diminishing rations and an increasing number of mouths to feed. Heat-of-the-moment decisions of whether and how to save an unfamiliar survivor, and less pressing, but equally consequential dilemmas of favoritism versus neutrality in a desperate situation appear to have dramatically different effects on the story’s progress, although players will have to continue the series to truly find out exactly what those effects may be.

The Walking Dead: Episode 2 - Starved for Help

One choice may earn a valuable ally, while another may provide some benefit in fighting the walkers. Even characters who don’t appear to be directly involved in a given situation will still notice what Lee chooses to do, and their perceptions of him will change accordingly.

The Walking Dead: Episode 2 – “Starved for Help” is tentatively scheduled to arrive by the end of this month on Steam, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. This game of decisions, consequences, reactions, and relationships is definitely one to look out for; its episodic nature aims to keep players hooked throughout the series, and its relentlessly acute attentiveness to player actions promises to keep things incredibly engaging.


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Author: Eddie Inzauto View all posts by
Eddie has been writing about games on the interwebz for over ten years. You can find him Editor-in-Chiefing around these parts, or talking nonsense on Twitter @eddieinzauto.

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