The Walking Dead Episode 2: Starved for Help
Reviewed by Brandy Shaul
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2012-07-05 Xbox 360 Action/Adventure M (Mature) Telltale Games

Note: This review contains overall plot elements but we have avoided spoilers wherever possible.

After getting a sneak preview of Telltale's The Walking Dead Episode 2: Starved for Help at E3, this second installment of the graphic-novel-turned-game jumped to the top of my must-play list, and luckily, I didn't have to wait long to jump back into Lee's shoes.

This second installment takes place three months after the events of Episode 1: A New Day, and sees the group being introduced to a new character, Mark, whose personal stockpile of supplies as seen our heroes through the last three months. Now, food is incredibly scarce and tempers are hot, but a group of three strangers from the local dairy farm offers the potential for a never-ending supply of food, in exchange for gasoline to keep the farm's generator (and electric fence) operational.

Starved for Help immediately tests your moral character, as you're given the opportunity to ration supplies for the entire group, and becomes even more so once you begin to investigate the dairy farm, where things might not be as peachy as they seen. And, like the first installment, this chapter allows you to further your ties with either Kenny or Lily, and separate yourself farther from the other(s). Plot twists and foreshadowing are huge elements of this chapter from beginning to end, and if you've allowed yourself to become completely absorbed in the storyline, there are true moments of dread as you are forced to make decisions or simply advance the plot.

While there are still a few life-or-death choices in this second chapter of the Walking Dead, many outwardly seem more cut and dry than those of the first act, depending on how you react to the aforementioned plot twist. This entire chapter contains more action and gore than the first, even though the Walkers (zombies) are more of a secondary focus. These are both improvements over the first chapter, which served more as an introduction to our characters. To be clear, this isn't to say that the first episode was boring, but that this second episode really drives home the desperation so often found in this new world.

Starved for Help will take you around two and a half hours to complete, even if you pause every now and again to weigh the pros and cons of certain choices, and throughout it all, you'll make five major decisions that are tracked alongside other players' choices at the end.

There are unfortunately a few technical hiccups to encounter along the way, mostly concerning the transition from scripted cutscenes to player-controlled gameplay, and one of these is in a particularly nasty spot, causing Lee to perish if you're not fast enough to respond when you do regain control. Still, these are more general annoyances than real deal-breakers, and the overall enjoyment factor is definitely there.

While not a true sequel, Starved for Help is overall a more entertaining experience than A New Day (which was already fantastic), simply because of its position in the overall Walking Dead storyline. We aren't being introduced to this world or its main characters anymore. The world has gone to Hell and we're simply thrown in the middle to try and survive, allowing for more complexity in the number of individual story arcs taking place throughout the episode. Putting it simply, the Walking Dead Episode 2: Starved for Help is a fantastic addition to the series, and it comes with our highest recommendation.