There are worse monsters than zombies…
After the first season of Telltale?s The Walking Dead set such a high bar, the beginning of Season Two was really nothing short of a letdown. This became particularly evident after Episode 2, since the first two episodes would?ve made a lot more sense as one longer setup.
On top of this, thus far, Season Two hasn?t seen the stellar pacing and the drama of the first season, and the void of the Lee/Clementine dynamic still hasn?t been replaced. Fortunately, Season Two: Episode 3 ? In Harm?s Way gets the narrative back on track and captures a lot of the magic that put Season One in everyone?s 2012 Game of the Year discussions.
After the cliffhanger ending of Episode 2, which saw the group forced to confront Carver before being dragged back to his compound, Clementine knows if they want to survive being in this madman?s clutches, they need to get out?and fast. She?ll need to make some new allies, and lean heavily on old ones, before Carver dooms them all.
In Harm?s Way features many more decisions with the potential to divide the group, leading to some fun dialogue choices that could emphasize and solidify the kind of character your particular Clem may be turning into. With the way I play, this had the added benefit of leading to Kenny and Luke starting to fill the hole of Lee?s absence, both as Clem?s protectors and as people she could look to for guidance.
This doesn?t mean that Clem becomes completely helpless, though, because she?s also always the first to volunteer to diffuse every dangerous situation?and often leads the charge to rebel against Carver. Unfortunately, like in much of the current season, this results in less puzzle-solving and exploration, but the tense and frantic action that replaces it is more than enough to take solace in.
While much of the episode did everything I wanted to renew my faith in the series, one nagging issue is the poor payoff from 400 Days. Although Carver?s compound and Bonnie, one of the five characters around which 400 Days revolved, are indeed focal points for this episode, the other characters from that narrative who joined Carver have nothing but throwaway cameos and maybe a single line of dialogue. In the grand scheme of things, I didn?t feel like anything was missing by not having Wyatt or Shel (there courtesy of my personal results from 400 Days) as integral parts of the action, but I still would?ve enjoyed a couple of lengthy conversations with them to make those final decisions in 400 Days feel worth it.
Despite this lackluster payoff from a previous episode, In Harm?s Way gets the series back on track. It returns to the first-season trademark of ending on a note that makes sense but leaves you with plenty of questions that have you begging for more. It also reminds you that no one is safe?this episode hammered that point home again. The group and its relationship dynamic can be turned on its head in an instant with just one or two poor decisions, which now will hopefully play out in spectacular fashion in Episode 4.
|Developer: Telltale Games ? Publisher: Telltale Games ? ESRB: M – Mature ? Release Date: 05.14.14|
Although the repercussions from decisions in 400 Days don?t prove as critical as Telltale promised, In Harm?s Way still gets Season Two back on track after it appeared to be losing itself in the first two episodes.
|The Good||A return to storytelling form.|
|The Bad||Not as much payoff for 400 Days as anticipated.|
|The Ugly||Clem accepting the fact that she?ll have to do everything herself.|
|The Walking Dead: Season Two: Episode 3 – In Harm’s Way is available on Xbox 360, PS3, PC, and iOS. Primary version reviewed was for Xbox 360. Review code was provided by Telltale for the benefit of this review.|