The Walking Dead: Season 2 - Episode 3: In Harm's Way - Xbox 360 Review

The first two episodes of The Walking Dead Season 2 escalated the tension by building up threat of Carver and the mystery of what happened between him and Clementine’s new survivor pals.  As she meets the group and tries to earn their trust, she keeps hearing about Carver and how awful it will be when he finds them and then if he catches up to them.  I felt that one of the biggest highlights in Episode 2 is a tense showdown when Clementine first meets with Carver.

In Episode 3, she gets to see him now in his own environment, the “camp” that had been hinted at for the rest of the season.  Can the story keep up the tension now that the threat on the fringe is realized?

I actually finished the episode a couple of days ago and it took me a little longer than normal to come to grips with how I felt about it.  After Episode 2, there were no doubts, I thought it was great as soon as I finished it and couldn’t wait for the next one. After a couple of days of reflection, I think this Episode 3 is “good”.  Initially, I felt a little disappointed by it, but wasn’t really sure why. 

More than anything, I think it just couldn’t meet the high standards I felt that Episode 2 had set.  That is probably a bit unfair, but it was my first reaction.  

I think part of it is that you don’t actually see much of the camp or many of the other people living there.  Full disclosure:  I played “400 Days”, but clearly didn’t make good decisions in that game (I was in a bit of a rush at the time and didn’t think too hard about them).  Bonnie was the only survivor in that game to join the camp and she is a lock from what I understand.  As such, I enjoyed it when she appeared and how she interacted with Clementine and Carver both.

Of the new characters that you meet in the camp, it felt like Bonnie was given the most to do and I appreciated her role.  It makes me extremely curious about what roles the other “400 Days” characters would have played in this game had they been there.  Part of me thinks that they couldn’t have been too integral to what happens, but who knows?  

I don’t have as much time as I used to have that I can play video games, so I tend to play through games once and I’m done.  I can either spend my limited time replaying games or trying out new ones.  Generally, I lean towards trying new ones.

Since the beginning of The Walking Dead game series, I’ve loved the decision making aspect and have always been curious about how much things could’ve changed if I had done something different at each point.  After five episodes of season 1, a mini-expansion, and two episodes of season 2, I’ve never felt the need to actually go back and re-play any of it to see what it would be like.

After this episode, though, I am sorely tempted to start up a new game from the start of “400 Days” just so I can see how much changes in this episode.  That has got to be a good thing.

And I still really like the direction they are taking with Clementine.  She is ultra-capable in this new world, which is something that Carver recognizes, and eventually, everyone in the game seems to accept.  I also appreciate that they leave some wiggle room for the player to determine how she handles

interactions with certain characters.  For example, the dialogue options when speaking to Sarah seem to always have options that let you be re-assuring, coddling, or straight up hostile towards her.  Do you want to try and settle her down by being nice and comforting, or do you try and slap her out of it and force her to accept the new ways of the world?  And if you choose one path, there are always options to support it farther down the line.

Not many quick time events this time around.  Not many graphical hitches either (again, as I mentioned in my Episode 2 review, I believe those two are linked).

So why wasn’t I in love with this one out of the gate?   I felt a little bit let down by the story itself and it is hard to get into why without getting too spoilery.  I think some the conflicts that we’ve been a part of this season were resolved too quickly.  I don’t think we saw enough of the camp or its inhabitants, which is a shame since we spent a whole episode there.  I also have to wonder how much some of the decisions really mattered up to this point.  There are at least 6 characters that may or may not have been in the episode based on previous decisions (between “400 Days” and the previous episode).  How much different would it play out if there were only one or two of them that made it, or all six?  Guess I’ll have to replay it and find out!

I also didn’t feel like there were that many decisions that I really had to think about.  Maybe it is the fact that I now have a good idea in my head of who my version of Clementine is and I don’t have to think about how she would react.  If that is why, then that is a very good thing.  But I also have a nagging suspicion that it is because the decisions this episode just weren’t as difficult to make.  I always enjoy seeing how my decisions compared with other players at the end of this episode.  With this one, I think I was in the majority every time and most of the decisions that Telltale tracked were more lopsided than I’ve seen before.

All that being said, there really is no excuse for you to not be playing this series.  As with every episode after Season 1, Episode 1, my advice is don’t try to start it mid-way through.  Start from the very beginning and you won’t be disappointed. The characters are still great, even the ones that clearly exist just to give you a “should I help them or not” decision point.

I’m definitely still hooked and am really interested to see how the next two episodes play out.  I’m not really sure where they are going to go to next with the story, but I can tell you one thing:  Don’t mess with Clementine.

8 out of 10

- Review by Jeff

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