The Walking Dead - Season 2 Episode 2
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Game Reviewed: The Walking Dead - Season 2 Episode 2
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Platform: PC, Mac, Xbox 360, PS3, iOS, PSVita, Ouya
ESRB Rating: M
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At this point, having written reviews of the first season and the first episode of the second season, I feel there’s little I can say about this game that I haven’t said already. It’s incredible, it’s one of the best explorations of the human psyche under pressure I’ve ever seen, and you owe it to yourself to experience it provided you’re mature enough to handle the graphic, and dare I say entirely justified, content.
To recap the basics, however, this series is based on The Walking Dead, which originally sprung from Robert Kirkman’s comic series and has since branched into a television show (which thankfully has nothing to do with this game—not that it has much to do with the comics anyway) and another game called Survival Instinct, which is to be avoided at all costs if you value good art and game design. This series seeks to use the zombie apocalypse as a backdrop to explore the various ways characters react to intense situations under immense amounts of pressure, and at it’s best (that is, the comics and this game series), it does so very effectively.
This game series is exceptional in the way it allows you to explore that theme yourself; instead of just watching characters act and react, you are tasked with making major decisions that will alter your relationships with the characters around you, and sometimes, their very lives. You are faced with very difficult decisions that stretch your morality and force you to confront some truly difficult issues within your own worldview, and you come out of the experience with a richer understanding of yourself as a result. It truly is one of the greatest things of which video games are capable, and this game does it remarkably well.
So then, this latest installment is episode 3 of season 2. Does it live up? Will it be any more or less appropriate for you or your children?
What Parents Need to Know
Being a story about zombies, the violence is rather graphic. Zombies will be missing limbs, or have parts of their body so torn up you can see muscle and bone. They can also be killed in a variety of ways, with a variety of bladed or projectile weapons. People die too, of course. Someone is pushed off a roof. Someone else is beaten badly until their face is disfigured. One person is shot and left for zombies to eat. Someone bashes someone else’s skull in graphically with a crowbar (though the player can choose not to see that one, which is more of a meaningful character choice than it sounds).
Language is used ranging from the F-word to all sorts of lesser swear words. No point in outlining all of them; they’re said commonly by many characters. Just, lots of swearing. Lots of it.
Nothing to speak of.
Nothing of note.
(SPOILERS) As always, this game offers many moral choices, and the player can act in many ways. So it’s worth noting that they can act vengefully or violently, but can also act with forgiveness and a level head.
One character in this episode is, put simply, a horrible person. He kills anyone not of use to him, beats characters multiple times, verbally abuses them, and forces a man to slap his daughter as punishment for speaking out of turn. Clementine is given the choice to watch as this man is killed in a deservedly gruesome manner.
A Child’s Perspective:
I wouldn’t want my child to play this game (if I had one), so I’m not going to ask it of anyone else’s.
So, back to the question asked before: is Episode 3 any more or less appropriate for you or your children than previous episodes in the series (which, by the way, you absolutely should play before this)?
As usual, the answer is no. This episode in particular is actually relatively graphic and intense compared to most others in the series, due mostly to the antagonist being one of the most morally corrupt characters in the series. It won’t be more than you can handle if you were all right with the previous episodes, but it certainly is not a step toward family-friendliness. The Walking Dead is still a very mature story with highly mature themes and a presentation is, honestly, largely dependent on its mature content to give its story the weight it carries. As usual, I would highly recommend it, but only for those mature enough to handle the huge amount of violence, language, and complex moral situations. Which means your kid is probably too young.