Developer: Telltale Games
Release Date: May 13th, 2014
Available on: Mobile, PC, Playstation 3, Playstation Vita, Xbox 360
Reviewer’s Note: I played this game on the Xbox 360. There may be differences between versions.
I’m honestly not sure what’s next. This may be a good thing, The Walking Dead’s second season has finally left me stunned and stumped in the ways the first season managed to, and I’m almost scared not knowing what’s next for Clementine and her group.
At the start of the episode things are already looking bleak. Clementine and her friends, both new and old, have been captured by Carver and thrown into a cell in his camp. He promises to feed them and allow them into his community on the condition that they behave themselves. Not everyone is content with this arrangement though, especially thanks to Carver’s erratic and borderline psychopathic behavior. So Clementine and her friends begin to plan the great escape from the prison camp. The game is absolutely brilliant about how it goes about this too. Almost every character gets some kind of defining moment and helps play a big part in how the story advances. You’ll come to meet new characters and probably come to regret every decision you’ll end up making.
Of the new characters I found Jane to be extremely interesting. She seems to be a survivor, able to adapt to the new world and take on the challenge of making it through the zombies with some ease. You can also tell that not everything is right with her, and late in the game she uses some almost impressive acting skills to deceive a member of Carver’s group. She’s the kind of character that I can’t wait to see more of and that I really wonder what kind of effect she’ll have on Clementine. Likewise, Bonnie really comes into her own in this episode. 400 Days and Episode 2 only really hinted at the kind of things we’ll see with Bonnie, but this time around she’s great. On the other hand of the spectrum, we have Mark. He feels like one of those one episode minor characters who mostly just provides plot points, as he doesn’t really contribute anything the entire episode. So imagine my surprise when he’s still alive at the end of the episode. He’s really going to have to do something to stand out in Episode 4. Likewise, I was disappointed to see any non-Bonnie related choice in 400 Days be relegated to nothing more than a cameo.
Otherwise, In Harm’s Way plays exactly as you’d expect from a Walking Dead episode. There are some really neat scenes here, though one fight scene in a comic shop feels really forced. Likewise, some of the stealth segments later in feel kind of awkward. It’s not enough to bring the game down, the strength is in the story and decision making after all, but it still lacks some of the polish I’d like it to have. Also I’m starting to get tired of the “mash A even though there is no chance you’ll survive, but be saved at the last minute” thing. It’s starting to get old when it shows up twice per episode.
Some weak gameplay aside, In Harm’s Way is the strongest episode yet. The story’s twists and turns and the decisions you can make along the way make it all worth it. Clementine’s adventure is still going strong, and I’m extremely excited for episode 4 now.