The Walking Dead: Episode 3- In Harm’s Way Review
-Your own version of Clementine begins to really take shape
-Tough moral choices that you must respond to quickly
-By the end, you're left wanting more
-Not as much gameplay as in previous episodes
-Dialogue choices are the basis of decisions you make this episode
**WARNING!! Slight spoilers for the game may follow**
At this point, I’m starting to wonder if TellTale will ever make a mistake with one of The Walking Dead games. Every time a new episode releases, my initial reaction is pretty underwhelming. However, after I finish the each episode I am always left with my jaw on the floor. By the end of In Harm’s Way, I experienced the same jaw-dropping feeling that further cements TellTale as the master of episodic gaming.
Essentially, this episode is a classic prison break scenario. After being captured by Carver and his gang in the last episode, Clementine and the rest of her group must find a way to escape the compound they have been placed in. Trust, an important theme in The Walking Dead, is as important as ever; being introduced to a group of new characters, the player quickly must decide who you can be trusted to help you escape. With lives on the line, it’s important to make sure the people you open up to are able to be trusted.
This is now the third episode that the player has used Clementine as the main character, and we are seeing how the decisions we make are molding Clem. TellTale endows the player with the ability to create the Clementine of our choosing; this episode reflects that more than any other before. So, whether you want Clem to be heartless and vengeance seeking or a timid, quiet little girl, you will be able to see your actions reflected. Seeing how Clementine develops as a character causes a larger impact on the choices the player makes throughout the course of the game.
While it’s great to finally see your actions having an effect on the game as a whole, this episode’s spotlight was stolen by Bill Carver. Being introduced as Carver in episode two, he quickly showed himself as the villain. Well, the hate and loathing for Carver only increases in this episode.
For those familiar with the comic book source material, writer Robert Kirkman always does a fantastic job of making you absolutely despise the antagonists. From Negan to The Governor, the graphic novels have always elicited a response of pure hatred from readers towards the villainous characters. Luckily, TellTale has been able to duplicate Kirkman’s formula for “Villain Making 101” and added Carver to the list of famous Walking Dead characters you would never want to meet in real life. He bullies his way around and physically harms more than just one person in this episode. If you aren’t a fan of violence, then this may be a hard episode for you to get through since nearly every scene that contains Carver is cringe-worthy.
For those that played The Walking Dead: 400 Days, this episode also begins to shed more light on what happened to the characters that we saw in the Season one epilogue. While not much information is given on the characters, if you pay attention you will recognize a handful of them from 400 Days. It’s still uncertain if these characters will end up playing a bigger role in the overall plot in coming episodes but it’s still nice to see TellTale keeping fans on their toes by dropping the characters into certain scenes in the game.
As far as the gameplay goes, nothing is too different this time from previous episodes. By this point we’ve grown accustomed to the dialogue choices and quick-time event sequences. It is to be noted though that in episode three there is far less walk-around gameplay. While there still are sequences where you will walk around a location and discover new items, it is far less often and when it does occur, it is very linear. This episode focuses more on the dialogue and decisions you make in that regard, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
If you have played previous episodes of The Walking Dead, then there is no reason to stop now. Season two is finally starting to hit it’s stride and with two more episodes remaining, it will be interesting – and most likely heart breaking – to see how things wrap up. WIth a strong story that will keep you fully invested for the almost two hour length, episode three of The Walking Dead is not one that should be missed.
This is more of the same great experience that we have come to expect from The Walking Dead. Even though it is an Indie title, this series continues to deliver as though it were a triple-A game. Whether you have played this series in the past or are still considering throwing down the money to try it, episode three firmly establishes that everyone should be playing this game right now.