The Walking Dead, Season 2, Episode 3: In Harm’s Way is a point and click adventure game now available for download on PC, XLA, PSN, and iOS. The cost is $4.99 per episode or $19.99 for the season pass.
Last time on The Walking Dead The Game Season 2, the episode picked up right after Clementine had chosen to help either Nick or Pete when walkers attacked them by the streams. The outcome of this choice doesn’t save or kill either person. Pete had already been bit and would die sooner or later, even if Clementine helped him out. Nick would get away from the walkers, whether Clem helped him or not. Eventually, Clementine would make it back to the cabin alone. Some of the group had already gone out searching for them and the rest would go and join the search after Clementine returned. Before leaving, Carlos entrusted Clementine with watching over his daughter, Sarah. It didn’t remain quiet at the cabin for long, as Carver would make an unscheduled visit to the cabin. He questioned Clementine, searched the cabin, and left with a certain belief that the people he was searching for were staying in the cabin. The rest of the group would return (except Nick and Pete) to the cabin after this ordeal and agree that it was time to move on, before Carver returned. The group would then head north, only stopping to either find Nick or the remains of Pete. Days later, the group came upon a big bridge over a river, on a road leading up to a mountain ski lodge. Luke and Clementine decided to scout ahead and cross first. They came across some walkers, dispatched of them, and made it across. At the other end was a man with a gun. It turned out that the man was a good guy, but something happened in the middle of their conversation. Nick ran up thinking the man was a bad guy, shot him, and killed him. After that incident the group continued up the mountain to the ski lodge. It was there that they were greeted by none other than Clementine’s old friend and group member, Kenny. Kenny had a new girlfriend named Sarita. They were staying at the ski lodge with a man named Walt and his partner, Matthew. After some initial apprehension, the two groups managed to make nice, and peacefully enter the ski lodge. The ski lodge was a perfect shelter, fully stocked, and was even decorated for Christmas. Clementine took some time before dinner to catch up with Kenny, mingle with others, and notice the absence of Matthew. Through some investigating, Clementine and Luke would discover that the man Nick shot was Matthew. Walt would quickly discover that one of them had killed Matthew by discovering Matthew’s combat knife in Clementine’s pack (she picked it up at a station next to the bridge). Whether Nick would come clean or not, was up to Clementine, and her power of persuasion. Things only got worse from that point as the ski lodge’s wind turbine began to make a lot of noise from the high winds caused by the coming storm. The noise attracted lots of walkers. The group would survive the walker attack, only to be assaulted by Carver’s men. Most of the group is rounded up by Carver’s men and the following confrontation had different outcomes depending on how Clementine and Kenny chose to handle it. Carver wanted Alvin and Rebecca to come out of hiding. No matter what choices are made, Carlos will definitely be tortured, and Walt will definitely die in retaliation for Kenny killing one of Carver’s men. If Clem was with Kenny, he would shoot another of Carver’s men, and Alvin would die in retaliation. However, if she gave up, Carver would threaten to kill Clementine instead, and force Kenny to surrender. The episode ended with the whole group, except Luke, captured by Carver.
This time on The Walking Dead Season 2, the episode picks up fairly shortly after the last episode left off. The group, now in Carver’s custody, are being transported to his community inside of a big Howe’s Hardware shop. Once there, the group are thrown into a gated, outdoor internment camp. Clementine, Kenny, and the rest will be put to work making Carver’s community a better place. They truly are in harm’s way, in more ways than one. On the inside, the group are threatened by Carver; on the outside, the whole community is threatened by a huge herd of walkers headed their way. It’s up to Clementine to try and get the group out of harm’s way, before it’s too late.
The first thing I have to say about In Harm’s Way is regarding it’s relation to 400 Days. As you might know, there were five playable characters in that DLC: Bonnie, Russell, Vince, Wyatt, and Shel (with her sister Becca). I understand it so much more now that I’ve played this episode. We didn’t get the full picture in that episode. It was five one shots about each character with one scene tying them together at the end. That scene had a woman named Tavia attempt to recruit the six of them to come with her to her community. Depending on the player’s choices, some or all of them would choose to go with Tavia. I brought them all with me in my playthrough. I can say that all of them make an appearance in this episode, but only one of them is a featured character. Tavia also plays a pretty significant role in the episode too. I love how they teased these characters and this idea, and tied it all together in this episode. It’s a big “aha!” moment. Well, more a collection of moments, but you know what I mean. I’ve also got to say that they really tricked me with the DLC. I have been guessing for almost a year now about what happened next and I was definitely wrong. I definitely appreciate that DLC episode more after playing this episode, and vice versa.
My next big impression In Harm’s Way came from Carver. I guess we all knew he was a villain by the end of the last episode, but I didn’t know how good (bad) a villain he was until I played this episode. Damn. I wouldn’t say that he’s the best villain of all Walking Dead time, but he’s up there. The game needed someone like him. The crazy father last season was good, but I viewed the walkers as the main villain of the season. The walkers have to stay relevant, but to keep things fresh, they needed a good villain for season 2, and they gave us one in Carver. I don’t think he’s crazy, I think he’s just BAD. I also think he thinks being bad keeps himself and everyone alive. It’s necessary. The Walking Dead is all about lines. Where do YOU think the line is? Is it crossing the line to murder for survival? How about stealing for survival? You get the point. Everyone has a different opinion. Let’s just say that Carver doesn’t have to travel far to cross where he thinks the line is.
The last big thing that I want to talk about is Clementine. I don’t know about other Clementine’s, but my Clementine has become almost unrecognizable at times. That little girl is growing up and becoming a badass. She doesn’t do anything that is particularly out of her likely abilities. She’s not Hit Girl from Kick-Ass. She’s a realistic badass little girl, with wisdom and heart too. Another common theme in The Walking Dead is that some people just seem to have the survival instinct in them. Rick Grimes being one obvious example. As much as I loved Lee, I’m not sure if he had it. He had a lot going for him. He had a drive to take care of Clementine and he did. However, he got bit in broad daylight in a stupid situation. To make matters worse, he didn’t think to immediately chop his arm off; though, it did eventually happen too late. There’s nothing wrong with any of that, but there’s no way that that would happen to Rick. I don’t think that would happen to Clementine either. I think that she has that same survival instinct that Rick Grimes has. Against all odds, Clementine has, and will, survive anything that comes her way. (I think that Kenny might have it too.)
In Harm’s Way is a narrative-driven point and click adventure game. The gameplay is the same as in the last episode. One thing worth mentioning is that I did fix the problem that I mentioned in my last review. I had trouble with the Season 1 saves correctly carrying over to Season 2. What I did to fix it was erase all of my saved games in both seasons and play all the way through again. There might have been an easier way to fix it, but I enjoyed playing through all of the previous episodes again, leading into this episode.
The Bottom Line
I don’t know how Telltale does it. They are chugging their episodes out every month now and yet the quality doesn’t suffer for either series. I would say that some episodes are better than others, though. That’s the case with In Harm’s Way. This episode was spectacular. I love the way the narrative is going. I thoroughly enjoyed the way 400 Days tied in to everything. There’s a great villain in Carver and a great protagonist in Clementine. Also: real characters, intriguing plot, thoughtful dialogue, intense gameplay, and tough choices! I love it. The bottom line is that this is the best episode so far this season. And that’s saying a lot. I have no clue where the last two episodes of this season are going to take us, but I can’t wait to find out!
Bonus points: EYE PATCH. You’ll understand when you play it.
The Rhodes Rating: 96/100
For all of my Walking Dead coverage, go here: http://stephenwrhodes.com/tag/the-walking-dead/
For all of my Telltale Games coverage, go here: http://stephenwrhodes.com/tag/telltale-games/