The Walking Dead: Season Two - Episode Three: In Harm’s Way review
The Good:

Dynamic between Kenny and Clementine is beautifully handled; appealing graphic novel-style presentation; another riveting cliffhanger ending.

The Bad:

Game starts very slowly and takes a long time to pick up momentum; gameplay takes a back seat to dialogue choices and cinematics strung together; even shorter than its predecessors at only 90 minutes.

Our Verdict:

The Walking Dead’s middle instalment begins with an overly long, slow burn, though it gradually builds toward the tense excitement that series fans have become accustomed to.

The third instalment of The Walking Dead’s second season is arguably the most disturbing to date, with gruesome death scenes and brutal repercussions for the choices players have to make. Unfortunately, the first half of the episode is a slow plod until it starts to build momentum towards the end, ultimately ending with a terrific cliffhanger that makes waiting for the follow-up difficult.

Continuing on from the last episode, In Harm’s Way starts with Clementine and her new comrades being led into Carver’s establishment in restraints by armed guard. It’s not the warmest of welcomes, and you’ll soon find yourself confined to a small enclosed yard with little beyond a handful of floor beds and a few fellow prisoners.

The episode starts out slowly, content to build dread for the group’s safety in the face of Carver’s increasingly hostile actions. This mostly involves frequent but small dialogue choices for Clementine, with very little actual character control or environmental interaction as you transition from scene to scene. From a troubling situation that sees Carlos forced to physically discipline his daughter Sarah, to brief conversations with those closest to Carver who demonstrate their intimidation and fear, the emphasis in the first half is to instil a proper sense of the danger Carver represents and the ever-constant threat for those who oppose his rule.

Particular attention is given to the sheltered Sarah, who struggles with the reality of the group’s situation. This is a shining point for the episode, as Sarah continually gets not only herself but the rest of the group in trouble by acting her age, whilst the younger Clementine acts as the group’s pillar, able to overcome the difficulties they face and provide hope for a way out of their predicament. One such contrasting instance has Sarah struggling to perform a menial task given to her, where Clementine is given the choice to step in and assist her, to the detriment of her own progress as a result.

The dialogue options offer a glimpse of the inner strength Clementine has gained over the course of her adventure, often referencing her past challenges and accomplishments. Recurring examples of this can be seen through the interactions between Kenny and Clementine. Season One often exposed Kenny’s selfish nature, but his recent return to the cast in Season Two has shown him to be a warmer character. Throughout Episode Three, there are moments when Kenny looks to Clementine both for support and to take ownership of difficult tasks, which is handled with great care to always keep his ultimate intentions obscured. I found myself struggling to judge his character and eagerly awaited the eventual conclusion to learn if my faith in him was misplaced or not. As it turned out, the closing moments of the episode resulted in a conclusion that I did not anticipate at all.

Throughout the episode, there is once again a sprinkling of Quick Time Events to complement the slower-paced dialogue sequences. These are mostly restricted to aiming and clicking to defend yourself against the zombie hoard, but there are a few that require keyboard (or gamepad) directional presses. One particular event had me frantically shuffling behind a fallen bookcase in deadly peril, but the game failed to recognise my inputs on multiple occasions, resulting in Clementine’s gruesome demise.

The bulk of the (limited) player control is spent making tough dialogue choices that’ll affect how you are perceived and the potential outcome for the group, though the level of impact can be varied. There’s a small amount of exploration and some minor contextual interactions outside of the critical path, but these gameplay elements are certainly on the infrequent side, a limitation that contributes significantly to the short 90-minute play time.

As ever, the art direction is fantastic, with its graphic novel painterly style. The environments feel overly repetitive this time around, mostly revolving around the drab prison-like yard, but this helps you relate to the grim depression of the group, now largely deprived of sunlight and greenery in the outside world. The audio is also top-notch once again, with music that subtly accompanies the action, never intruding on the immersion. The always-reliable voice acting is stellar as usual, particularly in the case of Michael Madsen’s portrayal as Carver and the much-loved Clementine.

Episode Three: In Harm’s Way allows Clementine to grow into her most dominant role to date. There’s a clear focus on giving Clementine a stronger connection with the other core group characters, particularly Carlos, Sarah and Kenny, but the episode as a whole hits a lull due to the plodding pace and limited interaction. But whilst the episode starts slowly, the scenes leading up to the closing moments ramp up to a climatic finale of unpredictable chaos that Telltale seems to have perfected at this point. It’s hard to gauge where the series will proceed next, as the closing moments leave potential future story paths wide open. I’m anxious to find out, though I continue to hope for a little more player agency in bringing the story to its ultimate conclusion.



AD The Walking Dead: Season Two - Episode Three: In Harm’s Way can be purchased at:
Gamersgate   • Apple App Store   • Amazon  

Game Info

The Walking Dead: Season Two - Episode Three: In Harm’s Way

Platform:
Android, iPad, iPhone/iPod Touch, Mac, PC, PlayStation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One

Genre:
Drama, Horror

Developer:
Telltale Games


Game Page »

Digital May 13 2014 Telltale Games

Where To Buy

The Walking Dead: Season Two - Episode Three: In Harm’s Way

Available at

Available on the

Get it at

Affiliate Links

User Score

Average based on 6 ratings

Log in or Register to post ratings.

User Reviews



Screenshots
Showing 3 of 27

About the Author
Reece Warrender
Staff Writer

Comments

incometrader
Jun 7, 2014

I’m just happy to see the lame characters die off and replaced with much better ones.

Other than that it was pretty much the same as previous episodes.

Sam2
Jun 11, 2014

Three stars?  And if the official game forums are any indication, it seems that the third episode has left much of the goodwill that people have carried over from the first season spent, and that is a relief for me, as mine was extinguished almost entirely with the first episode and the consequences of the time skip in respect to Clementine’s character. With worry finally rising to a fever pitch, it is high time that this season’s glaring negatives should be pointed out. 

Much, from lack of hubs to the lack in character relationships to the lack of responsiveness and of general consistency, has been criticised, but for me, the protagonist herself and her character development have always been the central focus, the highest stakes, and one critical aspect relating to that was put expertly into words by the reviewer himself, words that I have quoted several times elsewhere and that I thought nailed the point so well and emphasised that stroke of realism to her character that made up a critical and necessary part of the winning formula that defined the first season and served to offer one of the benchmarks by which to measure the second.  I strongly urge the reviewer not to forget them; they should be kept persistently in mind.

“Portraying children in videogames has always proven extremely difficult; they either come across as too needy and frustrating or too mature and unrealistic in the given context. Clementine is neither of these, fitting exactly in between…the events that play out in the finale will have you so emotionally attached to Clementine it’ll catch you by surprise. It’s beautiful and brilliantly executed.”

By contrast:

“whilst the younger Clementine acts as the group’s pillar, able to overcome the difficulties they face and provide hope for a way out of their predicament. “

Thanks in good part to the entirely unexpected and disastrous time gap, that critical balance immediately became the game’s first casualty (both of Sarah and Clementine now occupying one or the other of those caricaturish extremes), and this episode especially served to flaunt the season’s brazen intent to abandon that concept entirely—I’d say cavalierly—with fatal, irreversible results as I see it to a character arc that was being painstakingly constructed with serious and meticulous care during the last season.

Conditional Love Conditional Love
Jun 11, 2014

What can I say? It is another brilliant TellTale episode. Clementine continues to shine and there are more difficult moments that I love playing. It is wonderful that you can notice the after-effects of your previous choices (particularly from 400days). It feels like Seasons 2 of The Walking Dead is finally heading in the right direction for a glorious episode 5 finale (because episode-1 & 2 seemed to be going nowhere).

I think Episode-3 was a 4 out of 5 stars for me, but then I am Telltale fan: very good but not at the heights of some of the other brilliants episodes.



Post a comment

You need to be logged in to post comments. Not a member? Register now!

Also check out...

The Journey Down: Chapter Two review

PC Mac Linux iPhone iPad

Neverending Nightmares feature

PC Mac Linux