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

The Walking Dead: Season Two - Episode 3: In Harm’s Way review
The Walking Dead: Season Two - Episode 3: 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.

What our readers think of The Walking Dead: Season Two - Episode Three: In Harm’s Way

Readers rating

Very good

4 stars out of 5
Average based on 9 ratings
Your rating
Log in or Register to post ratings.
No reader reviews yet... Why don't you share your review?


Adventure games by Telltale Games

The Wolf Among Us (Series)
PC, Mac, Android, iOS, PS, Xbox

The Wolf Among Us (Series) 2018

This new season will begin a fresh story arc for its returning cast of characters, featuring the return of Adam Harrington as Bigby Wolf and Erin Yvette as Snow White.

» View all games in this series
Walking Dead (Series)

Walking Dead (Series) 2018

This fourth and final season will focus on Clementine in the lead role, allowing players to fully step back into the shoes of the popular character.

» View all games in this series
Batman (Series)
PC, Mac, Android, iOS, PS, Xbox

Batman (Series) 2018

What would you choose: a friend whose unhinged approach to justice turns your allies against you, or a sworn enemy who will stop at nothing to see you suffer as your city burns? Based on the relationship you’ve built with John Doe, you’ll see one of two very different stories pla

» View all games in this series
Minecraft (Series)
PC, Mac, Android, iOS, PS, Xbox

Minecraft (Series) 2017

The home Jesse left so long ago, Beacontown, has succumbed to the iron rule of the Admin. Menacing guards patrol the streets, anxious citizens tremble in fear, and worst of all, everyone believes Jesse is responsible thanks to the Admin’s devious disguise. In order to save the city, the re

» View all games in this series
Guardians of the Galaxy (Series)
PC, Mac, Android, iOS, PS, Xbox

Guardians of the Galaxy (Series) 2017

As the galaxy is threatened once again and the stakes grow ever more personal, Peter must rally the Guardians against their greatest challenge yet: themselves.

» View all games in this series
Tales from the Borderlands (Series)
PC, Mac, Android, iOS, PS, Xbox

Tales from the Borderlands (Series) 2015

Rhys, a Hyperion ‘suit’ with dreams of being the next Handsome Jack, and Fiona, a Pandoran con artist looking to score her biggest ever swindle, are thrown together as unwilling partners in an adventure to recover cash they both think is theirs. The journey will take them on a wild ride

» View all games in this series
Game of Thrones (Series)
PC, Mac, Android, iOS, PS, Xbox

Game of Thrones (Series) 2015

Based on the acclaimed television drama, the six-part episodic series from Telltale Games tells the story of House Forrester. Caught up in the events of The War of the Five Kings, they are placed in a precarious position where members of the household must do everything they can to prevent the house

» View all games in this series
Law & Order (Series)
PC, Mac

Law & Order (Series) 2011

Starring a cross-series dream team of Law & Order characters past and present, players will take on the roles of both investigator and district attorney as they hit the streets to gather evidence and then enter the court room to prosecute the case. Choice and morality are key factors, and every

» View all games in this series
Puzzle Agent (Series)
PC, Mac

Puzzle Agent (Series) 2011

Continuing the story begun with the mysterious closure of an eraser factory in Scoggins, Minnesota, ace puzzle investigators return once again to the snowy midwest to help Nelson Tethers finally solve the mystery haunting the realm.

» View all games in this series
Back to the Future (Series)
PC, Mac, PS, Xbox, Wii

Back to the Future (Series) 2011

Picking up a few months after the third movie left off, Marty learns that Doc is in trouble and only he can save him, with a little help from the time-travelling DeLorean.

» View all games in this series
Jurassic Park (Series)
PC, Mac, iOS, PS, Xbox

Jurassic Park (Series) 2011

The game returns to Isla Nublar during the events of the first movie, with familiar locations and creatures to encounter, plus new areas to explore and new prehistoric beasts to survive in a game that combines fast-paced action, exploration and puzzle-solving.

» View all games in this series
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (Series)
PC, Wii

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (Series) 2010

In five connected cases, team up with the cast of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, along with help from FBI agent Gene Huntby, not only to solve some of the most gruesome crimes of Sin City, but also to take down a dangerous drug cartel.

» View all games in this series
Sam & Max (Series)
PC, Mac

Sam & Max (Series) 2010

In the finale episode of the season, an enormous, scaly, floppy-eared creature has put the city on high alert, and Sam assembles a crack team to stop him. To end the mayhem, they must venture...inside...the beast!

» View all games in this series