Most villains in video games commit evil deeds for the sake of being evil people. They want to gain something for themselves, they want to cost someone what they love or worse. The Walking Dead‘s newest star, the much hyped villain Bill Carver, completely flips the expected script in the most delightful of ways. Carver is a truly terrifying man whose unpredictability and brutality caused me to fear my every interaction with him, but the further I got into the episode the more I started to empathize with his goals. He sought to correct some of the behavior patterns in that characters that had been driving me mad, he sought the same aims as our group of survivors, he was just seeking to reach these noble ambitions through deplorable means. Carver is a terrifying villain, but one who is clearly the hero of his own story, or at least likes to think himself that way, and that makes him a fantastic vessel for our group of survivors to interact with each other in new and fascinating ways.

The term Survivors for our playable cast of companions feels increasingly accurate as this series progresses, with the term easily being most applicable here during In Harm’s Way. This episode excels at putting our cast into increasingly trying situations and seeing how well they resist cracking under unbelievable amounts of pressure. While the pressures put on our cast sharply rise during this episode, some of the most interesting interpersonal scenes in the episode come as a result of watching children in particular and how they choose to react to a very adult world. Watching the differences between Clementine and Sarah and how they react to the world is fascinating and served as a big area where I could understand Carver’s motives, if not the ends through which he intended to achieve them. There are consequences for remaining sheltered in a world like this, it’s good to finally see them play out.

This episode also makes some fairly huge claims regarding the lore of The Walking Dead‘s universe. There are implications relating to the death of characters from last series, the chances of survival for our group of survivors and the wider lore in other stories told in that world. I’m curiously optimistic we will see the comics pick up from the lore changes suggested in this episode of the game and hope we see the ramifications of these revelations play out across the final episodes of the series.

It is important to note that There are some structural changes to In Harm’s Way that, depending on your stance, may sway how you feel about this particular entry. This episode sees a much stronger focus on interpersonal moments and conversations, which means that a large part of the world exploration and puzzle solving has been replaced by moments of decision making within the group. I personally welcome a move away from the series somewhat clunky adventure controls and quick time events and toward more of their fantastic writing of personal scenes, but if you’re here for puzzle solving environmental adventure you may be out of luck.

When all is said and done In Harm’s Way is a fairly brutal episode of the series, but one that rewards players with fantastic moments of character study every time it does so. Every time a character is in a situation where they are put at serious risk, you learn an awful lot about their future in the series based on how they choose to act or react for one another. I’m incredibly excited to see how my final shocking choice plays out in the next episode and am very curious where the series has left to escalate to.

Review: The Walking Dead: Season 2 Episode 3 - In Harm's Way
The newest episode of The Walking Dead is my favourite to date as a set of character studies and easily the most difficult in terms of what is shown to the player.
Pros
  • Puts characters under immense pressure.
  • Allows cast room to express important traits.
  • Carver is a horrid yet understandable villain.
Cons
  • Less puzzles to solve.
9Overall Score
Reader Rating: (1 Vote)
8.9

About The Author

Founding Member

Laura’s gaming journey began in the 90′s when she was given a SNES by her older brother with Mario paint. From that day video games were all she thought about day or night, be it playing them, designing them, discussing them or writing about them. Why does she want to write about indie games? Because indie devs are awesome and she wants to be their new best friend by telling them how terrible their games are. That’s how it works right? Twitter: @LauraKBuzz Email: Laurak@indiehaven.com

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