Sam & Max: Episode 2 – Situation Comedy

January 2, 2007

The episodic format has become much more clear to me now. I wasn’t sure how it was going to feel at first, but Telltale has done something really neat. You start [i]Episode 2[/i] in the same place you started [i]Episode 1[/i], in Sam and Max’s dingy office space. It feels familiar, and gives you a launching pad into the new mystery. Everything feels and looks the same this time around. The character models are still very passable, the voice acting is good, and the environments are well-crafted. This actually feels a lot like a TV episode, which Telltale was clearly going for. Mix a little of the familiar, and send our heroes off somewhere new. Past characters return, Bosco is just as paranoid as ever, and Sybil has started up her fourth or fifth business in the same building. This and future reviews of these episodes are going to concentrate on the episode itself, as I’ve covered the gameplay aspects in [url=]my first review[/url].

I can honestly say that the series really comes into its own in this episode. The pilot was an introduction, just trying to set the ground work, and the first real episode really runs with it. It wastes no time goofing around and you are right into the thick of things before you know it. [i]Episode 2[/i]’s story revolves around an Oprah-like talk show host named Myra who has kidnapped her audience and will not let them leave the studio. After giving away cars, trips, and money to her audience, she has gone a little crazy. Fortunately, the freelance police are available to, ya know, save the day. Hopefully.

The puzzles in [i]Situation Comedy[/i] are much, much better than in the first episode. Almost every complaint I had about difficulty and length has been addressed here. While there are still a fair amount of gimmies, the puzzle solutions are a little more convoluted now. You get items and you actually don’t use them immediately! Novel, I know. Length was definitely an issue in [i]Episode 1[/i], but [i]Episode 2[/i] feels much longer. It’s hard to tell if this is because of more content and puzzles, more difficult conundrums, or just that [i]Episode 1[/i]’s story was wrapped up so quickly. The ending in [i]Episode 2[/i] definitely takes its time and by the end of the game, is very satisfying.

If Telltale can keep churning these out on schedule, I think they have a real hit on their hands. If you haven’t bought the first episode, do it right now, just so you can get to this episode. Fortunately, this show is a little more Friends and a little less Sopranos so far. What I mean is, you could play the second episode without playing the first, but you’ll miss out on some jokes and references to the first. It is ultimately still very playable without playing the entire series, but there is no excuse not to gobble up both episodes.

Score: 5/5

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