Even though Situation: Comedy can be quite charming and funny, it isn’t as good as the first episode of the series.
Sam & Max Episode 1 Culture Shock was a revelation for many people as it stood up to the legacy of Hit the Road. Needless to say that there were high expectations for the second chapter and many fans were eagerly waiting for its release date. Episode 2 was released two months after Episode 1 and gave credibility to Telltale for committing to the episodic format and releasing the game in time. Fortunately for everybody who waited enough, Situation: Comedy is a good adventure that complements its previous iteration but unfortunately feels much shorter.
The game starts out with another call of the commissioner, but this time around Sam & Max have to rescue an audience who is being held hostage by Myra Stump, the host of a talk show. They have to make their way through a TV station and figure out what is going on in there. Once the two characters are allowed to enter you have to participate in a series of stereotypical shows, a sitcom, a cooking show, a game show and a parody of American idol, to prove they are worthy of fifteen minutes of fame. While it may sound as a long story it’s really not, and unless you get stuck on a puzzle, which sometimes can be quite demanding, you can pretty much finish the game on one sitting as there’s only less than two hours of content. But as in any adventure game you may have to backtrack a little bit to find certain objects to solve puzzles. Taking into account some of the lines or even some locations are taken from the previous game it doesn’t look as much new content.
The controls scheme keeps being the same and the great jazzy music still accompanies you on your adventure. Most of the loading times are quite short and they only occur when you enter a new room or when you leave a building so it’s not a bad transition. There are some minor references to the first game that are noticeable when you talk to your neighbors or when you roam around the neighborhood but you won’t miss anything too important if you haven’t played the first Sam & Max. If you did play the first game though, it’s really nice to see how certain details are different now, as they demonstrate some time has passed since you solved the last crime.
Situation: Comedy makes up some of the inconveniences with charm, the dialogues are still great, the characters are really well developed and the game ends up being extremely funny in an intelligent way. For example finding out that the city is taken by skinheads, which happen to be two shaved rats, is quite amusing. Regrettably there are fewer memorable lines and jokes, even when the main story is so absurd and ridiculous. In the game you’ll probably have to listen to the same dialogue more than once, but fortunately the developers included different lines when you choose the same option, so if you pick the same line over and over you’ll listen to different responses from the other characters to avoid tediousness.
There are a couple of new characters that have particular motivations and intentions but none are as interesting as the ones from the previous game of the season. Voice acting is great even for the supporting characters but for some reason Max’s voice has been changed. The graphics still look awesome and the expressions of the characters are well-accomplished, art direction is fantastic and the animations are simply superb.
Even if you haven’t played or finished the first episode of the season you can still played this one as there aren’t many additions. On the other hand, the first episode was much better than this one so you might want to reconsider start from there, but for some reason this game is much less impressive than the first chapter of this captivating series. You probably won’t feel the same way you did when you played Culture Shock, but instead you should welcome Situation: Comedy like an entertaining game that’ll keep you interested while it lasts, even if it is for a short period of time.