At the tail end of 2013, Telltale Games finally released the first episode from their long awaited second season of The Walking Dead. All That Remains reunited us with an innocent, yet fearless Clementine as she experienced the harsh realities of survival and how desperation can turn close friends into bitter enemies.
With the release of A House Divided, Telltale has not only added to these dynamics, but they have essentially created the best episode of the season so far. Here are a few more reasons why you need to experience this pivotal episode for yourself.
The beginning of A House Divided starts off by highlighting the after effects of Clementine’s final decision to save either Nick or Pete from two different groups of walkers. Shortly after a choice is made, the narrative begins to take shape and the player is faced with several hard-hitting decisions for the complete duration of the game. Every meaningful choice made throughout carries even more weight than the one before it and in some circumstances the consequences are felt almost immediately afterward. Telltale is at their absolute best when they create engaging stories like this because it succeeds in making the player feel like every decision is truly a matter of life or death.
Without spoiling all of the key moments that take place within this episode, I at the very least want to acknowledge Telltale for continuing to surprise us with an exceptional cast of characters in every outing. Michael Madsen’s brilliant portrayal of Carver gives the season it’s first cold, unforgiving villain who is many ways is just as dangerous as the walkers themselves. Additionally, fans that have played through the first season of The Walking Dead and the 400 Days DLC will be surprised to see a few familiar faces this time around. Dynamic twists and turns like these work extremely well and will leave you wanting more.
From a gameplay standpoint, A House Divided carries the perfect balance between action and impactful conversational pieces. The new analog controls that were originally introduced in The Wolf Among Us are present right along with the trigger commands that aid you in both combat and evasive maneuvers. Fans who might have complained that there wasn’t enough action in the last episode will feel right at home with this one. When you also add in the fact that the storyline is the driving force behind these actions, it becomes evident very quickly that every aspect about the episode is well crafted from start to finish.
Much like All That Remains, the beautiful art style and stellar voice acting is on par with what we have come to expect from the series. In terms of value, A House Divided is easily the most important episode to date because it takes risks while defiantly establishing the true intentions of humanity in dire times. We also gain a deeper sense of the character that Clementine is becoming along with the difficult decisions she will be faced with in the episodes ahead.
The only flaw that I would point out in the episode lies within the technical hiccups that happen occassionally from time to time. To Telltale’s credit, this issue didn’t happen quite as frequently as it did in the past and it goes to show that they are finally making strides in resolving this problem for the long haul.
In closing, A House Divided is a breakthrough episode filled with plenty of groundbreaking performances, and a superb narrative. Telltale Games successfully proves time and time again that they are the masters of this craft and deserving of all the past, present and future accolades they will ultimately receive. Simply put, if you played the first episode then you owe it to yourself to play this entry as soon as humanly possible.
This review was based on a digital review copy of The Walking Dead: Season Two – Episode 2 “A House Divided” for the Xbox 360 provided by Telltale Games.