Review: The Walking Dead – Season Two, Episode Two – A House Divided

After what felt like entirely too long of a wait, The Walking Dead: Season Two returns with A House Divided. If you haven’t done so yet, check out Jorge’s review of the first episode before moving onto this one. Since The Walking Dead relies so heavily on story elements, I have to warn you that there’s a pretty big spoiler factor with this review if you haven’t at least played through the first episode.  Go now!

While I enjoyed the first episode of the second season, it wasn’t exactly the stunner that I had expected.  However, I very well could have been expecting to be blown away again in the same way I had been with the first season, which is a little unreasonable.  Sure, the first episode gutted me emotionally, but it felt like that’s all it did – just remind you of how sad you were.  And of course when I say you I actually mean Clementine, but it’s all the same.  There didn’t seem to be that telltale (no pun intended) ‘ohshit!’ moment right at the end.  I felt like the cliffhanger at the end of the episode could have gone either way without too big of a difference.

The second episode eases any concerns that I might have had about where season is headed.  It tugs at those heartstrings again and reminds you of how sad you still are, but it has more of those ‘ohshit!’ moments. All in all, it wraps up to be a nice piece of game and makes you just itch for the next outing.  Selecting points of interest feels more fluid and comfortable, while interacting with walkers (i.e.: putting a hammer in their brain) still makes your palms sweat.

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Where in the first episode, Clementine is struggling to get her newfound friends (if you could call them that) to trust her just enough to let her out of the shed, the second episode has these people coming to Clem for advice. I get it; Clementine has grown as a character and a survivor, but it still seems unusual for her to have any kind of say in matters that affect the group overall, or to have people coming to her with requests or questions.  It’s weird and it makes this group of people seem…backwards.

“And don’t forget that when doing your taxes, your children are a deduction!”

For example, Rebecca (the pregnant woman) asks Clementine what she should do about her predicament with her husband not being the father of her baby. What insight is an eleven-year-old going to have on that?  In the first season, it made sense for people to ask Lee for advice. After all – not only was he an educated man he was an adult and the de-facto leader of the group. It’s something that takes some getting used to, having Clementine as some sort of decision-maker or having a voice at all. But of course, as soon as you do, gt used to this, it backfires – some people don’t listen to what you tell them to do and do their own thing anyway. So while Telltale writes the people of the group as being very trusting of Clementine, they do a pretty good job of reminding you that sometimes that doesn’t matter.  People are gonna do what they’re gonna do.

It was nice to see characters who previously didn’t like Clementine come around and trust her enough, but of course that too comes at a price. The second episode is the beginning of where loyalties and friendships are tested.  It’s high school all over again!

I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that some ghosts of Clementine’s past didn’t show up again. Someone who’s been there for you, someone who’s looked out for you, someone who I cried when I saw. But what about your new friends?  What about Luke and Nick, Rebecca and Alvin? What about Sara and Carlos, people who took you in despite the fact that you may have been bitten and they had no way to prove that you weren’t?  Yeah, they kept you in a shed, but wouldn’t you have done the same? A big part of you, as I did, might say ‘what about them? Clem and this old ghost have history!’ But a significant period of time has passed since you last saw this friend – they’re not the same person they once were.

That is not what I meant.

As such, this makes some of the choices in the game much more difficult.  If you thought that some of the choices in the first episode were tough, some of these felt like a quadratic equations multiple choice test. I picked one and crossed my fingers, only to want to go back and change the answer, even though I didn’t think the other choices were any more right than the one I picked.

For those who felt like the first episode was a little short, you’ll be happy to know that the second episode remedies that. While there wasn’t a lot of exploration or action scenes, which I didn’t like, the episode itself felt meatier. While only actually playing through the title once (reloading once or twice for a few choice changes and dying once) my play time with this episode was just over two hours.

As for the replay value, I see it as being pretty low. There’s a bit of an appeal to go back and change your responses just to see what happens, but beyond that, there’s not much reason to.

The wait for the next episode is on!

8.5/10

               
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