After the end of Season One, I found myself surprised when Telltale announced that they were going to continue the series. I mean, I couldn’t wrap my head around what more could happen after the climactic ending of season one. However, it all began to make sense once Clementine was announced as the new protagonist. Like most of you, All That Remains left me restlessly waiting for the continuation of TellTale’s beautiful exploration into human nature, and at last, the wait is over. A few months after the debut of the new season and its new protagonist, Telltale is finally continuing the story with A House Divided, a great follow-up on the first episode of the season that providing some essential backstory to Clementine’s new group and further deepens the relationships introduced in All That Remains.
For those of you worried about spoilers, here’s your spoilerless review: “A House Divided” continues Telltale’s recent streak of excellence in The Walking Dead’s universe and is well worth the buy. Everything from here on out is spoileriffic talk, so beware.
Dawn of the Final Warning: SPOILERS AHEAD.
The Walking Dead Season Two: A House Divided (PC, iOS, OSX, PlayStation 3 [Reviewed], PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360)
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Release: March 4th, 2014 (PC, PS3) / March 5th, 2014 (X360) / March 6th, 2014 (iOS, Vita)
MSRP: $4.99 (Each Episode), $24.99 (Season Pass)
While the first episode presented Clementine’s new group as a pack of one-dimensional stereotypes, A House Divided takes the time to flesh out several of the crew. I especially took a liking to Luke, Clementine’s best friend and ally in the small group that she found herself in. Luke is a calm and logical person, and is kind to Clementine while also recognizing her value and experience. His voice actor handed in a great performance, and Luke quickly became my favorite character of this season, second only to my love for Kenny in Season 1. In addition, much care is put into showing Nick’s inexperience and spiraling madness, and the reason for Rebecca’s distrust of Clementine is finally revealed, as is the identity of Carver and why he’d chasing the group. I can’t wait to see more of Carlos and to further talk to the miraculously still-alive Kenny, as well.
While it was an overall pretty good episode, I felt that All That Remains had some issues with cohesiveness, feeling more like four tied-together vignettes than a single storyline. A House Divided avoids that problem altogether. The transitions are much smoother, and the experience as a whole feels much less disjointed. While there are some major shifts in setting, the characters themselves remain constant and the game flows from your continuing choices in the dialogue, rather than going through several distinct phases and having to talk to a bunch of different groups of people.
Finally, there’s Clementine herself. The use of a small girl as the protagonist continues to show in the dialogue and action. Not everyone takes you seriously at first, and some people will just ignore your advice and do whatever they wanted to anyway. I feel that Telltale nailed their depiction of Clementine. Her movements and dialogue all drive home the point that you’re even more helpless than everyone else in the post-apocalyptic world, a tack that most games won’t take. Major props to Telltale on that front.
In combat scenes, adult zombies are significantly larger than Clementine, and correspondingly more intimidating. The combat accurately reflects that the only way Clem can take on zombies is either one on one, or if she gets the drop on them. If more than two or three show up, it’s time to motor. This is a refreshing change of pace for me, considering that most games cast you as a full-size adult and expect you to fight as such. Clem’s small size and iffy combat prowess makes the zombies a scarier threat than any of the other zombie games that came out in the last generation.
A House Divided is an intriguing step forward for the series and I can’t wait to see more of Telltale’s signature characterization and writing. It’s totally worth the buy, if you haven’t already bought the Season Pass.