By Tyler Lubben / March 6th, 2014
Disclaimer: While I’ll do what I can do avoid major spoilers in this newest episode, I will be assuming that readers have at least played through the first season of the game. Continue at your own peril.
|Title||The Walking Dead Season 2: Episode 2 – A House Divided
|Release Date||March 4, 2014|
|Platform||PC, PS3, Xbox 360, Vita, iOS, Ouya|
|Age Rating||ESRB – Mature – Intense Violence, Blood and Gore,
Ever the forward-thinker, I thought I would try to write a little pre-review for Episode 2 of the new season of The Walking Dead. Nothing too bold, just a way to get a bit of a jump on the game to get the review out more quickly. I made a few predictions on how the story would pan out, mostly based on assumptions of how I think a second episode should go – something to move the story along, but not really shaking the cage too much. Well, as it turns out, I was WAY off. You’d think I would have learned by now that I simply cannot predict what will happen next at any given moment in The Walking Dead. While the feels may not have been as powerful as the ones experienced in the previous episode, the bombshells in the plot were the real focus here. So, let’s continue with the frustratingly spoiler-free review.
Immediately following the events of “All That Remains,” Clementine returns to the group at the cabin, now one member down after the Walker attack at the end of the episode. Carlos and Rebecca decide to go look for Luke and Alvin, who went out to find Clementine and the others. Clem and Sarah, left to their own devices, talk and play with a camera that Sarah found. Before long, someone arrives at the house. Sarah panics and tells Clementine that she has to deal with the man, as Sarah can’t be seen. Clementine lets the man in, and he seems cordial enough, saying that he’s looking for a group of people that he used to be with. By their descriptions, they sound very much like Clementine’s new friends. Clem tries to cover for them, but the man eventually figures out the group is staying at the cabin, and leaves in a hurry. Some time later, the other return, and Clem tells them what transpired. So begins the group’s long journey to escape the man called Carver before he comes back for what he’s after.
The main draw of this episode was the fact that I started to get to know my new group a lot better, though I was not entirely pleased with what I saw. It turns out that the group is extremely distrustful of strangers, and quite selfish on top of it (though this was already pretty well-evidenced in the previous episode). Every encounter with a stranger becomes a standoff, which can be especially difficult with Nick’s “shoot first, ask questions later” mindset. Things cool off for a little while after the group meets some friendly folks named Walter and Sarita (and another person from Clem’s past whom I’m fighting not to mention with every fiber of my being), but there’s always some tension in the air, especially considering some of the group’s actions earlier in the episode. Tough moral choices and the exciting quick-time events (which are a bit more plentiful) still make up the meat of the game, and the voice acting is still top-notch. I was particularly impressed with Carver this episode, who doesn’t initially sound threatening, but definitely hides a fair bit of ferocity behind his demeanor. Again, the music wasn’t particularly memorable – the only time I really noticed it was during the credits when it plays a nice song by Janel Drewis called “In The Pines.” I can forgive this, though, as the fantastic story is still where the game shines.
There was something that I thought might happen during this season; something that I figured would be unavoidable due to the simple fact that you’re playing as a pre-teen girl instead of an adult man. That is that you are simply not going to be taken as seriously, or called upon to make big choices that could affect the whole group. A group of adults is just not going to look to a kid to decide the best course of action, regardless of how they feel about her. It’s interesting, due to this fact, most of your character interactions are more on a one-on-one basis. The characters confide in Clementine. I mean, she’s just a kid; it’s not a big deal, right? Everything from Luke gossiping about the others to Alvin asking Clem to keep his stealing some food a secret – everyone loves talking to Clementine. Even Rebecca starts to warm up to her. However, the instant something big happens, or an important decision needs to be made, Clem is just a little kid again. As Clementine herself said, everyone underestimates her. I feel like this is going to be something no one will want to do as the season continues.
I’m going to have to be careful about how I score subsequent episodes in this season. My sheer excitement over the start of the new season may have skewed the score for the first episode, but it leaves me in a bit of a spot when I find an episode that was even better. However, when I really think about it, while Episode 2 delivered an amazing story, it simply wasn’t the same kind of emotional roller coaster as the previous episode. The good moments were wonderfully heartwarming, and the bad ones were suitably tense, but they just don’t stick in my mind as strongly as the season premiere. I’m not too worried, though. As the list of people that Clementine cares about steadily grows, the dam of feels is sure to break down soon enough. I just hope there’s still something left of her once everything is said and done.
Game was purchased by the reviewer.
Both seasons of The Walking Dead are also available on Amazon:
Reviewseason 2Telltale Gameswalking dead