Disclaimer: This review will contain spoilers for Episode 1 of the Walking Dead Season 2. If you have yet to play it, please do so before reading.
Episode 2 of Telltale’s The Walking Dead is chalked full of surprises. Expectations have been high for this second iteration and I can happily say that Telltale has delivered. Episode 2 is easily my favorite one out of both seasons. Surprisingly though this is also one of the more story driven episodes, and gameplay is served more as a way to get you from point A to B with as minimal challenge as possible. Episode 2 has no puzzles that I can recall. There was some searching for items and some light combat, but the meat of episode 2 was all about the characters and ever evolving story that is engrossing your playtime. By no means whatsoever is this a bad thing. I can say pretty confidentially that no one plays The Walking Dead for a challenge or for the difficult gameplay, rather for the enriched and meaningful story that brings us closely involved with the characters.
There are rarely quiet moments in episode 2: A House Divided. You are always thinking on your feet and conversation is prevalent through the two or so hour campaign. Things start off quickly enough as you are thrust right into your choices from Episode 1. Did you try to save Pete or Nick? Whoever you chose is now by your side and the repercussions that unfold feel genuine and motivating. I must hand it to the writers, this, I feel is the strongest episode all around. Never once did I stop and think a line was stupid, and the amazing cast pulled it off so convincingly. If you remember Sarah from Episode 1, she is Carlos’ sheltered daughter, who has no idea that the apocalypse is upon them. I expected her to be an annoying character throughout the game. From the first time she made me pinky promise to be friends I knew she was trouble. Similar in a sense to Duck from season 1, I expected to dislike her obnoxiousness, but there is none. Rather than making her be a black sheep of sorts for player aggression, her character is sold perfectly and I can see this type of person really existing. I still have my worries about her but at least I don’t hate her guts.
Now let’s not forget about Clementine. Again to the games amazing writers, they have successfully pulled off a tough young girl that is trying to retain a strong hold on her position in this world. She is not the frail little girl that we knew from Season 1, and has become a wonderful asset to those around her. Seeing Clementine wanting to take on a larger walker while an adult takes out the smaller one is one such example. You will be confronted with some tough choices, and even watching how the choices of others around you unfold is unsettling to say the least. It really brings morality to the fore front and makes one ask what type of person they would be when everything hits the fans. Tough questions regarding murder, old relationships and survival all come into play and what you choose has a impact on the story.
A House Divided introduces a villain known as Carver that was only previously mentioned before. Without spoiling it for you, I feel that this new villain is very layered. He can kill people without so much as blinking just to get his way, yet at the same time has a care for the people that were once in his group or apart of his “family”. Carver’s character is one that has been twisted in this world and appears to be unstable. By the end of episode 2 it appears that the situation for the group will be much different going forward and the location looks as if it will be changing. Let us just hope Carver is nothing like Negan from the comics.
The Walking Dead: A House Divided is my favorite episode to date and is filled with excellent writing and a smooth gameplay experience. If you are reading this in all honesty you should be playing these games. They are one of the best things to spend your money on this year.
Review code for PS3 provided by Telltale Games.