Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Walking Dead Season Two: A House Divided Review

The second episode of the second season of The Walking Dead shakes things up by bringing more survivors into the picture, but it still retains the flaws of the previous episode.

This episode begins after the cliffhanger ending of the premiere.  That returning person actually adds to the disjointed feeling of this season so far, as much like the time skip in episode one, it is never explained what happened to that person in the events that have occurred since we last met. Another returning person receives similar treatment, although since they don't have as much history in the series, hopefully, Telltale is saving that up for the rest of the season.  The other characters do get some characterization, through a dinner conversation, when there is a choice on whether to bond with the new group or with those Clementine already knows.  There is a gap between the survivors, and Clementine is right in the middle of it.

Whereas the plot seems to have problems added to it rather than solved, the choice-based gameplay does seem to be in use better this time around.  Scenes like the above-mentioned dinner scene add a lot to the way Clementine is treated by the survivors of both factions and help add to the tension that is evident this season.  However, the choices from the last episode in regard to Clementine's treatment by the adults don't seem to matter much here.  Regardless of their attitudes towards her, they'll still allow her to do a lot of things an eleven-year-old girl wouldn't usually do.  True, they had witnessed her do a lot of those types of things in the last episode, but in the premiere, some in the group still viewed her as a little girl that needs protecting.  That isn't evident here, no matter Clementine's attitude in episode one.

As with the previous episode, the other areas of the game still are excellent.  The comic-style art design continues to shine.  Telltale's games have always excelled in the area of sound, and this tradition continues here.  The music also continues to be a high point, adding to the atmosphere significantly. The voice actors continue to deliver excellent performances, both the returning characters and newly introduced characters alike.

A House Divided is once again a mixed bag, as it brings in interesting characters, but it doesn't fix the problems in the premiere.  The gaps in the plot aren't explained, instead, more plot gaps are added. The choice-based gameplay is slightly better, as it is used well in regard to the choices made in this episode.  However, the choices made in the last episode don't seem to matter much, as the characters seem to treat Clementine the same regardless of the choices she made when she first met them.  However, the presentation continues to shine, as the art style, music, and voice acting here are excellent. Ultimately, it once again feels like merely a buildup toward the events to come.

Final Verdict:

3½ out of 5

Episode One ReviewEpisode Three Review

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