Review: The Walking Dead Season Two: A House Divided Is A Fantastic Step Up
Telltale Games aims to continue their seemingly unstoppable streak of delivering adventure games you shouldn't ever want to miss. Does A House Divided keep the streak alive?
- Worth The Time?Yes, in every way possible.
- Things LovedIt's absolutely intense, there's so much more going on than the previous episode, there are many interesting subplots, you truly feel caught in the middle of so many webs, it's exactly what you love from the series, the characters are beginning to show depth.
- Things HatedIt flies by too quickly, there should be more conversations with characters.
- RecommendationWhether you loved the first episode or thought it was lacking a punch, A House Divided is everything you'll love about this series in one episode boasting high intensity and gripping storytelling. Don't miss out.
- Name: The Walking Dead Season Two: A House Divided
- Genre: Point and Click Adventure
- Players: 1
- Multiplayer: N/A
- Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360, Vita, iOS
- Developer: Telltale Games
- Publisher: Telltale Games
- Price: $24.99 (for the season pass to all five acts)
- Reviewed On: PC
Telltale Games blew the minds of many around the world with their first season of The Walking Dead. From there it’s been only up, and the studio has continued to shine in its The Wolf Among Us series, and now of course we’re all looking forward to see what it can do with Borderlands and Game of Thrones. But for many The Walking Dead is still the star of the show, and perhaps it was inevitable that there would be some concern regarding how Telltale could possibly follow up the incredible first season. After reviewing the first episode, All That Remains, I was pleased that the result proved Telltale still had it. However, admittedly it was more of a solid and engaging entry rather than being part of the really amazing stuff. It was a good starting point, sure, but it would be understandable if anyone found it lacking a bit of punch. Well, I feel safe to say that with A House Divided, you should have no such concern, as this frantic episode propels the second season to where it belongs.
A House Divided begins with the aftermath of the final choice in the previous episode, and it’s a pretty great way to start off with a mixture of tension and emotion. Of course it’s difficult to talk about the story without actually spoiling anything, but what I will say is that there is an astonishing amount of things going on in A House Divided. The cast of characters grows dramatically, subplots emerge left and right like a great big web and there’s just so much more to be intrigued by. Right off the bat it’s a much more interesting journey than the last episode, especially because you’ll warm up to the new characters more and get to know them better, while fresh faces quickly establish themselves and get right at home thanks to great writing and characterisation on Telltale’s part. I felt much more at ease with the cast in this episode, and they were portrayed in a little more depth and in far more difficult situations than the previous episode, allowing them to stand out with minimal effort. It’s truly excellent from Telltale.
I do have a bit of a gripe with A House Divided though, and that’s because I felt there was largely an absence of opportunities to casually chat to the characters. This is not only an effective way to get to know them better, but it serves to give you a bit of a cooling down period for breaks between high levels of intensity. Sure, we all love an experience that keeps us on the edge of our seats, but from time to time you do need to cool the jets to avoid either burnout or overexposure, which reduces the effect. Usually, just getting to walk around and chat to the cast helps achieve exactly this while still giving you more benefit in the story. Unfortunately, there aren’t many moments to do so here and when they do come about it can be easy to miss out on some because you happened to do something that progressed the story onward. Fortunately, the episode is so exciting and interesting on its own that it’s easy to forgive this aspect, but one would hope that it features more in the next episode especially because of how this one ends and the assortment of new characters you are introduced to.
As I mentioned, there is a whole lot more going on in this episode. New villains are introduced, new characters come and go and the plot starts to feel like it’s progressing somewhere. A bigger picture gets formed with the ending here, in other words. A House Divided pulls no punches, and gives you some pretty tough calls to make as well as one hell of an adrenaline rush. The unfortunate part though is that it absolutely flies by, and you do feel it’s short length once you’re done. This is not criticism of the length so much as it is praise for how intriguing the plot here is. But knowing that there will be a few months wait until the next episode definitely leaves you feeling that it went by too quickly. That said, I found more replay value here than in most other episodes of this series and immediately after finishing I had an unshakable curiousity to explore alternate paths for my save file going forward. Usually I just roll with it as that adds to the immersion for me and makes me feel the consequences of my actions more, but here I was just too damn curious. And it’s always fun to see what others did.
The gameplay is also much stronger than the previous episode. There are some brutal decisions, and the seconds on the clock given to you in order to make them are perfectly executed this time around. There’s a fair bit of action as well in this episode, which is welcome for sure, but Telltale has truly struck gold with A House Divided in making the characters the stars of the show here. I absolutely loved how difficult your choices became once you realised that you’re caught in the middle of a bunch of webs, and you really feel like that as it becomes challenging to figure out who you should side with or listen to. The beauty is that A House Divided strongly sticks to the series’ roots of there being no good choices, and always a trade off to be made. The gameplay was much more engrossing and entertaining here than in the last episode, and there’s a much stronger story focus to boot.
The Walking Dead Season Two: A House Divided is a continuation of Telltale’s unstoppable streak in the point and click adventure genre. If you thought the first episode lacked a bit of a punch, then A House Divided is confidently up to the challenge of giving you everything you may love about this series, totally outclassing the previous episode. It’s a fantastic step up, and it honestly gets me extremely excited for what’s to come in the next episode. The writing is brilliant, the characterisation is strong, the plot is absolutely gripping and the gameplay is intense as hell. Good luck not shedding a tear with the magnificent end credits song as well. A House Divided is surely the springboard for the new season, and it looks like The Walking Dead is determined to prove it’s still number one.