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The Walking Dead: Season 2: Episode 2 - A House Divided
Score: 90%
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Survival Horror/Puzzle/Adventure

Previously on The Walking Dead::

When we last met, Clementine was All That Remains of the original group from The Walking Dead: Season 1, and after being alone and afraid, she was fortunate enough to be picked up by another group of slightly skittish strangers who welcomed her with less than open arms. Clem had to learn to interact with new people, and those relationship interactions continue into the next episode unless she modifies them as time moves forward. The most battle-tested relationships that were forged, for good or bad, seemed to be with Luke, Nick, and Rebecca (who, like Christa at the beginning of the episode, is visibly pregnant).

By the end of All That Remains, Clem had gone out to help Pete and his nephew (Nick) down by the nearby river and learned that Nick wasn’t able to shoot a deer when younger, interesting information for future actions. When they arrived at the river, they were met with the horror of bodies on the ground, but these people were murdered, not bitten. Talk of a man named "Carver" ensued, but soon the three were surrounded by zombies and Clem had to decide which of the two to try and save. That decision directly affected things to come…

A House Divided:

[Spoiler Alert: While this review is meant to keep the story relatively generic in nature, elements of the game are discussed below. I highly suggest that if you have an interest in The Walking Dead, you should just pick up and play from the beginning of Season 1 prior to getting into the details below.]

As the title suggests, The Walking Dead: Season 2: Episode 2 – A House Divided picks up after Clementine’s split decision to save only one of her companions at the river. While the decision itself will eventually result in rejoining the overall storyline no matter what, Clem’s time holding up in the middle of the walkers with either Pete or Nick will result in relationship-changing attitudes. Once back at the main cabin with the group, Clem has the grim news of telling the story, leading to her being left alone with another young girl named Sarah.

While the adults are away, the girls are set to forge either a bond or a general acquaintance, something that will also bear consequences later on in the season. But more importantly, under strict instructions of not allowing anyone in, a man enters the cabin and begins to question Clementine, looking for his group. Depending on your choices, a new relationship is formed with this unknown man. Upon returning, the main group expresses its displeasure and concern that this may be a man from their past.

With a new urge to move on and stay ahead of the man they keep referring to as Carver, the group sets out and eventually runs into more survivors holed up in a ski lodge. Here, we learn of the fate of a character from the first season, and the true meat of Season 2 begins to unravel as more fates will soon be determined.

In fact, paths begin to crisscross in A House Divided because we also get briefly reacquainted with Bonnie, one of the five members in Telltale Games’ stop-gap episode that was meant to tide players over between the First and Second seasons, 400 Days. If you missed this extra episode, the game will simulate to get you to this point, but it is cool to see a least a piece of integration from that DLC. Near the end of the episode, we finally also find out the identity of the mystery guest from the cabin, and see his true intentions with the group.

By its own nature, the structure and delivery of A House Divided builds upon that of the first episode, but the pace feels a little bit better in terms of story interest. This is especially true near its conclusion where we can sense a bit more adrenaline-fueled storyline approaching. In addition, decisions made feel a bit more like they have weight this time around, which in turn helps pull the player into the story too. By the end, Clem has noticeably had a lot of growth in her character, and really acts as the glue that holds the newly-merged groups together.

Next Time on The Walking Dead:

After finding out who the mystery person is that Clementine encounters, the group finds themselves in an established safe haven that isn’t all it appears. As a group, they need to find out where their missing member is and how to get their way out of their current situation, one way or another. Still acting as the support structure for the group, it is up to Clem to get the answers that drive the story further.

One thing is for sure, the setup of The Walking Dead: Season 2: Episode 2 – A House Divided is leading the group into dark territory, and depending on your actions, may lead to decisions that shouldn’t have to be made. The addition of the merger of two groups with a third in a position of power looks to act as a grand dynamic for all of Season 2.

Related Links:

Microsoft Xbox 360 The Walking Dead: Season 2: Episode 1 - All That Remains Microsoft Xbox 360 The Walking Dead: Season 2: Episode 3 - In Harm's Way

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated