March 8, 2014 by Vinnie Leduc
After playing through Telltale’s second episode of The Walking Dead: Season Two, you’ll realize that they definitely have some big plans this year. Entitled A House Divided, the graphic adventure series picks up shortly after it left off at the end of the opening episode, All That Remains.
Most of A House Divided seems like your typical excellent Telltale episode. You get some verbal pissing contests, some obligatory zombie kills, some calculated conversations, some heavy confrontations, some action-packed chapters, and some incredibly boring ones, too. Point there, look at that, talk to him, aim for the head, etc. You know the drill by now.
Or at least you think you do. Of course, I’ll stay as spoiler-free as possible here. I’m not saying that this episode is full of twists and turns, but it is different. There’s that connection to the 400 Days special episode that I was wondering about after the season’s first episode, and there’s the satisfying revelation of the previous episode’s “next time on” cliffhanger.
These things are each a great water cooler topic in its own right, but I doubt either of them will be at the top of the discussion list after the twelfth and final chapter of A House Divided. That last chapter is overloaded with stuff to wrap your head around, but one character stands above everything else. The best franchises have some of the most unforgettable and ruthless villains, and now Telltale’s The Walking Dead finally has its own. Voiced flawlessly by Michael Madsen, Carver deserves a spot right next to the TV show’s Governor. He’s the highlight here.
The other star of A House Divided has got to be the writing team. Because Clementine is new to the group AND a child, you don’t have much insight into the back story of either of the new groups you meet and the looming threats they face. It’s a well-executed move by Telltale that makes the entire situation believable.
What’s even more impressive is that despite your character being a child, your choices still feel like that have a profound impact on the story. In the case of this episode, this feels especially true although I’ve already felt like I’ve been a crucial part of the story since the beginning. It’s just one step closer to the video gaming future in Her.
I know I can rewind any chapter to replay a situation out, but I prefer not to so that I keep one story, “my” story based on my own decisions and mistakes, consistent until the very end of this magnificent series. Because of this preference, I couldn’t resist searching online after the end of A House Divided to see what other players experienced. And now I’m kicking myself for my part in a character’s fate. If only I had chosen something else…
The way everything comes together by the climax of the final chapter of A House Divided is something to behold. The last few chapters of the episode contain arguably some of the most suspenseful moments of the series so far. Like the previous episode, there’s a concerning dearth of horror scares, but the extreme stress you’ll face in this last half hour makes up for that.
With high tension and the perfect storm brewing throughout most of A House Divided, it seems like you have to pay extra attention to what you say in the episode’s dialogue. Many questions will be answered, but many more will surface as well. Afterwards as with every episode, you’re shown the stats for five key decisions you made. There’s always at least one where I’m in the minority, and I’ll be thinking about some of mine for the next few weeks. The Walking Dead: A House Divided gets 4.5 out of 5.