Walking Dead Season 2 - Ep 2: A House Divided review


You might not have thought of it before, but being a kid in The Walking Dead universe would fucking suck. Being a kid in the real world? Cool as hell. You go home from school at like 3:00pm, do crazy easy math homework, and then eat cookies and milk while watching cartoons. But when the dead start to nom the living, being a kid has got to be the worst. 

All of the zombies are bigger and stronger than you, so you can't really fight them off once they've taken hold, and the people you interact with are scared and sociopathic. That means they'll either eat you, because they're crazy, or they're just going to ignore you because they think they know better. In any other situation they'd be right, because kids are typically stupid as hell, but when you're controlling Clementine, a little girl with more experience dealing with the undead than just about anyone, it's a lot more complicated than that--and a lot more interesting.

Do you want to give people sad eyes and remind them that you're a child? Do you want to be brutally honest and shock them with your knowledge? Do you want to remain silent and let the adults sort stuff out? You'll still have plenty of instances to make story-altering decisions, but they're done in a way that makes more sense for Clementine. The decisions you made in the original come into place at times, but only in minor ways. Characters will offhandedly mention the events of the previous episodes, making them feel connected, but not dependent. Telltale says that this will change in future episodes as more tie-ins begin to be revealed, but as of now it feels now that Season 2 won't rely too heavily on your decisions in the original.

Editor's note: We'll be updating this review as the episodes are released, but won't be assigning a score until the season is over. Scroll down to see reviews of the first two episodes.

How is Episode 1: All that Remains?

Clementine is seen as a burden by most of the people she meets in All That Remains. Whether she's interacting with new characters or the few that remain from The Walking Dead: Season 1, she's sort of just ignored. Being powerless in a game is a fairly new feeling, and it's handled extremely well, making for a season opener that's even more tonally dark than the first's was.

While All That Remains plays much like the previous episodes, Telltale found clever ways to make the quick-time event situations work with the new heroine. Clem needs to rely on quickness and stealth to avoid zombies because she's not as physically capable as Lee was. When a zombie grabs hold she can't just pound on the A button until she kicks its head off--she needs to try to push it off and run, or try to wiggle away for just long enough to escape. 

This actually changes up the pacing a good deal, though it's not different enough to convert those who thought Season 1's gameplay was too bland. You'll still be pounding the A button a lot, after all, and it's still not going to provide the same level of control as a game like The Last of Us. If you were one of the people who thought The Walking Dead Season 1 relied too much on QTEs, nothing in the new season is going to convert you. That said, there are other alterations to the formula that might sway your opinion. A more important change comes in the dialog, which makes up a majority of the interactions you'll have in the world. When talking to people you can't just brute-force your way through the conversation like you could with Lee. Instead, you need to decide exactly the kind of Clementine you want to be, and use that to shape how she reacts to the world. And considering you haven't played as a little girl in that many games, that means that The Walking Dead Season 2 puts you in a unique situation.

I was on the fence over Telltale's choice to put you in the tiny shoes of Clementine in Season 2, but after the first episode I'm absolutely sold. While it doesn't overhaul the mechanics or feel drastically different, it gives a perspective usually ignored in post-apocalyptic games, and one that makes a relatively overplayed setting feel incredibly fresh (unlike the zombies, which are decaying, which feels like a joke we should make here considering this is a zombie game).

How is Episode 2: A House Divided?

Things start to get more interesting in the second episode of Season 2--it feels longer, more substantial, and more ambitious. Clementine's new group differentiates itself from the last one, and you start to realize just how soft they've grown after a few months of living in relative safety. It's a different dynamic than you dealt with in the first Season, where Lee and Co. never felt like they could stay in one place for more than a few minutes. The new characters feel like they've almost forgotten what the rest of the world is like, and this innocence and ignorance comes back to haunt them as they find themselves dealing with new threats.

Clementine's role has changed, too. While she's still a little girl whose opinion is rarely taken seriously, the people she's holed up with discover how useful and helpful she really is. No longer a burden, she's the foundation of her group in many ways, resulting in interesting dialog choices throughout the episode. Her choices begin to carry more weight and lead to diverging paths, letting you really feel like you're in control.

More Info

Release date: Dec 17 2013 - PC, PS3, Xbox 360, Mac (US)
Available Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360, Mac
Genre: Survival Horror
Developed by: Telltale Games
ESRB Rating:
Mature: Blood, Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Violence

Should you get it? Definitely--unless you're totally uninterested in the franchise. Even if you weren't in love with All That Remains, the second episode brings a different enough style to make it worth checking out.

This game was reviewed on PC.

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  • Grady_McAlister - March 4, 2014 3:36 p.m.

    --i LOOOOVE LOVE LOVE LOOOOOVE this franchise!!! --but --i prefer to wait until all the episodes are released --and play them all in one or 2 sittings --im not much on the 'episodes' thing
  • legos160 - December 29, 2013 9:03 p.m.

    If I buy seson 1 will season 2 be with it or will they have to be bought separately?
  • cain-ozzy-ihrie - December 19, 2013 9:45 a.m.

    I want it so bad. BTW it's kinda sad in the be gaining
  • TheGreyWizard - December 18, 2013 11:42 a.m.

    I'm vexed. Haven't played the episode yet (and will probably wait for the entire season to come out), but for me it's a huge mistake to actually have control of Clementine's behaviour. It'll feel weird to choose between what I myself would want to do and what would the Clementine I knew from season 1 would do.
  • C.King - December 18, 2013 1:01 p.m.

    great point, the cute little girl u looked after is now following your messed up mind set and you are now forced to put her in the situation lee tried to keep her from
  • Bloodstorm - December 18, 2013 6:41 a.m.

    I enjoyed this first episode. I already much prefer playing Clem than I did Lee. Playing AS Clem is much more engrossing to me than only seeing her when she is pertinent to the story like in the first season. I also like the less traditional exploration of a child survivor that has been left with no other choice but to survive for herself. There are plenty of stories about grown ups in the universe taking care of [their] children, trying to keep them away from what the world has become, or being forced to teach them to handle it. None of them, minded that I haven't read the comic past the first volume, have covered such a child that then had their grown up protectors stripped away, and had to actually survive. Plus, I just like Clem as a character. She isn't going to be thrust [not immediately] into a "leadership" role like Lee, and her struggle is going to be more challenging as a kid in a world full mostly of grown ups. I look forward tot he rest of the season.
  • freeden - December 17, 2013 3:06 p.m.

    I've been itching for this game since the end of season 1. That was a fantastic emotional experience and it looks like this one is equally as fantastic. Playing as Clem does seem like a very fascinating journey and one with the potential to be tragic, though I do think that I probably won't relate as well as I did to Lee. There is something about being the guardian of Clem that hits deep and the need to protect her made for a very potent experience. But I'm looking forward to playing this one. The journey should be very interesting.
  • Temperance11 - December 17, 2013 1:41 p.m.

    RIP my "Q" key... ...again.
  • Cyberninja - December 17, 2013 1 p.m.

    Well this is good, I need to play through the old ones at some point, also I think it would be best to make this a new article, since there are a ton of comments from before here
  • shawksta - December 17, 2013 12:33 p.m.

  • watevermanimlost - October 30, 2013 9:02 p.m.

    I don't want to be disappointed with the outcome of Clementine's story.
  • metalgatesolid - April 6, 2013 2:31 a.m.

    I just want them to add replay value. Its easy to get all the trophies which annoyed me. In Spec-Ops: The Line you got different trophies for the key choices and that needs to be added. Multiple endings would be great too. Not since Fallout 3 have i felt like this is MY adventure and MY game. The story was epic and Telltale deserve credit for making this unforgettable. Id be happy with more of the same as long as the story keeps you hooked
  • VideoKilledTheRadioStar - October 30, 2013 8:30 p.m.

    Seems Telltale is inching in that direction. The Wolf Among Us features a trophy for collecting all the Fables in an episode (granted at least in Ep.1 they weren't hard to find), so that's a start. I hope they'll get better.
  • freeden - December 17, 2013 3:09 p.m.

    Replay value will be different for everyone. These are like novels and so part of the value if similar. If it's good, you'll go back and revisit it. Achievements also seem like something of a minor part here. It's not as if there are major challenges to overcome. If you're a trophy collector, then maybe there's more value, but trophies always came across to me as something you get through taking on challenges and overcoming them. I do agree in the having multiple choices, but as these games are more like novels, there will likely be a definitive outcome to the story, especially if there are more seasons in the planning.
  • julian-stern - February 19, 2013 5:14 p.m.

    I really want to play as one of these characters WARNING SPOILER ALERT) I would like to play as either: Clementine, Kenny, SPOILER (if he survived) Omid, and or Christa.
  • neonchamp123 - February 18, 2013 7:28 a.m.

    If there was a way you could save Carley.
  • GR HollanderCooper - October 30, 2013 2:30 p.m.

    I thought it always ended the same way
  • Shepherd231 - October 31, 2013 7:39 a.m.

    Nah, I searched the web for that solution. Not possible which blows.

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