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The Walking Dead: A House Divided (PC) Review

 
The Walking Dead-Season 2 Telltale
The Walking Dead-Season 2 Telltale
The Walking Dead-Season 2 Telltale

 
At a Glance...
 

Formats: PC, Xbox 360, PS 3, IOS
 
Genre: ,
 
Year:
 
Publisher:
 
Developer:
 
Final Score
9.0
9/ 10


User Rating
1 total rating

 

We liked?


  • Superb story telling - the best so far
  • Character progression is 2nd to none
  • Story has pace & those trademark gut-wrenching decisions
  • Unparalleled voice work

Not so much?


  • Those god-damn shooting sections... grrrrraaaahhh!
  • Longevity may still cause some concern


Final Fiendish Findings?

From a timid character that followed Lee around, to a scared girl alone and fighting for her life and now, as this story progresses we get to see a strong young woman start to emerge. I fail to recall any videogame that has provided such a meaningful and well implemented progression of a character – heck I’m struggling to think of any media that has handled this transition so well and with such delicacy.

0
Posted March 5, 2014 by

 
Full Fiendish Findings...
 
 

The Walking Dead : A House Divided throws us in to the second episode of the second season of Telltale’s take on the universe created by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard.  The first episode was a trip through past demons and getting to grips with life after Lee.  So what now for the ever blossoming little girl from Atlanta?

It’s been a tense couple of days.  The whole party is feeling raw and exhausted.  When they spy a place of refuge in the distance equal measures of relief and suspicion flood over them all.  A decision is made that someone should scout ahead in case it’s a trap or their are walkers roaming.  The group leader, Luke, steps up and volunteers, as you might expect one to do so.  A second is then needed to fulfil this scouting party.  A call from another member of the group is rebuffed by Luke.  Instead he turns to Clementine and asks her to go with him – there are protestations but he insists there’s nobody better equipped to help him.

Well why wouldn’t he?  It’s a game and you need to be involved right?  Well yes and no.  You see Clementine is not chosen because it’s the best thing for the gameplay.  No, Clem is picked out because she’s smart, resourceful, brave and won’t flinch to get her hands dirty.  From a timid character that followed Lee around, to a scared girl alone and fighting for her life and now, as this story progresses we get to see a strong young woman start to emerge.  I fail to recall any videogame that has provided such a meaningful and well implemented progression of a character – heck I’m struggling to think of any media that has handled this transition so well and with such delicacy.

twd ep2

Make no mistake, this is, in many ways, Clementine’s coming of age episode.. maybe even season who knows what Telltale have in-store for us these next few months.  What we can tell you is that The Walking Dead : A House Divided is possibly one of the best written episodes Telltale have ever produced.  The story moves at an impressive pace with very little dialogue wasted.  Each story branch and dialogue tree gains you a little more information about the characters you’re with and what’s going on in Clementine’s world.

One issue with the last episode was that we know very little about these new characters.  It’s hard to bond and care for these fellow travellers if we’ve got no reason to feel for them.  Through a series of superfluous dialogue exchanges, tense and sometimes harrowing encounters and fraught decision we finally get to see who these people might be.  More importantly we start to get an idea of who we can trust.  And that, as any fan of The Walking Dead, is the difference between life and death.

A House Divided would be one of the best episodes that Telltale have every done were it not for something that has dogged them for a year or more now.  No, not technical issues, for the most part Telltale appear to have got a handle on them with the game barely hitching or breaking once – well apart from me not getting any of my choices recorded on first play through.  No, I’m talking about the action sequences.  It’s an area I’ve talked about in previous review of The Walking Dead – heck everyone and their cat has moaned about them.  This time though it’s the first time they’ve actually pissed me off.  So much so I considered if I actually needed to see the end of the episode.  For the most part they’re fine… actually better than fine offering a little side-action and being non-intrusive.  Then comes a shooting-gallery type section near the end and it all goes to hell.  I mean seriously it made me actively hate the experience and tarnished what was an easy perfect 10 score.

twd ep2 1

The look of the game just seems to get better and better with the new wilderness settings allowing a lot of scope for long tracking shots and deep luscious vistas.  Animation too seems to have been tweaked and this has improved body movement and character acceptance greatly.  There’s still that odd “Thunderbirds” like gait to characters walks but you can easily let that slide.  Voice work and score are once again industry leading.  Seriously there are very few games, animated movies or cartoons that can compete at this level.  I’ve already praised the episode with having some of the best, if not the actual best, writing in the whole franchise to date.  That includes, naturally, the excellent script work which just flows so naturally offering up interesting situations and characters.

Final Thoughts

The Walking Dead : A House Divided is almost a perfect episode… almost.  Some truly terrible shooting sections drag focus from what is clearly a master class in interactive storytelling.  Once again longevity might play on some peoples minds with the whole deal taking about 90 minutes or so.

For me The Walking Dead is approaching a point where I might just love it more than the comics – and miles more than the TV show.  The transition of Clementine from tag-along emotional exposition giver to strong main character has been wonderful to behold.

If Telltale can sort out this looseness with the shooting sections or, better still, understand they don’t need them, then we’re easily looking at something that can surpass the efforts of Season 1.

The Walking Dead : A House Divided, even with those gripes about the arcade parts, is absolutely superb from start to finish and I could not recommend it more – it’s truly breathtaking at times.

 


Zeth

 
Zeth is our EU ninja and Editor in Chief. He's been writing about video games since 2008 when he started on BrutalGamer. He's pretty old and has been a gamer since he played Space Invaders as a young boy in the 80's. His genre tastes lean towards platformers, point-and-click adventure, action-adventure and shooters but he'll turn his hand to anything.