Home / Reviews All / Game Reviews / My Darlin’ Clementine – Walking Dead Season 2: A House Divided Review

My Darlin’ Clementine – Walking Dead Season 2: A House Divided Review

Telltale Games are really hitting their stride right now. Not only did they just land two massive licenses (Borderlands and Game of Thrones) but, more importantly, they are raking in mass amounts of cash from their currently released The Wolf Among Us and The Walking Dead franchises. The Walking Dead Season 2 debuted with with an abundance of critical praise; The Walking Dead Season 2 Episode 2: A House Divided, released this week and deserves some more of your praise…and all of your money.

So…where were we? Ah, yes! Episode 1 wrapped up with our darlin’ Clementine meeting up with a new group of survivors. These folks were skeptical of Clem due to her having bite marks on her arm… from a dog of course! Well, after gaining their trust, Clem is sent off to get supplies with Pete and Nick. Everything goes to hell pretty quickly and poor Clementine is forced to choose between them. That choice is just the first of many that will shape a truly great game.

 

Our darlin' Clementine is all grows up!

Our darlin’ Clementine is all grows up!

 

Telltale Games, makers of the previous Walking Dead games, have always touted their games as having choices make significant changes to the game. Never have I felt that impact more than Episode 2: A House Divided. Conversations had much more weight to them and every decision held potentially drastic consequences. Talking to Walter, one of the newer additions to the story, during a tense moment at the end of the game was very nerve racking and seemed to flash by before I could make my conversation choice. Telltale knows how to grab you and hold you in their stories like no other company and all of these critical moments are handled so well that at certain times it feels less like a game and more like deciding someone’s fate. And oftentimes, it does.

A House Divided also brings in choices from previous games into the mix. Finally! If you read my review on Episode 1, you’d remember that I was very disappointed in nothing from the previous game mattering at all. In a setting where everything is supposed to carry over and effect the outcomes of events, it felt like an odd to choice to omit the events/choices of Season 1 and (especially) 400 Days. Well, my fears about that trend continuing were quashed (it’s a legit word…look it up) in this latest iteration of Clementine’s story. A person, whom I felt had one of the better stories told in 400 Days, shows up and I was very excited! Not that they were actually here in this game interacting with Clem and her group, but that Telltale connected the emotional dots between characters that I love from two different games. It was masterfully done and got me hooked immediately.

I have to say that what the writers at Telltale have done with Clementine’s story is nothing short of genius. When I started to play Season 2 I was worried that Clem would have to find some sort of father figure; someone to latch on to to protect her in times of strife. Well, Telltale has done something I thought nearly impossible in making this little girl not only NOT need someone to protect her, but she does the protecting! People in her new group are looking to her for advice, critical choices on companions or even their own survival. Clem is still very young and her story has a lot of unfolding to do, but up to this point she is one of my favorite characters in fiction…ever.

 

Clem is becoming such a badass!

Clem is becoming such a badass!

 

Let’s talk evil. No, not those shuffling dummies! Zombies are just a backdrop in The Walking Dead franchise and are not villains here. People (crazy people in point of fact) are the real evil doers in this post-apocalyptic nightmare and A House Divided introduces us to a doozy! Carver, voiced to perfection by the uber-creepy (don’t hurt me!) Michael Madsen, is an initially non-imposing southern man looking for his missing friends. See, ol’ Carver has another camp just down the way from Clem’s new buddies and he’s just worried about ’em. Yeah, right! As Carver skulks around the empty house interrogating Clementine about the whereabouts of the absent group (they’re out looking for one of their own who went AWOL), it is obvious that he is not only inquiring about his “friends” but also figuring things out. Plotting. Even when he asks Clem an innocent question like “Who’s shirt is this? I had a friend in my camp who wore a shirt just like it” you can see how he looks through Clem like a window, scheming as to what tactics he’ll use next. His creepy demeanor and even creepier voice belays the underlying genius of this man. He is cunning, ruthless and doesn’t let his obvious sociopathic tendencies stop him from getting what he wants. He is also my second favorite character in this entire run of games and rivals anything that is in the graphic novels. Bravo, Telltale….bravo.

 

This is Carver. He may not look like much, but he is one despicable such and such

This is Carver. He may not look like much, but he is one despicable such and such

 

The problems that I have for this iteration of The Walking Dead are slight but bothersome. Again, the technical issues reared it’s ugly head. I will admit that it didn’t happen a lot, but it is worth mentioning…it’s still as frustrating as ever. Some people had bigger issues with it than others and all to different degrees of glitchy; this is so baffling to me and something Telltale needs to address. But to be honest, why would they? No review scores hurt the games for it and everyone continues to buy them so it will probably never be fixed. Sigh. Lastly, I had a couple of instances in my game where I was supposed to do something to avoid being eaten, but the way that the screen was laid out mixed with the lack of time I had to react…I was gobbled up like a pot pie. I appreciate the need for action in these games and the danger needs to be real and have real repercussions, but every time that you die it totally takes you out of the game. Immersion is a big part of what Telltale is trying to create here in the Walking Dead franchise, but if there is one item that I need to grab in order to not be zombie-nip and it’s waaaaaaay over to the left and out of the way. Telltale should know that they don’t have to hide weapons to create a palpable sense of dread. I hope this trend doesn’t continue, but it did start with Episode 1 and got worse here. Time will tell and all that.

 

Thoughts From Trey Elliott, Editor and Chief

Telltale and I have a give and take sort of a relationship. I have issues with their extremely frustrating engine and their issues with payments within a system that requires purchasing multiple episodes. But for all of their issues, sometimes they do something that is truly remarkable in the way of storytelling and “A House Divided” is exactly that. It’s daring and shocking in the way it presents its story, combining some great highs and crushing lows. Even the usually terrible engine ran better than normal this time out. Telltale is in rare form here, the likes of which I don’t know that I’ve ever seen from them before.
Score: 9.5

 

elltale Games are really hitting their stride right now. Not only did they just land two massive licenses (Borderlands and Game of Thrones) but, more importantly, they are raking in mass amounts of cash from their currently released The Wolf Among Us and The Walking Dead franchises. The Walking Dead Season 2 debuted with with an abundance of critical praise; The Walking Dead Season 2 Episode 2: A House Divided, released this week and deserves some more of your praise...and all of your money. So...where were we? Ah, yes! Episode 1 wrapped up with our darlin' Clementine meeting up with…

Review Overview

9.5 - 9.5

9.5

Exceptional

Summary : Overall, A House Divided is a work of art and just another example of how TellTale creates stories and characters that draw you in to their world like no other. Small quibbles aside, this is very close to being my favorite chapter in any TellTale game if not the top...it's damn good.

User Rating: 3.75 ( 1 votes)
10

About Chuck Nalley

Chuck Nalley
Father of two, husband of over ten years and unapologetic UK Wildcats fan, Chuck has been involved in Geekdom for...well, a long time. Chuck spends his free time playing games, watching movies and TV, performing in live theater, pimping hoes and juggling geese. No really, baby geese. Goslings. They are juggled... Fun Fact: Chuck hasn't had a soda since 2003.