The Walking Dead: Season 2 – A House Divided (PS3) Review
Kalvin Martinez / Mar 20th, 2014 No Comments
Unlike “All That Remains”, “A House Divided” doesn’t have the heavy lifting of re-establishing Clementine’s narrative, setting the tone of the world and introducing a new group of survivors. The Walking Dead: Season 2 is an episodic adventure game for the PlayStation 3 (and is also available on PC/Mac, Xbox 360, iOS, PS Vita and Ouya). “A House Divided” is the second episode of Season 2. Telltale Games developed and published the game.
“All That Remains” did all the set-up, so “A House Divided” can spend time establishing a compelling and exciting plot. Episode 2 does a stellar job at infusing tension and danger into the episode while introducing interesting surprises and twists.
“A House Divided” picks up right after the end of “All That Remains.” Clementine and Pete find themselves in the thick of things after running from the creek. Her and Pete are trapped in a cigarette truck. Pete’s bit and fading and walkers are slowly surrounding them. Things are bleak but thanks to some quick decisions, Clem is able to run away and get help. Once she returns to her new camp, she tells Carlos and Becca what happened to Pete. This prompts the adults of the new group to go search for him, leaving Clementine and Sarah alone.
Things go bad real quick. As soon as Carlos and the rest leave, a stranger appears at the cabin. This stranger lets himself inside only to find Clementine. He begins to question her and who she lives with. Clem smartly lies to the man trying to get him to leave. Despite not finding anyone in the cabin and Clem’s quick thinking, the damage is done. This man has the scent. He knows it is only a matter of time before his prey returns to roost. When Clementine tells the rest of the group what happened, they know that Carver found them again. Now, the only option is to run and stay one step ahead of him.
To say a whole bunch of stuff goes down in “A House Divided” would be an understatement. This episode likely will map out where the rest of the season is going in a significant way. If “All That Remains” ended a bit feebly then “A House Divided” makes up for that two times over.
The episode has some incredible moments. For instance, Clementine has to try to keep Carver from finding Sarah and do her best to lie to him. The scene is thick with tension and suspense that will leave players white-knuckling their controller until it is over. Carver is turning out to be an impressive villain so far, and he seems to be positioned to be the video game version of The Governor.
Dialogue remains spectacular. Clementine’s character journey continues to deepen. She is quickly becoming one of the best video game characters. Oh and the way this thing ends…
At this point, the gameplay formula for Telltale Games’ take on a modern adventure game is well known. Players walk around environments examining items for use later, fight a zombie or survivor, solve the occasional puzzle and role-play as the main protagonist in dialogue with other characters. It is a formula that works. The ratio of these elements often changes from episode to episode.
“A House Divided” is much more combat oriented. There are multiple main story points in the game that focus on fighting off zombies. These combat scenarios emphasize how daunting and terrifying zombies are. One little stumble and you’re dead.
Zombies may be slow, mindless creatures driven only by hunger, but they are extremely dangerous. The various combat situations in “A House Divided” are tense and harrowing. These moments require quick thinking and reflexes to survive. What combat in The Walking Dead games always manages to do is put pressure on the gamer to act quickly, causing combat to feel like an actual life-or-death experience. There is a panic that happens, which makes getting off a headshot extremely difficult – as if simulating what a real zombie apocalypse might feel like (if that wasn’t impossible).
Graphics and Sound
Episode 2 looks fantastic once again. “A House Divided” has an amazing desolate feel to the visuals, which are all dark color palettes. The world feels a bit washed out, even in the sunlight. Clementine and her new group wander through a world in decay, which matches the way they feel as they attempt to escape Carver. The game does a great job with character emoting, especially during the final bits of the episode. The game also does a nice job framing shots in quieter moments.
Unfortunately, there are some performance issues early on in the episode when it is loading up. It has some noticeable skips and frame rate issues. The issues smooth out after a while, but it take players out of the story a bit.
Voice acting remains top notch. Melissa Hutchison serves as the emotional anchor for the series. Hutchison’s performance as Clementine is superb and helps to build the complexity of the character. Jared Emerson-Johnson’s score is impeccable. As a nice bonus, the end credits feature the amazing “In the Pines” performed by Janel Drewis and composed by Emerson-Johnson. It is a hauntingly beautiful song that is a fitting way to end the episode.
The Walking Dead: Season 2, “A House Divided” is a fantastic episode. It does an exemplary job of moving the story forward in a meaningful and exciting way, ends on a note that makes the wait for episode three extremely tough and has some nice character moments that will make fans of the game happy.
Gameplay focuses on combat this time around, which is always interesting and helps speed up the story pacing. Graphically it continues to look great, but with some early performance issues. Jared Emerson-Johnson’s score and the voice acting continues to be stellar.
If you weren’t on board with Season 2 after “All That Remains” then “A House Divided” will have you purchasing a season pass immediately.
tags: ps3 , review , telltale games , the walking dead , The Walking Dead Game , The Walking Dead Season 2