NOTE: This review is based on the Xbox 360 version of the game.
Now that the second season of Telltale Games Walking Dead game has had many of its events set in motion in the first episode, one could expect that the second episode is where things will begin moving at a much more brisk pace.
As every episode begins, we begin with a recap of the events in the first episode, highlighting many of the more integral choices that you had to make throughout. The actual episode itself begins immediately following the events at the end of “All That Remains”. Given that my choice was to move with Pete the game picks up with Clementine and Pete holing up in the back of a delivery truck, barricading themselves in from a group of zombies. Pete has unfortunately been bitten on the ankle, and debates cutting it off but opts not to. Pete later saves your life as he accepts his fate, leading you back to the house. Everyone in the house leaves you alone with Sarah, the daughter of Carlos, as they go searching. It is here where we first meet a man named William Carver, who was apparently the leader of the group who your new friends have escaped from. Upon the groups return, it is decided that they must move on to get away from Carver, and everyone sets off. Some of the group attempts to make their amends with Clementine for not initially welcoming her into the fold, while others find themselves succumbing to the stress of both Pete’s death and their current plight. As the group travels forth, they come across a face that is familiar to both Clementine and anyone who played the first season. The episode seems to come to a conclusion in a new home, with the group having expanded, but then the proverbial shit hits the fan. That man that you met earlier named Carver shows up with the cavalry in tow, and bodies start dropping like flies, on both the sides of the dead and the living.
The first thing I would like to comment on is the return of a character from the game’s first season. While it was hinted at during the coming soon section of the first episode, I had never expected it to be who it was, and found myself met with a feeling of both shock and familiarity. I don’t want to give it away for any potential players, but I will say that the character who reemerges was certainly one of my favorites from the first season.
One thing I feel I haven’t commented on enough is the voice acting. The Walking Dead contains arguably the best voice acting I have ever encountered in a video game, made more impressive by the fact that there are very few name stars behind the voices. That said, I immediately thought that I recognized the voice of Carver, and was delighted to see that it was none other than Michael Madsen. It’s nice to see him getting some work outside of low-budget B-Horror movies and Quentin Tarantino films. Special praise certainly needs to go to Melissa Hutchinson, the voice of Clementine. Throughout both the first season and up to where we are now, she has given this little 11 year old girl both a sense of dignity and a vicious strength that no child should ever have to endure, but given the circumstances has no choice.
As I mentioned earlier, once the group is come upon by Walter and his people, things get crazy incredibly quickly. At this point you expect that the choices you make start having greater consequence, but even before this happens, the fate of one of the members of the group lies in your hands. I don’t know for sure if my decision would have altered that character’s outcome had I chosen differently, but that is the true beauty of what Telltale has done with the series. I honestly cannot speak highly enough of how heavily some of the choices rest upon the player, more so than any other game I’ve encountered in my over 20 years of gaming.
After the first episode I wasn’t reeling to jump right into episode two, but with the events that have unfolded at the end of the episode, in addition to the “Next Time On…” preview, I cannot wait to jump back into the game and continue on Clementine’s unfortunate road. It appears that the group is headed towards a “Woodbury” style settlement, with Carver subbing in for The Governor, but only time will tell at this point.
Once again, here are the choices that took me through Episode Two, “A House Divided” as well as the comparison of other players worldwide.
Took Blame For Sarah’s Photo? – Myself and 58.4% of players blamed someone else.
Who Did You Sit With At Dinner? – Myself and 65.1% of players sat with Kenny.
Told Walter The Truth About Matthew? – Myself and 74.1% of players told Walter the truth.
Nick’s Fate? – Myself and 15.7% of players let Walter make up his own mind.
Left To Find Kenny? – Myself and 46% of players stayed to help Carlos.
Stay tuned for The Deadhouse‘s review of Episode Three soon!