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The Walking Dead: Season 2.2 - A House Divided (PlayStation 3) artwork

The Walking Dead: Season 2.2 - A House Divided (PlayStation 3) review

"Nice guys finish last."

The first episode in this second season of Telltale's Walking Dead series was tough to sit through for anyone with an attachment to Clementine, which is basically everyone who played Season 1. Life is hard for that little girl and it feels like she has nobody to help her. Things pick up for her in this second episode, which finds the new group of characters beginning to finally trust and depend on her, as well as supporting her.

This review of Episode 2 spoils some things from Episode 1 out of necessity. If you're behind, you're better off taking a look over here instead.

Episode 2 picks up minutes after the conclusion of Episode 1, wherein you were forced to decide between running to the aid of Pete, who had been bitten by a zombie, or escaping with his nephew, Nick. This decision has a big impact on the first scene of Episode 2. If you went with Pete, you'll be trapped in a truck with him as he decides how to deal with the bite on his foot. If you went with Nick, the two of you will hide in a shed where Nick will grieve and make some bad decisions.

Bad decisions seem to be Nick's whole shtick in this episode, in fact. He kind of comes off feeling like Ben 2.0. His heart is in the right place, but he doesn't think things through and that failure lands the rest of the group in trouble. A major element of Episode 2 is deciding how to deal with him.

Speaking of decisions, this episode does some interesting things with your choices. One seemingly minor decision you made in Episode 1 has unexpected consequences in Episode 2. There are a couple of situations near the end where your actions have major impact on the outcome, but that outcome isn't obvious when you're choosing your actions. It's less a question of “Who will you save?” and more “How will you influence people and what will they do with it?”

These are just some of the very tense situations you'll run into in this new episode. Rather than making you sad all the time, Telltale has decided to take a stab at keeping you stressed out. One of the highlights of the episode (and perhaps one of the best scenes in any Walking Dead episode to date) involves the fabled Carver forcing his way into the cabin when only Clementine and Sarah are home. Carver is looking for the other characters, but doesn't know who Clementine is, so Clem has to try to hide the fact that her new best friends are staying there. This is a great scene that will tie your stomach in knots.

It's clear that Clementine has stumbled into a story that's already in progress, and will have to learn the details as she goes. This situation highlights something that has mostly been missing from this season so far: scenes that give you time to have optional conversations with the various characters to get to know them a little better. There's nothing like the train tracks or motel parking lot from Season 1. This episode has a grand total of two optional interactions, and they don't branch very much. I hope to have the opportunity to interact with these characters in a more relaxed setting in future episodes.

Now that the awkward character introduction episode is out of the way, things are getting more interesting in The Walking Dead. Episode 2 ends on a cliffhanger that all but guarantees you'll want to come back for Episode 3. If you're reading this, you've probably already decided that you want to play Episode 2, and you've made the right choice. You won't regret it.

Oh, and that “I thought you were dead” teaser at the end of the last episode? Yeah, that thing is legit.


Roto13's avatar
Staff review by Rhody Tobin (March 07, 2014)

Rhody likes to press the keys on his keyboard. Sometimes the resulting letters form strings of words that kind of make sense when you think about them for a moment. Most times they're just random gibberish that should be ignored. Ball-peen wobble glurk.

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