Review: The Walking Dead – A House Divided

We’re knee-deep in Clementine’s adventure. We’ve watched this young girl grow into a determined, strong woman as Telltale continue to put her through one traumatic event after another, but this episode is as much about her fellow travellers as her. In fact, Telltale have created a multi-layered, complex piece of narrative that sets the bar incredibly high for the rest of the season and everything else that has come before it.

Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Release Date: 5th March 2014
Format: Xbox 360/PS3/PC
Price: £4.99

A House Divided is keen to show you the results of your choices right away. Right off the bat, the follow-up to your big ‘end of episode 1’ decision plays out in full. The repercussions and fallout will be felt by the player harshly, and helps put everything into perspective. As Abraham Lincoln once said, a house divided against itself cannot stand and the group Clementine finds herself with have a lot to learn from those very sentiments.

Clem learned a lot from Lee and her previous group. That includes her almost emotional immunity in the face of horrifying undead walkers, but also how human beings react in the face of danger and even death. The truth is, the real danger isn’t always the zombie beating down the door, but also the person you’re sharing a room with.

In Episode One, Clementine proved a lot to the group, but also to the player. With her seemingly back-to-back set of perils, she fought through each plight with a level of determination and maturity that was not inherent in this young girl when we first met her. We’ve played through these episodes. We’ve helped sculpt her transition into adulthood and define the woman she may yet be. Now the consequences of those actions are starting to become clear and obvious. We’ve set her down this path, now we have to see it through to its conclusion, no matter how it may end up.

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Because of this, you’ll feel bolder with Clementine’s safety. Where as Lee treated her like a little girl and wanted to protect her from everyone and everything, now Clem is a capable survivor. She knows how to look after herself and those around her. People recognize that. They don’t see her as a little girl that needs saving, and at the end of this episode, neither will you.

A House Divided has some incredible narrative twists that come out of left-field. It’s full of intense decision-making from start to finish. With most Telltale adventures, i’m able to go with my gut and pick a decision quite quickly. This time around, there were several occasions where I had to physically stop the game and assess every implication. One decision, in particular, made me sit back for a good ten minutes, considering everything.

A House Divided sets up everything for the rest of the season. There’s a lot to digest here and it’s a real rollercoaster from the word go. It’s the episode you’ve been waiting for: the one that ties everything up to this point and the one that sets up for a twisted future. This is The Walking Dead and Telltale Games at its finest. To say anything would spoil everything, so for now we’ll just say this is a masterclass in writing and game design and you absolutely have to experience it.

Pros:

  • Game narrative at its finest
  • Characterization is detailed and incredible
  • Non-stop action and adventure

 

Cons:

  • None to mention

Rating:

5 out of 5

An absolute masterclass in game design. A monumental leap in storytelling and interactive adventure. Where Clementine and Telltale go from here is anyone’s guess, but for now, we have plenty to digest and absorb. Faultless and fantastic.

About the author

Ray Willmott

Ray is the founder and editor of Expansive. He is also a former Community Manager for Steel Media, and has written for a variety of gaming websites over the years. His work can be seen on Pocket Gamer, PG.biz, Gfinity, and the Red Bull Gaming Column. He has also written for VG247, Videogamer, GamesTM, PLAY, and MyM Magazine,