Coming off of the less-than-stellar first episode of Season 2, Telltale’s Walking Dead had a lot of catching up to do. Unfortunately, with pacing issues aplenty, this second episode wastes a lot of time finding its footing.
The potential at the end of Episode 1 is strong; you’re finally learning about a character, Carver, who may pose an interesting threat. Also, you establish some safety with this new group of people and gain their trust (mostly). The beginning of Episode 2 really wastes the tension built up by the end of Episode 1, putting you in scenes with horrible dialogue and writing, as well relying way too heavily on an anticlimactic meeting.
One thing that stuck out to me in this episode was the severe drop in quality from the writing. Horribly corny lines like, “Good job, kid,” delivered just as poorly as you’d expect were riddled not only through the beginning of A House Divided, but the whole thing. On top of that, characters were flip-flopping left and right, some just suddenly liking and trusting Clementine out of absolutely nowhere (and for no good reason) and others acting in a newly devious way, and then going back to normal quickly. It just all felt a little off-kilter, and hurriedly put together.
Some of the characterization for Clementine is a little questionable here too. Clementine seems to be scowling constantly through this episode, though with some of the poor lines delivered around her, I can completely understand. It just seems sudden and out-of-the-blue for her character to be so absolutely upset at everything around her.
The pacing through the first half of the episode is a complete mess as well. You’ll find yourself in a cabin, then a few seconds later, hours have past, you leave the cabin, more hours pass. It all flies by you, and it took me a second to realize that another time jump happened, and that’s why certain things had changed. On top of that, there is a complete five-day jump that the game glazes over as if nothing could happen in five days.
Luckily everything picks up in a huge way about halfway through the episode. There is another contentious point that seems a horribly trite way to artificially create discourse between the characters, but when the final scene of the episode comes into play, I didn’t care. The tension was wholly real, and everything that happens is quick and brutal, in an ultimately satisfying way. I just wish you didn’t have to play the first half of the episode to get to the stellar second.
Once again I find myself hopeful for the next episode at the close of the previous. It seemed like almost everything was going wrong until A House Divided finally picked up about an hour in. Though it goes out on a truly excellent note, it doesn’t make up for poor writing, a continuously glitchy engine, and a jumbled mess of pacing issues.
This review is based on a review code provided by Telltale for the PC.