Written by Jordan Hawes.
Ties That Bind Part Two picks up immediately after part one and delivers a dynamic thrill ride throughout. With its brisk pace and action packed events, this episode will be over before you realize, and clocking in under an hour doesn’t help either. While the short length is disappointing, what the episode actually delivers heavily outweighs that shortcoming.
With Episode 2 starting immediately after Episode 1, understandably we are going to run into a teary filled opener with Javi grieving his dead niece. Telltale handles the death of their characters passionately, with almost every death having a strong emotional impact that takes form in either a sad send off or a satisfying revenge death. And they deliver the former with grace in this opener. Telltale cunningly uses this important death to Javi as a gateway to increase the bond between him and Clem, using Clem’s own backstory to sympathize with the man who just lost who he considered his daughter.
With his Niece dead and his Sister-in-Law/Love interest injured this leads us to another flashback that helps identify the relationship between Javi, Kate, and his brother David. It seems that decisions made in this flashback will affect how the future story plays, so the decisions aren’t made lightly. Clem also gets a flashback this episode that reveals an interesting turn of events. Unlike the flashback offered in Episode 1, this one actually gives us some answers and is way more important to her character development and the plot.
After the mourning and flashbacks come to an end there’s a brief 5 minutes where things settle down back at Prescott while you check on Kate and Gabe. This is quickly cut short by intense action that is only hampered by unfortunate stuttering and heavy slow downs when things get hectic. There’s a short sequence in between the action that requires you to solve a simple puzzle and, in typical Telltale fashion, the puzzle is just a simple “connect item A and B to item C.” It really doesn’t offer anything significant to the gameplay and seems to be used as a short breather between action scenes. But during this breather we get introduced to a new character who is one of my personal favorites.
Ties That Bind Part Two delivers an action packed experience that is only harmed by Telltale’s sloppy engine that can’t seem to handle fast action. The heavy action sequences, while not as bad as Telltale’s Batman, are still not smooth. But gameplay issues aside, this episode is impressive in its ability to be heavily action focused while still somehow managing to provide an emotional and more meaningful look into Clem and Javi’s personalities.
Also available on: PS4, PC, iOS, Android
Be sure to check out Episode 3, Above the Law, and its review: