Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Platform: XBLA, PSN, Steam, iOS
Release Date: August 27, 2014
ESRB: M for Mature
Here we are, the moment many Telltale fans have been waiting for. The curtain has been drawn on the second season of The Walking Dead, and the conclusion leaves us with many questions, as well as answers. Clementine's story has come to a close, and while the season may have been a bit more uneven in its quality than the gripping first season, No Going Back makes the entire season worth experiencing, especially if you're interested in seeing in where Telltale will take the series next.
Note: This review has no spoilers for No Going Back, but it does have spoilers for events for the rest of Season Two. You've been warned!
No Going Back, much like the episode before it, starts up right where the previous episode left off, and has you dealing with the consequences of the situation you potentially brought forth. Afterwards, though, the episode goes back to setting a slower pace, giving deliberate time to take a step back and really appreciate each character and their personalities. It's a welcome thing, too; by having this time to remember that these survivors are, in fact, human beings with their own strengths and flaws, and people with lives and memories from before the zombie apocalypse, it makes everything feel that much more personal... and of course, that much more painful when some of the most difficult decisions yet are forced upon young Clementine.
It's clear that Season Two in its entirety is a different beast than what Season One was, and nothing makes that more evident than the pace of the conclusion. While the first season of the The Walking Dead dealt with the trials of simply surviving in a world suddenly destroyed by Walkers, since Season Two takes place a couple years out from the beginning of the crisis, it focuses more on why the survivors want to keep surviving. Whether that reason is a location, like the possibly fictional location of Wellington, or a person, or simply an idea, No Going Back wants to remind you that while it takes more than survival skills to live day after day in an inhospitable world, it also takes a bit of hope... and also how easy that hope can be taken away again.
In No Going Back, the fractures in the group that had slowly been appearing since Episode 3 finally make themselves apparent, and it leads to heated tension and inevitably a lot of difficult, painful choices to make. These choices have an incredible weight to them, as a frail newborn's life is constantly on the line, and a particular character's mental health is steeply declining. Everything that happens brings the group closer to ruin, despite Clementine's efforts to keep it together.
This eventually brings Episode 5 to its emotionally charged, tense conclusion, which forces you to make a few extremely tough choices that will, in fact, alter the season's ending. With more than just Clementine's well-being on the line, players are really forced to think of what's best not only for her, but for the newborn baby as well, and presents an interesting dynamic we've yet to face in the series. All of this is backed up by some superb writing on Telltale's part, which helps to show many of the characters' true natures.
If you're at all interested in Telltale's take on The Walking Dead and Clementine's tale, it's worth it to pick up Season Two and give it a playthrough. This season may have had lower lows in terms of storytelling and writing than the first, but Season Two is still a worthwhile package that ends on a strong, albeit different note. It will be interesting to see what Telltale will do with the next season!
+ Strong writing helps to show the various nuances of the survivors
+ Different endings provide some nice discussion points for the next season
+ Having a baby to look after gives a new dynamic to the plot
- You might cry like a baby (that may be a plus in some people's books)
Overall Score: 9 (out of 10)
No Going Back offers a strong end to the second season of Telltale's The Walking Dead. If you're at all interested in Clementine's story in the franchise's unforgiving world, now is your chance to jump on board and experience it.
Disclaimer: A downloadable copy was provided by the publisher for this review.