The Walking Dead: Season Two Episode 5 – No Going Back Review

As good as season 1 was throughout, it’s really the last episode that sticks with you. That final moment with Lee was heart wrenching, with two powerful performances from its lead actors; it showed how good storytelling in games could be. Because of that No Going Back, the final episode of Season 2, was always facing an uphill struggle. And you know what, they’ve only gone and pulled it off. Spoilers for the season up to this point will naturally follow.

We left our cast in a little trouble in the last episode. Two groups came together and bullets have begun to fly. Picking up here you’re thrown right into the thick of it with little chance to take a breath. Despite this hectic start the episode soon sets on a more steady pace and you realise you’re going to be delving deeper into each character unlike any episode that has come before.

The middle portion is very much about the characters, what has driven them to this point, and you start to really feel connected to each one. A complaint that can be levelled at previous episodes is that you never feel part of this group like you did in the first season, barely remembering their names half the time. Episode 5 goes some way to rectifying this. There’s a beautiful moment where you actually get time to unwind, share jokes, talk to people. It’s something that the season has lacked thus far, as the game pummels you with misery and despair. It’s nice to get some light relief.

That only lasts a short while though. Telltale obviously must’ve felt they needed to do something radically different to set it apart from last season’s final scenes. And boy, have they accomplished it. The choices young Clementine are given will stay with you long after the game is completed. Even now we feel a great wave of regret over our decisions. It is all brilliantly done. There are plenty of standout moments throughout this episode, but obviously we’re teetering on the edge of spoiler territory and this is really a game that must be experienced knowing as little as possible.

At a time when games are often criticised for tailoring too much to the male white demographic, it’s amazing that a game where you control a young girl gets made at all. And to have her be a believable character on top of that. Over two seasons you’ve seen her grow and change, and you feel like your choices have  made an impact on that. That’s really the greatest achievement in all this.  Remember Mass Effect 3? It was maligned by everyone because at the end of the day it felt like your choices didn’t matter. In a way, The Walking Dead is similar. Like Mass Effect 3 the game clearly has a beginning and end that is almost entirely set in stone, but it’s the events that occur in between that set it apart. You feel like your character is changing with each moment, whereas Shepard felt like a blank slate that the player projected onto, with very little in the way of character development. Telltale really are on top of their game at the minute.

Everything you loved about the first season has been expertly crafted into one episode. It’s wonderfully acted, brilliantly written and will have you thinking about it well after the credits roll.

2 Replies to “The Walking Dead: Season Two Episode 5 – No Going Back Review”

  1. Absolutely loved season 2 – although I think season 1 was better, and was a bit gutted at how no going back finished t9o be honest. The final episode of s1 had so many edge of the seat moments, culminating in a “are they really doing this to the main character” type moment which stuck with me through s2 – it would be hard to beat that. Have had to binge through the entire season 2 it was so good, even the slow moments added extra layers. Not much interactivity, I found, but it felt like there was a story to tell and a path to set Clem on that we will see pay off in s3. Top game.

  2. There’s a good article over on IGN which shows all the different endings for Season 2, and I’m quite surprised at the diversity. Let’s just say, it’ll be difficult to continue in Season 3.

    Totally agree with you Tubs on the lack of interactivity. That’s sort of been my main criticism of this season overall. A distinct lack of puzzles and challenge that hopefully gets rectified with S3.

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