The Walking Dead: Season 2 Episode 5 – No Going Back Review
After eight long months and four action-packed and emotional episodes, we have finally reached the end of the road, at least for now, with the final episode of the second season of The Walking Dead. With such an extremely critically acclaimed first season, which won a number of Game of the Year awards along the way, many thought it would be about impossible for a follow-up season to live up to the standard Telltale Games and Skybound Entertainment brought us the first time around, but they certainly have not disappointed with Season Two, especially with the final chapter titled No Going Back.
With a game as story driven as The Walking Dead, expect a number of spoilers along the way, specifically on past episodes. Spoilers on the current episode will be kept at a minimum or at the very least vague. The Walking Dead: Season One followed the journey of Lee as he was thrust into the beginning of the epidemic facing the world, with Clementine becoming his one and only concern. Sadly, Lee met his end by the end of Season One, which put Clementine in the spotlight for The Walking Dead: Season Two. This greatly changed the perspective as instead of playing as an older character who has a seeded past, we instead take control of a young girl who is still shaping who she is and who she is going to be. The latter is extremely evident in this final episode, where Clementine’s personal journey reaches new lows.
The previous episode, Amid the Ruins, left us on a major cliffhanger after setting up the final chapter very well. After finally founding shelter for Rebecca to have her baby, walkers appeared that caused a lot of trouble, though Clementine and the gang were able to take them down, allowing the baby to be born. After this, the group moved forward and was ambushed by Arvo, the guy who you may have robbed of medicine and supplies prior in the episode, along with his companions. The episode ended with a bang, literally, as Clementine notices Rebecca has turned while still holding the baby and must either shoot her or catch the attention of others. Either way, a shoot out began as the credits rolled.
As a result, a mess was certainly on our hands to start The Walking Dead: Season 2 Episode 5 – No Going Back. Most of this portion is done through cutscenes with a few minimal decisions being made along the way. Before long, the sequence is over and the remaining members of the group continue onward looking for shelter and supplies. This leads to a number of arguments, fights, and betrayals that shape the episode as a whole. The action does slow down a bit in this section, but soon ramps back up once you reach an under construction house. This area features one of the most poignant scenes of the entire series, via flashback, so prepare to have the tissues at the ready if you get emotional easily, especially with how easy it is to get attached to these characters.
The entire episode leads us eventually to one final segment, which branch off into three different major ending paths, each of which also have a few branching endings themselves. The Walking Dead has been known for its weighty decisions that play a major part in future installments, but this is a whole new ballgame. It is very hard to imagine how they will manage this many branching ending paths in the already announced Season Three, unless there is a major time jump of some sort.
Clementine’s journey truly comes full circle
Just like the aforementioned emotional flashback, these final decisions really hit hard emotionally, especially with how long you have gotten to know some of these characters. The sacrifices that are made really shape this episode as a whole and the ending segments showcase that in spades.
Episode 5 is defined by its abundance of character moments, which is what Telltale’s The Walking Dead has been known more for above all else. Without spoiling anything, Clementine’s journey truly comes full circle as she is no longer the one that needs protecting, but instead is the one that is trying to protect everyone and everything she cares for in the world. This leads to the heartbreaking moments and decisions that are some of the most gripping and engaging in the entire series thus far.
These character moments would not be what they are without superb voice acting as well. Melissa Hutchison’s Clementine hits all the right notes to make us feel for the character more than we ever have before, especially when she has to make the tough decisions. Kenny was the all-star character wise in Episode 4 and Gavin Harmon’s portrayal shines through once again in the final episode of Season Two.
Unlike the all too short conclusion to Season One, No Going Back features excellent pacing and a very respectable length. It may not be quite as long as some of the past chapters, but once you are done with the episode and the credits roll, you will not be disappointing by the very satisfying length in the least, which can take you anywhere from an hour and a half to two hours.
Just like recent episodes in the series and most of The Wolf Among Us, The Walking Dead: Season Two Episode 5 plays very well on the Xbox 360, with minimal technical issues. There are a few times where loading between areas did take awhile, but there was little to no stuttering throughout the gameplay, which is a major victory after the problematic first episode of the season.
After the incredible first season, it was thought near impossible for Telltale Games to maintain that quality throughout another season, but somehow they managed to do just that. Episode 5 is an excellent display of the emotional journey that The Walking Dead provides, including some of the biggest decisions of the series thus far. The branching endings raise a lot of questions on how the series will move forward in Season Three and I know I absolutely cannot wait to see how they manage to go about it. The Walking Dead: Season 2 concludes exceptionally well and the season as a whole is worth playing, if for any other reason than to be able to play the final episode, No Going Back.
The Walking Dead
- Available On: Xbox 360, PS3, PC, iOS
- Published By: Telltale Games
- Developed By: Telltale Games
- Genre: Graphic Adventure
- US Release Date: August 26th, 2014
- Reviewed On: Xbox 360
- Quote: "The Walking Dead: Season Two Episode 5 - No Going Back tugs at the heartstrings more than ever and brings another superb season of The Walking Dead to a close."