Platforms PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, iOS, Vita, OUYA
Publisher/Developer Telltale Games
Genre Interactive Adventure Platform Played PC
No Going Back is not only the title of The Walking Dead’s Season Two finale, but it is also a perfect description of the situation Clementine and those who are left by her side must deal with. The world has forever changed and those who were good people in normal society have been forced to take drastic measures to survive, in some cases truly shattering their own belief. The Walking Dead universe is centered around the theme of survival, if you cannot cross that line and alter your persona to match the new brutal world around you, your survival is at risk.
No Going Back pushed me to my ultimate limit, forcing me to take drastic actions to further my survival. These moments make No Going Back truly spectacular, forcing you to alter your pre-determined notions of who you trusted repeatedly through the finale; leaving the entire episode with an ominous sense of dread.
The choices throughout No Going Back never felt artificially included to provide the finale with a sense of grandeur, these moments felt genuinely realistic. In reality bad things happen, some you may not be able to avoid no matter how hard you try. Some people may perish, some may never be seen again and those you thought were on your side till the end may turn on you. No Going Back doesn’t pull any punches once the initial one hour build-up concludes, providing a beautiful calm before the ever approaching storm arrives.
The episode also focuses on the fact that this season has been about Clementine, this is her story and those around her merely shape her journey. These emotional choices throughout No Going Back will help further evolve your Clementine, with some choices leaving both Clementine and myself at breaking point. Carving your own personal Clementine story is further emphasised due to the vast array of different threads players can experience because of the choices they make, not only that but these scenes can be interpreted in many ways. Though I may be in a similar situation to another players experience, how I got there and my mindset as to why I made these choices may be vastly different.
Throughout the entirety of the episode it was easy to find myself rationalising with both sides of the current situation. One moment I believed that what we were doing was right, only to find myself questioning my actions the next. Though I didn’t think No Going Back to rival the emotional punch that season one’s finale delivered, the emotionally charged rollercoaster of incredible moments left many choices engrained within my mind.
No Going Back allows interaction and dialogue to take center stage, with puzzles being non-existent and only a minor handful of interactive action moments. These interactions were excellent, with outstanding writing that was delivered by some of the best voice work the series has seen.
The most memorable and stand-out moment from No Going Back isn’t an emotional scene, or an intense action moment, it is when Clementine and her friends were able to live again. Though they have been alive for much longer than most who have encountered this harsh new world, they have barely ever been able to simply live and enjoy the time they have. These moments when characters are able to interact like normal everyday people, allow for some of the most humanising moments the series has ever seen. The acting performances throughout these moments are outstanding, with every line delivered with a genuine beauty, amongst what is essentially hell on Earth. Calm moments are few and far between in The Walking Dead universe, making these quiet times feel truly memorable.
No Going Back isn’t without problems. My main issue is with the surviving members of Clementine’s group, who throughout the episode made some peculiar decisions which seem to rival their initial feelings. Characters will appreciate one another for saving their lives, but then they will castrate others for doing the same thing or ignore it completely. I understand these moments were included to add more tension to the situation, but some choices these individuals make feel forced. Included to simply provide arguments, rather to truly benefit a coherent story. These moments don’t detract from the overall experience of No Going Back, but they felt out of place when compared to the genuine moments players experience during the earlier parts of the episode.
Comparing No Going Back to the season finale of season one is a difficult task. Both episodes delivered different experiences concluding two vastly different seasons. Though No Going Back certainly didn’t deliver the emotionally draining moments the debut season finale provided, it delivers its own emotionally charged rollercoaster throughout the two hour conclusion.
No Going Back is an unforgettable episode, furthering allowing us to shape who our Clementine will become. It also offers some of the most memorable moments and outstanding voice performances the series has ever seen, making each choice and interaction more difficult than the last.
No Going Back provides an excellent finale to an impressive season, one that will continue to run through my mind until season three.
- Memorable moments.
- Heartbreaking choices.
- Shaping your Clementine.
- Amazing acting performances.
- Actions from characters feel forced.
The Score: 9.0