August 31, 2014 by Paul Curtin
Telltale’s episodic format of games usually means leaving gamers on the edge of their seats with great cliffhangers, and this season’s penultimate episode was no exception. Taking a page out of Breaking Bad’s script, Episode 4: Amid the Ruins ended right as a big shootout began. It’s a tease that in most cases would be a cardinal sin in television and games, but when you deliver such a high quality product with short breaks between episodes, it only adds to the anticipation of what could and will actually happen next.
Thankfully, unlike Breaking Bad, Season 2’s finale of The Walking Dead, entitled “No Going Back,” begins where the previous episode left off in the middle of this shootout. With bullets flying all around Clementine, split-second decisions are needed to be made in order to determine the fate of the group. There’s little time to think, and in these moments it’s easy to make mistakes that’ll have you kicking yourself for making the wrong choices when it came down to fight or flight. Season 2, Episode 5’s explosive intro hooks you in right away and never lets go.
As the final story of this season progresses, the realization begins to set in that anybody can die at any time in this cold and unforgiving world. The only problem with No Going Back is that there is indeed no going back. Gameplay is more linear than some of the best episodes of the series in order to continue pushing you forward to the finale at a fast pace. Certain deaths towards the end feel a little rushed, but with how much is going on in the story, it’s understandable that characters don’t have the time to stop and mourn.
All of this leads to yet another emotionally driven finale and one of the saddest moments of the entire series. While slightly less emotional than Season 1’s finale, due to none of the characters being as lovable as Lee, the ending still hits hard for gamers who have grown to know these characters so well. Certain characters you trusted will let you down, and others will find a way to redeem themselves. Telltale’s character development is at its best here, and it’s easy to get emotional in these characters’ last moments.
After an emotional thrill ride of highs and lows, Telltale’s heartbreaking ending left us once again begging to know where the series is going next. The few characters who are left can’t turn back now, and with the game’s five radically different alternate endings, it’s going to be very interesting to see how Season 3 starts. Just as we were after Season 1’s ending, we can’t wait for Season 3 to get here soon enough to see where Telltale takes us next. The Walking Dead: No Going Back gets 4.5 out of 5 stars.