Review

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

  • First Released Dec 17, 2013
    released
  • PC

Tense whimper.

Season two of Telltale Games' The Walking Dead adventures ends with more whimper than bang. No Going Back caps the latest five-episode series with a surprisingly muted installment that eases up on the pedal that was once pushed right to the floor. Dialogue drives the proceedings and zombies are relegated to mere cameo appearances, and though I would have preferred a little more action and a lot more zombies, the atmosphere was so laced with an undercurrent of doom that I was constantly on the edge of my chair. Heartbreaking moments that underlined the quiet desperation driving each character, and the way that choices had a huge impact on the final resolution of the story, pushed the episode past its flaws toward a moving and fitting conclusion to a journey I was utterly invested in.

Still, color me conflicted. A number of aspects of No Going Back bothered me while playing, and they continue to bother me hours later. Plotting featured a number of moments that defied logic. The opening Mexican standoff with the Russians, for instance, was intense but also vaguely nonsensical, with everyone blasting away at each other from close distances like the trash-can-alley gunfights made famous by Police Squad. Fortunately, the entire scene was nicely rescued by a fittingly brutal ending accompanied by a summarily brutal gunshot execution. All the nihilism of the entire Walking Dead series was summed up in a few bleak seconds.

You can only shield yourself from the outside world for so long before you're forced to grow up--sometimes earlier than is right or fair.
You can only shield yourself from the outside world for so long before you're forced to grow up--sometimes earlier than is right or fair.

Characterizations can be odd, depending on the choices that you make. One associate may turn on Clementine over a life-or-death decision, which is out of character given the relationship that the two have developed; the dialogue choices don't even allow Clem to defend her actions, which are entirely reasonable. All of the sympathy shown for another companion throughout the episode seems wholly misplaced, given the opening gunfight and related actions that clearly reveal that not everyone in the group can be trusted. Yet another compatriot displays a number of irrational moments of her own; her choices are meant to reveal key truths, but in practice, they prompt an understandable, if violent, reaction. Some reactions seem contrived or overblown simply to foster conflict, and while I could see the group eventually coming to blows, one particular story beat was rushed and lacked a necessary trigger incident.

Still, No Going Back is not without significant storytelling prowess. Clementine's maturity is a highlight, as is her sisterly relationship with a close confidante. They share some moving moments, as do Clem and Kenny: A campfire scene at the power station is one of the most touching of the season, providing brief hope for the group while still leaving their precarious situation up in the air.

No Going Back features some of the most moving quiet moments in the entire Walking Dead series.
No Going Back features some of the most moving quiet moments in the entire Walking Dead series.

These quiet moments build significant tension. I was forever waiting for the other shoe to drop while the group hiked towards a house stocked with food and other supplies, because I suspected either a major zombie herd attack, or the arrival of more Russian goons with heavy firepower. It's a good thing that nerves are kept constantly on edge, as action scenes and interactions are typically confined to grisly but simple actions like moving keys to mimic cleaning Kenny's ugly eye wound. The most riveting action scene involves a zombie attack while the group is crossing the thin ice of a river, which leads to particularly ghastly consequences.

The rising tension culminates in a fittingly vicious showdown that serves as a final test for the ever-maturing Clementine. Your ultimate choices have a tremendous impact on who lives, who dies, and how the episode concludes. Your decisions here mean more than ever before in the series, and I am dreadfully curious to learn how Telltale handles the next steps; given the circumstances, it seems impossible for season three to pick up where this one left off.

Walking Dead's whimpers are more satisfying than other game's bangs, and No Going Back remains quite satisfying despite some miscues. This messy ending is an appropriate way to wrap a season that evolved into a morality play loaded with grim, philosophical musings about what it means to be a human being, whether you're struggling to survive in a zombie apocalypse or simply learning how to get by in the real world.

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The Good

  • Death-row atmosphere keeps the tension high from the opening gunfight until the deadly final showdown
  • Some of the most affecting quiet moments in the entire series, such as the campfire scene
  • Plot can go in very different directions at the end of the episode, depending solely on your choices about who lives or dies

The Bad

  • Occasionally thin plot, with some out-of-character dialogue and motivation
  • Few action sequences or really meaningful interactions until near the end

More Platform Reviews

About the Author

Brett Todd hung out with Clementine and pals for a little over five hours while twice playing through this final episode of season two of The Walking Dead.
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Gelugon_baat

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Edited By Gelugon_baat

Considering that there are several permutations of the ending, I doubt that Telltale can make season 3 with Clementine again, at least not without pulling off what Dragon Age: Origins did, i.e. making several prologues but eventually converging them together into the same story progression afterwards.

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Gelugon_baat

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Two seasons in, and I can't help but feel that Telltale might have a lot of loose ends in the decision-making system.

There will be this and that person remembering this and that occurrence - and then said person might just die in the next half an hour regardless of the player's decisions. It just seems like a waste sometimes. :\

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faizal_john

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it was worth the wait but too short. Two months for two hours of gameplay but I guess thats life for Clem.... :'(


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deactivated-58bd60b980002

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Personally this season was a little weaker in the emotional connection with the caracter and also the plot felt wierd in some places. Also I remember that each episode in season 1 had a moment with major action and some heart breaking situation. I can remember only two moment in season 2 that did that to me.

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couly

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Great episode, the only thing I'll say is that Clem is one tough girl or maybe it was a bad decision by the devs.

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iamllamapie

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Edited By iamllamapie

Just finished it and my ending was too emotional. Although the first half is rather predictable.

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RobGrizz

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I know they want to avoid spoilers, but this review is way too vague, and its hard to understand the criticisms. I personally thought Episode 5 was great and (finally) delivered choices that mattered for a change. I would like specifics on what the reviewer didn't think worked.

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sweetie-buttons

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Um, not really... The ending choice was the only one that mattered at all. I have no idea how they're going to do Season 3 with all the different endings, they're probably going to get rid of Kenny, Jane, Wellington and the family in the first five minutes and there'll only be a lazy line of exposition explaining what happened to them, just like what they did with Omid and Christa.

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seann_currell_7

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theres 3 endings and i think telltale has its work cut out in season 3 considering these 3 different endings will determine how season 3 will start and who is still here

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deactivated-58bd60b980002

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@seann_currell_7

MAJOR SPOILER DON'T READ IF YOU HAVEN'T FINISH IT


I counted at least 4 differents ending, there is one that I haven't tried yet so maybe 5.


You have the ending where you let Jane die and go with Kenny, then you accept to leave him behind

You have the ending where you let Jane die and go with Kenny but refuse to leave him

You have the ending where you kill Kenny and accept to continue with Jane. There you either accept the familly or not ( I haven't tried to let the familly in ).

You have the ending where you kill Kenny but leave behind Jane that lost her rational thinking for good. You also get that endind if Kenny killed Jane and then you kill Kenny.


So I think that next season will start with either ending you got and kill Kenny or Jane or you leave the city so everyone will start the season alone with the baby in the wild. It still leave the possibility to meet Mike and Bonnie again ... and we still don't know what hapenned to Krista or Lily.

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iamllamapie

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@seann_currell_7 Unless it's a new group?

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inuyashagalo

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Ended the chapter two hours ago and I'm still shaking. lol

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kickinlikesally

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@inuyashagalo I'm excited that apparently only 16% of people who played ended season 2 where I did. I'd like to replay and try to do something 5% or less have done.

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Victorfff

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@kickinlikesally Look out! We've got a hipster over here. No offence m8 c:

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sknight175216

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I enjoyed it.

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DatFluffyMonkey

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The only reason this episode wasn't a 10/10 is because they weren't getting paid for reviewing it!

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Yamakoichi

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Edited By Yamakoichi

@datfluffymonkey bet the moonlandings were faked too

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coldfusion25

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I really hope they bring out a season 3 starring Clementine.

I'm completely stuck on that girl.

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faizal_john

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Edited By faizal_john

@Yamakoichi I feel the same way cause I still can't get over losing Lee through all that struggle

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Yamakoichi

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Edited By Yamakoichi

@coldfusion25 I really hope they bring in a slightly older clementine into the walking dead show, not a child actor though, maybe a 20 something year old who looks 15+

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DatFluffyMonkey

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@coldfusion25 I really hope AJ is the new lead and have it like set 15 years in the future.

idk, but sticking with the same lead is fine and all, but AJ could be interesting.

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Warriors30

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Edited By Warriors30

I just finished this episode and season 2... what can I say... you did it again, Telltale... I cried like a little baby again, and I fu**ing love it! :P

(Surprisingly, only 16% of players had the same ending, and now I'm tempted to go back and see the other version(s) )

I can't understand the relatively low score for this episode, I thought it was a really powerful one... but it doesn't matter. This season had its weak moments too, for sure, but everything paid off in the end. More than I would have expected it, to be honest.

There's just no other game out there, that makes me FEEL like this series does, and I can't get enough of it.

Season 3... Season 4... please keep 'em coming, Telltale!

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mahmoudsafty94

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don't agree with that i'll gave it 9 maybe 9.5 even it was so sad the Episode is excellent end

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SythisTaru

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If this isn't a 10 out of 10, I don't know what is. No game has made me cry so hard.

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Yamakoichi

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@SythisTaru story 10/10 but as a game hell no. point and click adventure my man and not even a good one game wise at that

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yavix

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After completing my two play trough's, I couldn't disagree with GS more. Though a critics score is just an opinion, I still disagree. I was extremely disappointed with the ending of my first play through, but the second ending I got based on totally opposite choices was on par with season 1. I will complete multiple play trough's to see al the endings. All in all this was a great game, and the season as a whole was pretty close to being on par with Season 1 at least for me. Though I do hope they make more meaningful consequences for your actions in season 3 I'm still looking forward to see what comes next.

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Ripperoni

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Edited By Ripperoni

I finished this last night, and while I'm a little disappointed in this review score, it's not SO far off to make me mad.


The only negatives in my opinion were:

*Intentionally vague so as to try and not ruin anything but you should go play instead of reading this spoilers alert*

- one particular wound received that apparently you just "walked off", did not make sense

- not finding out what happened with the characters involved in that incident to a satisfying degree


Other than that it was amazing, would've given an 8 at least.

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faizal_john

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@ripperoni not finding out what happened with the characters involved in that incident helps for a build up in season three cause now we have 4 people who ran off and are no where to be found. Will they help or will they make life harder for you. And the wound is serious but its a through and through, notice how Clem almost blacksout after being thrown off by Jane.

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Gamer3344

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Edited By Gamer3344

GS scoring makes no sense

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Gelugon_baat

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@Gamer3344

Do explain how it makes no sense then.

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Balrogbane

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So when are all the episodes coming out together?

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JoMr3

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Edited By JoMr3

@balrogbane They already are: there's no option to buy single episodes, you just buy the whole package together (at least: that is the case if you buy it from Steam).

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Jasurim

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Ehhh, I have to disagree with this one for the most part.

I think there were a few odd moments *cough* Bonnie and Mike *cough* but I think this has to be overall my favourite episode to date. Finally I get some emotion towards the characters, they had some really fun lighthearted moments where I got to actually sit down and get to know the characters and other parts where it was just gut wrenching and action packed.


Also I find it odd that you highlight "Few action sequences or really meaningful interactions until near the end" as a negative while in the actual review point it out as something that built tension for the better and made you on edge.


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SDMF_TrueBlue

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Sorry, GS, but I STRONGLY disagree with the review. The final two BIG choices you have to make ratchet up the intensity to degrees I've haven't experienced in a game since the end of Season 1. If you made either decision lightly, either you have very dichotomous morality or didn't feel any emotional impact.

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Warriors30

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I'm replaying the whole season now, I still don't know how it's going to end (I don't dare to look at any comments or *anything* TWD related) ... I just hope they don't kill Clemmy! They can't do that... I WON'T LET THEM!

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QuiCkz_Ninja

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Great Season

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deactivated-58a78a043e9d4

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I think they definitely need to try branching to different plotlines entirely. The superficial changes won't hold the series up for 3 full seasons. They could have the characters use the same locations in each variation to lighten the workload, just in a different order.

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Runningman5ksmak

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Edited By Runningman5ksmak

when it comes to reviews IGN is much better then gamespot I'm starting to think the wrong people are picked to review games this got a 9.5 from IGN

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joke_man

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@runningman5ksmak


I might otherwise agree with you, but Season 2's plot has come off as far more disjointed than Season 1's plot.

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ViskiJack

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This season pretty much killed everyone in the damn thing if i knew it was like this i would rather end it at season one and leave Clementine alone.This game needs a serious overhaul in visuals and game play it's turned in to a click fest with fake choices.The review is spot on as far as I'm concerned IGN usualy does better reviews but this one goes to Gamespot.Telltale Games has watered down it's output lately.This like Seth MAcFarlane making 3 dumb shows instead of one good one.

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Gelugon_baat

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Edited By Gelugon_baat

@MooncalfReviews

Sarcasm is lazy humour.

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Thesuperstar2k

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@Gelugon_baat


I love your posts in every review. :D

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Edited By Senor_Kami

More so than any other episode in this series, I felt that this one really reminded me of the limitations of your options. At almost every story choice, the option I wanted to make was not available.

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MooncalfReviews

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After playing season 1, you'd have to give this game a 1 / 10 for me to even consider not buying it.

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Zombies101

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@MooncalfReviews Huh?

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woodyfr

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Edited By woodyfr

@Zombies101 @MooncalfReviews Translation: He/She didn't like Season 1.

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SDMF_TrueBlue

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@woodyfr You have that backward- Mooncalf loved Season 1.

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MooncalfReviews

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@Gelugon_baat

Wow, I've never seen a review thread where Gelugon_Baat defends the Gamespot staff. Shocking.

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The Walking Dead: Season Two - A Telltale Games Series

First Released Dec 17, 2013
released
  • Android
  • iOS (iPhone/iPad)
  • Macintosh
  • Nintendo Switch
  • PC
  • PlayStation 3
  • PlayStation 4
  • PlayStation Vita
  • Xbox 360
  • Xbox One

The Walking Dead: Season Two - A Telltale Games Series consists of five episodes and will continue the story of Clementine, a young girl orphaned at the outset of the undead apocalypse, now left to her own devices to seek safety and survive in a world gone mad.

9
Superb

Average Rating

586 Rating(s)

8.3
Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
Mature
Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol and Tobacco