Back in July, when Telltale’s critically acclaimed The Wolf Among Us wrapped up its first season, The Walking Dead was only at its halfway point – but the developer has raced to Season Two’s finale since then. As those of you that are familiar with the series will already know, this second set of episodes puts you under the baseball cap of Clementine, who is still trying to find her way in the world following the events of Season One.
Since the start of the series, we’ve witnessed the short haired youngster try to make her way alone, meet a not-so-merry band of likewise survivors, and even seen the return of a few familiar faces. Not all of these episodes have hit the same highs as its predecessors, but we did particularly enjoy the introduction of human antagonist Carver, and the third episode, which placed the cast in a prison-like predicament.
Of course, as is now customary for the series, this finale begins with the Clem and her crew in arguably the biggest pickle yet: at the centre of a standoff with a group of angry Russians. This sets the scene for the last episode brilliantly, which can only reasonably be described as frantic. The episode runs at a breakneck speed for far longer than many of the other season’s episodes – and that means that this closer is just as brutal as Season One’s conclusion.
That’s not to say that it follows its predecessor beat for beat, but rather that it rekindles the emotional trauma from previous episodes. In fact, that suffering has been replicated several times over. And your sadness may differ to someone else’s, as there are a few different endings available at the conclusion of this instalment, which are each wildly different from one another. Honestly, they’re so disparate that we’re not sure how the studio’s going to tackle the already confirmed Season Three – unless it plans to make multiple games.
Whichever ending you receive, they are satisfying, though – especially seeing as they tackle one of the franchise’s most frequent criticisms: that your choices don’t really matter. They also further Clem’s immense growth, which, despite being a concern prior to release, has been one of the highlights of this season.
That’s not to say that this episode is flawless, though, as there are a few sections in this instalment that feel a little out of place. For starters, there’s a dream/hallucination sequence that seems a bit awkwardly implemented, as well as a couple of additional characters whose fates aren’t really explained. We suppose that could be because the developer intends to pick up the thread in future seasons, but it strikes us that said personalities have been simply shrugged aside.
And, of course, it’s always worth mentioning – as we do with every episode – that this game remains a mess from a technical perspective. We know that we’re starting to sound like a broken record, but the horrific frame rate lapses aren’t the only issues that we encountered in this instalment, with dead corpses unexpectedly flying around the screen, and completely breaking the tension of the events taking place at the same time. We can only hope that the upcoming PlayStation 4 version of the title will smooth out these issues.
The finale to The Walking Dead’s second season retains Telltale’s crown as the king of interactive storytelling. While this is a dark and frantic romp, ‘No Going Back’ also includes some light-hearted moments, which makes those closing scenes even more impactful. As a whole, this season is another seriously impressive achievement, and it will leave you asking one question: what’s going to happen next?