Review: Walking Dead: No Going Back
By Sean Booker
September 4, 2014 - 21:54
Studios: Telltale Games
Rating: M (Mature)
Platform: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
This second season finale, No Going Back, doles out a good amount of tough decision making but falls short with muddy and loose plot structure. The episode feels lost in its direction and the ending comes out of seemingly no where. There are a good amount of tough choices to be had, several left me speechless or at pause as to how to proceed. Without any real destination the character moments feel lost in this lackluster finale.
As I stated with the last episode, it seems that the majority of the climatic threats were resolved in episode three, and this has caused the season’s second half to feel lost and without purpose. Episode five continues this by having no real main threat against the group but the group itself. It’s more of an inner conflict as members of your team begin to become more and more hostile. The game will make you choose between many of your teammates and I found myself hesitating constantly about who to trust and work with.
Though the character drama is high the lack of any real direction or purpose for your group causes the episode to feel shallow. Your group doesn’t appear to have any main goal besides surviving so the stakes remain fairly low and the danger is almost non-existent. Characters die either due to the environmental circumstances or just disappear altogether. With no real motivations it even makes the character drama feel silly. Allies will become incredibly hostile towards one another for what seems like just to cause any sort of conflict to occur. This makes any sense of finality come up short in what should be a major finale.
Many of these conflicts did impact me a great deal. Your group becomes divided several times and the game constantly puts you in the middle. My general playstyle of always being neutral and aligning with everyone wasn’t able to work this time. I had to make some tough decisions, several which really made me hesitate and freeze during the heated moment. It was emotional and I definitely appreciated them. This episode had some of the best tough choices in the season.
The ending didn’t hit very hard since I was completely unaware when it was coming. I could see no clear narrative arc to this episode. Scenes and environments came and went leaving behind a trail of loose ends. Unlike the first season, there was no major resolution since there wasn’t any real opposing threat to work through. No Going Back ended up being more of a let down instead of amping me up for the next installment.
This finale fell flat in a lot of ways that almost seemed assured after the conclusion of episode three. The second half of this season felt like it was trying to play catch up and piece everything back together after the first half’s events. It never quite caught the highs it started out with since it never really constructed a solid narrative structure to follow. No Going Back provided some great moments to decide upon and even now I’m left second guessing myself. Unfortunately I’m less interested in what comes next.
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