The Walking Dead: Season Two, Episode Five Review (PC)
With the final episode of The Walking Dead: Season Two in the books, we now have even more to discuss and lots to look forward to seeing in Season Three. Clementine’s had a rocky journey in getting to this point, but the time has come to see how she’s grown and what kind of person she’ll become in the zombie apocalypse. Oh yeah, spoilers lie ahead. So if you haven’t finished the episodes in Season Two up until this point, be warned.
I won’t lie, a lot of Season Two felt very disjointed, depending on the choices you made for Clementine, and there seemed to be a lack of a cohesive element that tied everything together emotionally. While I still cared about Clementine and her survival, I found it very difficult to give too much of a damn about the rest of the group and the ever-revolving cast of characters. The fact is that none of them stuck around enough, or even stuck out enough, to matter to me, save for Jane (and only because she was the least whiny and the most incredibly badass).
But as it is, the start of ‘No Going Back’ is already cranked up to 11 because of the standoff that served as a cliffhanger in the penultimate episode. Now, more than ever, Clementine’s choices matter and decide the fate of her companions. This was perhaps the most nerve-wracking set of choices and interactions since the exploration of the dairy farm in Season One: Episode Two that was full of cannibals.
The main theme for this episode centered around the difficult choices we make during times when snap decisions are required. Whereas some choices before would have subtle or unseen results, Clem’s choices in this episode have immediate consequences and, worst of all, decide the fate of her companions. For example, Luke gets into a spot of trouble on an icy pond, falls through a crack and into the water and thusly needs to be saved from an oncoming group of walkers before he freezes to death or drowns. Do you, feeling like you’re light enough, tread on the ice to pull him out? Or do you use your crackshot skills to try to shoot down the threats while someone else tries to get him. One choice means death while the other means… well, you’ll see.
While there are plenty of quiet parts and a few poignant moments, everything seems to be falling apart bit by bit, with members of your party turning on each other every other minute. The two most vocal members are Jane and Kenny, giving you a good idea of the choices you’ll have to make in the end game. There’s no love lost between these two and as Clem, you’re stuck in the middle of trying to trust a new comrade who’s good at surviving and was willing to come back for you, or staying loyal to an old friend like Kenny, who is slowly starting to grow more and more erratic by the day, though his only goal is making sure everyone, especially Clem and the baby, survive.
Unfortunately, there aren’t any innovative changes in the gameplay for this episode to make it stand out, other than the occasional shooting sequences that task you with clicking on walker heads when they become clickable in order to kill them, but the last 20 minutes or so of story more than make up for the lack of action or puzzle solving. If nothing else, this episode is pure story, so get ready to hear a lot more of the top-notch voice-acting you’ve come to expect since tensions run very high and everyone starts going cray-cray at one point or another.
I won’t spoil anything here, but there’s a reason why the episode is titled ‘No Going Back’, so prepare yourself to make some really tough, really permanent choices. And they’re not as light as choosing what Cloud wants to wear when he dresses up like a girl in the Wall Market. Suffice to say that it’s interesting to think about how your choices and endings will come into play in Season Three of The Walking Dead.
While Season Two did its best to present the story of a little girl growing up into a seasoned survivor in a shattered world full of death, it fell short of capturing the magic that Season One held. There was just something about taking control of Lee and feeling his need to protect and teach Clementine that couldn’t be recreated, and actually being Clementine and making choices for her wasn’t as engaging, which is strange to say. Even so, Season Two has to be commended for providing thrilling moments and a chance to reunite with some of our favorite characters from Season One. Let’s just hope Season Three will provide a tighter narrative, varied gameplay experiences and the feeling like our choices matter more.
This review was based on a digital version of The Walking Dead: Season Two, Episode Four provided by the publisher for the PC.