Soundtrack and voice acting are both on-point, continuing to maintain the bar set by The Walking Dead's first two seasons.
The Walking Dead: A New Frontier benefits from Telltale's new engine, proving more stable than the dev's previous titles. The comic book-inspired art style still looks great.
Telltale continues to play it somewhat safe, with its tried and tested adventure game formula, all QTEs, dialogue choices and the occasional tough decision to be made. It still works, though.
They're not particularly lengthy episodes, Ties That Bind part one and two, but Telltale has still crammed in plenty of material here. Eventful to say the least, A New Frontier's premiere makes sense as a two-parter, and you'll relish both chapters.
It's a Telltale game, so that means the usual progression-based achievement list. Nuff said.
December 20, 2016
Arguably the game that marked Telltale Games out as a purveyor of choice-driven narrative adventures, The Walking Dead remains one of the studio's most lauded series to date. And after a fairly intense two seasons, The Walking Dead: A New Frontier could be one of the most interesting yet. That's if its first two episodes are anything to go by, which Telltale has opted to release together in one go, as a blistering two-hander. And from the get-go, if you haven't played the last two seasons of The Walking Dead (or even if you have), you can choose what state you'd like to begin the game with.
Eschewing the tag of 'Season Three', 'A New Frontier' is something of a statement of intent from Telltale, ushering in a new narrative thread with fresh face Javier thrust to front and centre of The Walking Dead's opening chapters. On paper, it really shouldn't work. Clementine has been at the heart of The Walking Dead since the very beginning, despite her only being playable during the second season. Like season one's Lee Everett, however, Javier is a man with an ostensibly murky past, a small sliver of which kicks things off in the very first scene of episode one.
A New Frontier's narrative structure is expertly orchestrated, its focus on two different characters shifting at the right moments, flitting between past and present as you're presented with insights into the missing pieces in both Javier and Clementine's respective stories. While parts one and two of A New Frontier's opening episode, titled 'Ties That Bind', manage to cram in numerous twists and revelations, Telltale has also succeeded in leaving enough questions unanswered that you'll be salivating at the prospect of episode three.
Juggling Javier and Clem could have been awkward, but A New Frontier handles both characters with aplomb, even deftly handling the shift in focus from one to the other. You might think that putting Javier in the spotlight is a risk, and to an extent it is, but these first two premiere episodes establish him as a relatable and interesting character; another complicated person with a family in tow all striving to stay alive in a world that's continuing to go to hell.
The Walking Dead: A New Frontier also has its fair share of rug pulls, one moment in particular eliciting an audible gasp. These first two episodes pack in something unexpected and shocking at almost every turn, but it never seems contrived or forced. Even the numerous choices and decisions feel impactful and important, one wrong move having genuine, sometimes immediate consequences. These being the premiere episodes, however, it's too early to tell whether your choices will carry any genuine weight in the long run.
Nonetheless, Ties That Bind part one and two set things off on an exciting path, with the first episode brilliantly establishing new faces and another new journey into unknown territory. You'll have to figure out who you can and can't trust all over again, adapting to each drama as it unfolds. Once more, The Walking Dead: A New Frontier is all about family and you'll do everything you can to keep yours together. Telltale has done a stellar job in making The Walking Dead's two-part debut every bit as compelling as its best output; indeed, it's among the best episodes the studio has released to date. So far, A New Frontier is fantastic.