A New Frontier takes us deep into the post apocalyptic world of The Walking Dead, but now it seems that civilization is figuring out how to live as normally as they can while their dead walk around and try to eat them. It’s the same set up as the comic book, the series, and the other games, except this time it gives you a new perspective. Clementine is not our main protagonist this time around. If I’m being honest, Clementine is almost unrecognizable in her personality in this first episode. She’s rough, she’s alone, and she has no problem with bartering people’s lives or safety for their vehicle.
Javi is our new hero. He is a disgraced baseball star who was kicked out for betting on his own games. He walked out on his family and was viewed as the black sheep. As family does, they mostly take him back in with open arms. The exception is his brother, David. David sees Javi as a freeloader who will never get his life together. This leads to some dramatic conversations and disagreements.
Without giving away any more of the set up, David gets broken off from the group as the outbreak of the dead begins. Javi takes charge and protects David’s wife and 2 kids, Gabe and Mariana.
The rest of the story is mostly played years after the dead have risen. Flashbacks help us piece together the dynamic that the family holds in the present. Clementine joins the mix in and out of the story. Not everything she does is shown, but it doesn’t need to be. We also get a few flashbacks with her as well and get to play a little of her past, bridging the gap between season 2 and 3.
My biggest issue with the game lies within the previous season’s choices. While I played season 1 and 2, I felt like my choices really mattered. I was making hard-hitting choices that felt like they would ruin the rest of the game if I screwed up. This season gave me some romantic decision and a few hard ones, but mostly, I didn’t feel like the story changed all that much by what I did. Maybe the end of this season will determine how you start the next season or some half season (like Michonne or 400 Days).
Season 1 made me an emotional wreck. SPOILER ALERT for Season 1: A Lee sat on the ground slowly dying, I forced little Clementine to watch me die and shoot my zombified self. As the life drained from Lee and Clem cried, I bawled. Season 2 made me reconnect with my old friend Kenny. SPOILER ALERT for Season 2. Kenny went crazy and made me choose between killing him and someone who wasn’t freaking crazy. I did what I had to and killed Kenny. I teared up and said an emotional goodbye to a man who took Clem in and treated her like family. He needed a substitute for Duck, and Clem could be that. Saying all this brings me to my problem with the game. I didn’t feel emotionally attached to anyone. Seeing people die, seeing people get revenge, it was like watching a few episodes of a TV show in which the main character shows up only a couple of times.
The graphics are excellent this time around. I felt like they might have used motion capture at some point, because the characters feel real. The new engine for Telltale Games is excellent and I look forward to playing more of their games on this engine. It is still the same cell shaded look, though, so if you’re not into that, then this is not your game.
To me, a good video game is one where I am thinking about it while I’m at work or looking up stuff about it on my off times that I’m not near my computer or console. The Walking Dead: A New Frontier only had me excited during the first episode and last episode. It was a bit of a chore to get through it’s almost 8 hours. Episode 3 dragged on and on. It was definitely the worst of the group.
In the end, I’m glad I played the game. Clementine is an interesting character. I’m looking forward to her next and hopefully last journey. Not using her as the main character, was a bad choice for Telltale Games. I’ll be honest, though, this is one of Telltale’s weaker games.
If you love The Walking Dead and are a completionist (like me), play the game. If you haven’t really gotten into anything but the show or the comic, maybe it’s not worth the time you’ll spend playing.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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