The Walking Dead: A New Frontier Ep 1-2 ReviewA spoiler-free look at Telltale’s season three double-episode premiere, “The Ties That Bind Pt I and II”
The debut of Telltale’s The Walking Dead shook the gaming world with its incredible storytelling, lovable (and loathsome!) characters, and tough moral choices. Four years on, season three proves that Telltale aren’t losing any steam, continuing to shock and antagonise players with masterful narrative.
With the unusual choice of debuting with the first two episodes simultaneously, The Walking Dead: A New Frontier introduces us to our new protagonist, Javier García, a family-oriented man who’s simply trying to survive alongside his brother’s wife Kate and her two step-children, Mariana and Gabriel. It’s a harsh world full of the shuffling undead, but as Javier soon finds out, oftentimes it’s the living that you really need to be careful of.
You can’t choose your family
While episode one introduces our new companions at a comfortable pace to help establish their personalities and relatable issues, things soon start picking up speed thanks to panic and rash decision making, and by the second episode you’ll be in familiar territory with characters and places rather reminiscent of both season one’s Savannah and Carver’s makeshift fort from season two.
It’s no secret that series veteran Clementine appears in the current season. Saved and mentored by player character Lee in the first season and starring as the main protagonist for the second, Clementine is a tough kid bent on surviving the walking apocalypse as best as she can. It won’t take long to bump into her, but she may not be quite as you remember her to be.
This season introduces flashbacks for each episode, which help flesh out Javier’s background in the days leading up to the initial breakouts as well as revealing what happened to Clementine after your choices in season two. New information trickles slowly and teasingly from these flashbacks, helping you understand Clementine’s attitudes as well as carefully setting up interpersonal relationships and their often surprising consequences as the season progresses.
If you’re new to Telltale’s The Walking Dead and you’re (oddly) choosing to start with the brand new season, the game has an option to simply start fresh and will create a version of Clementine that helps new players get to know her and her past more easily. Series veterans who don’t have save files from previous seasons on hand — for instance, if you’re moving from console to computer — will enjoy the new option to recreate your backstory via a series of decisions that reflect the major experiences and choices from earlier seasons. As someone who doesn’t have his older save games, this tool is invaluable and a very smart move from Telltale.
So far, The Walking Dead: A New Frontier is shaping up to be a fantastic continuation of Telltale’s superbly crafted universe. We’re anxious to see what unravels next giving the revelations of The Ties That Bind, as well as seeing just what exactly happened to a certain character who is currently and ominously missing.