Hello everyone and welcome. Another game has finally been completed. I can now finally check off “The Walking Dead: A New Frontier” from my backlog list. I had a lot of fun with this title and I cannot wait to start talking about it, so without further ado, let’s get started!
Clementine’s story continues in this “pseudo” season 3 of Telltale’s “The Walking Dead” series entitled “A New Frontier”. We pick up a couple years after the events of season 2, Clementine is now entering her teens, young AJ is now a babbling toddler, and the world is still the terrible and dead land we all love. I call this title a “pseudo” season 3 because for the first time in the series the game switches it’s focus from the loveable Clementine to a brand new character: Javier García but at the same time keeps her story going. Javi (Javier) is a troubled character that struggles from many issues pre and post apocalypse, including family ties, love interests, and life choices – Javier is the perfect choice to lead a new chapter in the world. Alongside Javi we are also introduced to his family and see their journey from the beginning of the outbreak up until they finally come in contact with Clem. Almost overnight the Garcia’s are thrown into a brand new world where not only their skills will be tested but where their family bonds will be pushed to their limits.
You’ll learn it quickly enough, but famoly is a huge theme for this season of The Walking Dead. One of the huge focus points of the story is the juggle of relationships between Javi’s brother’s wife Kate, your niece Mariana and your nephew Gabriel. Which approach you do take? Do the best you can and protect the kids from danger or side with your love interest Kate and let them make their own choices, despite the consequences? All of these bonds heavily influence not only the story but what type of character you form Javier into. It doesn’t stop there however, Clementine’s goal also revolves around family. She is so sick and tired of losing the people she loves, tired of seeing them suffer and inevitably die in the end. With AJ she though this might be the one person that survives and it would be the end of her heartbreak. Her primarily goal is to seek his safety, almost as if she was his mother.
I both liked and disliked that the story would constantly include elements time hoping via flashbacks. On one hand it is nice to see what happened to Clem between season 2 and this story, it’s also great to see Javi’s journey, but at the same time it kind of takes me out the experience of the moment. I would personally love to have played these segments either as a post season 2 dlc type thing or as an epilogue to “A New Frontier”. There is a silver lining to this however, the pacing of these events was well executed using key moments in the story to flash back in order to increase the tension and further deepen those bonds between the cast. Almost everything this game does shapes how the player views the characters and brings the story to near perfect levels.
Visually speaking “A New Frontier” received a massive overhaul. In preparation to this season I replayed both season 1 & 2 to recap the story and have a backstory to load into my PS4 copy. Needless to say the first two seasons are slightly dated by this point. This doesn’t mean they looked bad necessarily, the games had their own unique cellshaded style that was simplistic yet beautiful. In my opinion the first two seasons look a lot more cartoony compared to “A New Frontier”. Take for example Jane, her design is drastically changed from season 2 and it surprised me at first – I had no clue who I was looking at. Clementine also received quite the makeover, she looks so much older despite it only being around 2 or so years later. Despite the original shock of characters looking different, “A New Frontier” is gorgeous and the cellshaded style that TellTale is known for makes it look just like a comic, going hand in hand with the source material of “The Walking Dead” comics.
Ah, gameplay. It’s a TellTale game afterall so honestly you’re going to get exactly same what you expect. It’s your standard point and click adventure with Telltale’s signature story telling and character development. “Look at” “Use on” “…” are some of the commands you will see the most during your journey. This is a huge simplification of the system but that’s essentially what it is, yet at the same time it can be so much more. As you play through the title you slowly make choices that build the story up, choices that you may or may not regret, choices that may or may not pan out well. That’s the beauty with Telltale and The Walking Dead, the choices you make. A strong selling point or three games are how the story evolves around the choices made, characters adapt and change almost as if they were actual people. It’s an experience that you cannot find elsewhere, a deep connection with both character and story.
Other than these few classic traits, TellTale experiments with a few new mechanics such as attempting to make the game more “action packed” by adding more quick time events that slightly make you feel like you’re more in control of the character, some of which were uniquely implemented. “A New Frontier” is an excellent addition to The Walking Dead story.
I had almost forgot about this part – Crowd Play. This system has been in previous TellTale titles but it’s still relatively new and in my opinion a cool feature. Crowd Play essentially allows a group of people to play the game together. It’s an amazing feature for both streamers and friends/family that want to experience and shape the story together. The primary player still goes about controlling the character, choosing where they go and what they Interact with, however once a decision pops up the spectators take out their phones/devices and select the response for our hero to take. It then proceeds to compile the votes and make a choice based off of that. I love it and find it a great system, brings out the true nature of people at times when you can see what they would in certain situations. However, I wouldn’t recommend this for your first playthrough, those chocies are more personal.
“A New Frontier” is a fantastic game. A gripping story is continued with superb story telling and deep characters. This title will grab your attention from the very beginning and keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end. Each and every one of the 5 episodes will leave you wanting more with its dramatic cliff hangers between episodes. If you’re a fan of story telling and character development or even a fan of making choices and holding fate in your hands then this is the game for you.
⚠️⚠️⚠️ Spoilers Ahead ⚠️⚠️⚠️
I feel like I can’t really talk about this game in depth without comparing it to the comics at least a little bit. Also he story has some interesting elements that I want to talk about. With that being said, the following will contain major spoilers for both the comics and the video game. Proceed at your own risk.
Let’s start off with the time period of the game. From the start of the zombie apocalypse up until now has been about 4 or 5 years. This time period puts it in perfect synchronization with the comics which opens up so many possibilities. We could see a handful of characters we know and love from the comics make their way into the video games. We already got a look at Jesus and some of the Kingdom warriors, who knows what or who else can come up.
At the end of the game we get a splash screen that simply says “Clementine’s story will continue…” When I saw this I lost my shit and was instantly hyped for the next season of the series. With the story now in sync with the comics, we could see the whisperers play a role with Clem, she might even have a run in with Rick and the gang or even the amazing Negan. During the game we learned from Jesus that the kingdom and hilltop are just a few miles from their current location, with Jesus himself on a mission to look for some of his missing people. Maybe Clem accidentally becomes enemies with Rick, maybe she puts an end to Negan, hell she might even meet Beta from the whisperers and join up with them. Oh man, there’s just so many possibilities that they could play with, I’m very excited to see what comes next.
This also speaks wonders for the comics as well. What if we get some kind of cameo from Clem inside of the comics? It would even be perfect as some sort of tease for the next season. Although it wouldn’t be anything permanent (obviously because the comics aren’t choose your own adventure) seeing this would be awesome, any kind of crossover will send me through the roof with excitement.
One thing I really want to talk about that I felt I couldn’t in the main review is the end recap of characters. TellTale takes a new approach to the series (to my knowledge) by giving a sort of “bio” about how each character turns out at the end. These end title cards show a lot of detail, including Clem’s new found personality, your relationship with family members, and even the outcome of some important characters whether they live or die. It’s a great feature that I think will lead to something interesting in future seasons.
I have high hopes for the future of this series.