The Walking Dead returns for a brand new season
Telltale Games’ fan-favourite The Walking Dead graphic adventure series continues with The Walking Dead: A New Frontier on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The third season of this interactive graphic adventure continues the story from season two, and this time you’ll play as Clementine, the heroine of the previous games, and Javier “Javi” Garcia, a former professional baseball player.
Once again your choices matter and will impact the story in significant ways, including who survives and who doesn’t. As a big fan of the first two seasons, I’ve been early awaiting the third season—lets find out together if The Walking Dead: A New Frontier is just as compelling as the first two seasons.
A horrifying tale of survival
The Walking Dead: A New Frontier’s story serves as both a continuation of what’s come before in the previous two seasons, as well as an all-new beginning set nearly four years after the outbreak events of season one. The first two seasons of The Walking Dead focused on how strangers can come together as friends and enemies, but The Walking Dead: A New Frontier looks at the impact the apocalypse has had on people before the zombie outbreak, with a special focus on families.
While Telltale Games have stressed that you can play this game without having previously played season one or season two, it’s technically true. However, if you haven’t played either games you are missing out on a huge backstory and any emotional weight that comes from those adventures. In particular Clementine, who was a central character in season one and the protagonist of season two.
Just as the first two seasons follow the events in the comic, so does a New Frontier. The game starts out at the beginning of the zombie outbreak, four years before the events of this games main story. You’ll start out by playing as Javi, a former professional baseball player, who has a questionable past. Depending on your choices, you’ll see how bonds and relationships suffer and adapt as he struggles to keep his family together in the post apocalyptic world.
A whole new side of Clementine
If you have been playing Telltale’s Walking Dead games from the beginning, a New Frontier is both stimulating and heartbreaking. It’s a look into what we, as gamers, have helped Clementine become. From the guidance we gave her as Lee, her surrogate father figure, in season one. To the direct control of Clementine’s actions, we took control of in season two.
We now get to see how Clementine has evolved from the innocent and vulnerable orphan she was, to the now hardy and cynical survivor of the zombie apocalypse. With Clementine’s hard edge attitude, you are never too sure just how she is going to react. As a long time fan of the series, I immediately got an eerie feeling.
The more I played, the more I felt as if I didn’t know Clementine so well anymore.
Classic Telltale gameplay
Just as in previous games in the series, you are able to import your save from the previous game. Or, you can answer some brief questions about key pivotal points of the previous games that will help shape Clementine’s personality.
The Walking Dead: A New Frontier follows the same successful point-and-click formula as Telltale Games’ previous games. A New Frontier is a game that requires split second decisions, which will influence the game’s entire story and the lives of the people around you.
Fun with friends and family
The Walking Dead: A New Frontier is Telltale Game’s second title to incorporate the multiplayer Crowd Play feature. You can have up to 12 players help you make decisions while playing the game. By turning on this feature, you will get a unique website address that friends and family can go to on any internet-enabled device to participate.
Viewers can rate you on different actions with a thumbs up, or a thumbs down. In addition, viewers can also vote for the many different dialogue options. If you are daring, you can setup the game so that the most popular decision is automatically made. Not to be confused, in its current iteration. Crowd Play is a local multiplayer experience that is best played with 4-12 people in the same room.
After participating in several playthroughs using the Crowd Play feature with family and friends, I can honestly say it was fun. The conversations we had about why certain choices were made became quite interesting. Needless to say, Crowd Play is very entertaining and is sure to give you and your friends hours of fun.
A beautiful post-apocalyptic world
The Walking Dead: A New Frontier definitely has a more cinematic feel than the previous two seasons. Furthermore, the game’s environments feel less flat and the camera angles are more dynamic. QTE prompts have been upgraded, they are now easier to see on screen and distinguish from the environment.
All these improvements are a result of Telltale’s updated graphical engine that a New Frontier uses. The new upgraded engine maintains the trademark stylized cartoon, sort of cell-shaded look. And, gives a New Frontier higher detailed characters, environments, and a more varied colour palette than previous games.
I came into The Walking Dead: A New Frontier with high expectations and Telltale Games did not let me down. As the company’s third game to be released at retail in the “Season Pass Disc” format, it left me wanting more. Given that only the first two episodes have been released at the time of this review, I’ll need to wait before I give my thoughts on The Walking Dead: A New Frontier as a whole.
However, based on what I’ve played thus far, Telltale Games have succeeded in continuing the rich, and engaging story that Walking Dead fans have fallen in love with. You don’t have to have played the previous games in the series to enjoy a New Frontier. Though, if you want to get the full experience, I highly recommend playing seasons one and two first.
Fans of Telltale Games, and The Walking Dead, will surely be delighted by the game’s beautiful graphics, which deliver a more seamless living comic book style experience than previous Telltale Games offerings. If you love any of the previous Telltale Games’, then you will definitely want to pick up The Walking Dead: A New Frontier —you won’t be disappointed.
+ The updated Telltale Games graphic engine looks fantastic
+ Crowd Play is fun and adds lasting appeal
+ New characters are solid
+ Story will keep you hooked wondering what will happen next
– Episode(s) are a tad short at about 90 minutes each
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4.5/5