The Walking Dead – A New Frontier Review: New Beginnings

June 5th, 2017 -

Do you have an escape plan in place for the impending zombie apocalypse? If you don’t, you really should; even the CDC does, which can be found here if you don’t believe me. I personally have 1,326 of them, and 1,325 begin with tripping my mother-in-law. If you need help starting yours, or want to see how your partner, friends or family stack up, Telltale’s The Walking Dead series is a great place to start.

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In case you’ve been living under a rock the past 5 years or so, The Walking Dead tells the story of survivors following a zombie outbreak and spans comic books, a hit TV show, as well as a few game series. The most entertaining and successful series being the Telltale one we’re discussing today. Telltale has taken their formula of taking licensed products and created a universe that, while separate from the other media associated with The Walking Dead, is very much their own while still feeling at home with the source material. While essentially a point-and-click adventure with some quick time events, it sucks you in and won’t let go until the credits roll.

If you are a veteran from the previous 2 seasons of The Walking Dead, you will be able to import your story and save into A New Frontier. This does a great job of incorporating the previous stories into one cohesive story without many loopholes. If you are new to the series, you can also make your own decisions or watch handy recaps which bring you up to speed on the past seasons.

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A New Frontier tells the story of Javier, a new comer to the series, and longtime fan favorite Clementine. When we first met Clementine, she was a scared little girl hiding in a treehouse at the beginning of the outbreak, and it’s amazing to see how she’s evolved into a full-fledged badass that puts Sarah Conner to shame. You’ll spend most of your time as Javier, who is not nearly as interesting or adept for survival as Clementine; however, you will swap between characters a few times during the 5 episodes. Most of the support cast are well written as well, with only a few characters occasionally throwing childlike tantrums that seem out of place for how someone would act during the events that unfold.

Since the story is such a huge part of the game and in an effort to avoid any spoilers, I will not be touching much on it. I will say the story does move at a much quicker pace than any of the previous Telltale Games, and the only pacing issues that I noticed were with the flashbacks offered at the beginning of each episode. These provide insight into Javier’s family and backstory, but break up the momentum from the cliffhanger ending of the episode prior. The quicker pace I mentioned has also cut down on the length of each episode from the prior entries in the series, each clocking in at 70-90 minutes, opposed to being 2 hours or longer. I did not see a big issue with this, but some gamers may feel cheated at the price compared to the actual time you spend playing the game.

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The visual difference between this entry and the past 2 seasons features an amazing increase of detail and gore. In the previous games, the walkers tended to all look the same as if they were just copied and pasted between scenes, and the characters looked almost too cartoonish. I was impressed at the number of times I winced or was shocked at the sheer amount of blood and brain matter sprayed from a well-placed headshot. This upgrade does improve the facial and background details as well, which is a welcome change since a number of the backgrounds looked almost too still and barren for taking place during a disaster of this scale.

The biggest and most welcome change to this series is that the decisions you make actually seem to make a lasting impact to the story and the characters the you interact with. In the previous seasons, your choices would only differ slightly, resulting in essentially the same story being told. With this iteration, the story branches out so much so that even minor decisions may leave a lasting impact on your alliances and the overall outcome. This makes it feel like each story is your own and encourages multiple playthroughs, which I’ve never felt the need to do with the past iterations.

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During my 6 hour playthrough I did experience a number of visual glitches. While they did not impact my ability to play the game, some were mildly annoying and lasted longer than welcome. The most annoying of which spanned the entirety of Episode 3, in which the backpack worn by Javier seemed to melt sideways across the background. This effect did result in a cheap death which had cleared up the issue, only minutes before the finale of the chapter. Even with this annoyance, I would recommend purchasing this title if you’re a fan of horror, The Walking Dead, or Telltale Games.

 

BUY

Pros

  • Visual Upgrades
  • Story
  • Replay Options

Cons

  • Technical Glitches in Animation
  • Some Supporting Characters (Manbun)

The Walking Dead: A New Frontier was developed and published by Telltale Games. The final episode launched on PC, PS4, and X1 on May 30th, 2017 for $4.99, and was made available on mobile devices shortly thereafter. The game was provided to us for review on Xbox One. If you’d like to see more of The Walking Dead: A New Frontier, check out the official site.

 

Here at FFoP we use a rating method that you may be unfamiliar with, so allow us to clarify. When we review a game, we see what sort of BRA fits. Buy, Rent, or Acquire is the rating we give out – we’ve boiled it down for simplicity. A Buy is worth the full retail value; a Rent is something you may want to try before you buy, or grab at a discount; an Acquire is something you can play, but we’d suggest borrowing it from someone, grabbing it in a game bundle, or some other means. If you want further clarification, please feel free to get in touch.

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