The Walking Dead: A New Frontier Episode One Review

Unless you’ve been hiding behind a rock for the past decade, you will no doubt be aware that Telltale games are replete with choices, comic book-style graphics, and gripping story lines. They do just what it says on the tin – tell tales.

Several years have passed since the second season of Telltale’s The Walking Dead graced us with its harrowing presence. And the third iteration, titled A New Frontier, reflects that gap as we return to the story of Clementine and her struggle for survival in The Walking Dead universe. However, as you pick up the story, you’re face to face with a new protagonist – Javier Garcia.

Immediately your ears are treated to haunting rearrangements of music from the first two seasons. This gives a strong sense of nostalgia to a series that has already done so much to push your emotions and test your humanity through tough choices in a zombie-infested world. It is that bond built with characters – fellow survivors – that unearths a sense of loyalty to not just those characters, but the series. In this, a New Frontier is no exception. Importing your save-game from the first two seasons recognises the choices you have made and alters the story accordingly, acknowledging the journey you’ve already undertaken.

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Importing your save-game is entirely optional, though. You can start from a clean slate if you wish, whether or not you’ve ever played either of the previous seasons. Taking the reins of new hero Javier at the beginning, it’s evident that A New Frontier is more polished than previous TellTale outings. Crisp graphics with no evidence of slow down – something that has plagued Telltale games recently. It’s a delight to watch as you work your way through the opening sequence.

“At a time where the TV series is stumbling, Telltale has given Walking Dead fans reason to rejoice.”
The pacing has picked up dramatically, too. It’s fast, frantic and as soon as you get past the opening scenes, you’re thrown into difficult, testing situations. A trend that continues throughout the episode.

The focus soon shifts to include series regular Clementine, prompting a moment of reflection as we pondered our time together, remembering the rough, life changing decisions you went through in the first two seasons. Clem is now a young, adolescent teenager. And although when you meet she is alone, her back story is filled with playable flashbacks that can bring a tear to even the hardest of us. Sadly, these are the only instances where we get to control Clementine, and as such our decisions are limited to reliving the past.

Javier himself is a likable character – having Clem in our hearts, we were surprised how quickly we bonded with Javier, and formed a bond between Javier and Clem. And it’s at this point you realise time has not been to Clementine. She’s not only older, but she has developed a hard-faced, tough but brave nature. Yet there are hints that this is an emotional barrier she has built for herself. It truly shows her resilience in a world where she has lost almost everybody.

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It would be wrong to piece out the story chapter by chapter, but rest assured Telltale has delivered a more than promising opening to A New Frontier. The choices are nicely spaced out between exploration, interaction and cut scenes, which gives the episode great pacing. When this is combined with quick time event action scenes and a shocking cliff-hanger ending, it’s a guarantee that you’ll return for the next episode.

If you’ve played, and enjoyed the previous seasons, then A New Frontier is a no brainer. Newcomers will still find enjoyment, especially if you’re a fan of the TV series or comic books.

The Walking Dead: A New Frontier Episode One is available from the Store priced £5.19

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A return to form and a return to TellTale's greatest franchise.
  • 8/10
    Overall - 8/10
8/10

Summary

Episode One sets the benchmark. The Ties That Bind has built upon the standards Telltale set in previous seasons. Thrust straight into a new compelling story whilst continuing with that of Clementine is a perfect blend. A nostalgic trip to The Walking Dead universe ensures you’ll want to return. But it also offers enough to be able to pick up the story from here without having to play the first two seasons. At a time where the TV series is stumbling, Telltale has given Walking Dead fans reason to rejoice.

Tim Slatford

Gamer since the 80's with an appetite for Xbox. Food lover with a side of movie junkie and a dash of American TV. Twitter - @Tim_Slatford Twitch - smokeysmokerson

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