- Developer: Telltale Games
- Publishers: Telltale Games
- Genre: Interactive Drama, Graphic Adventure
- Release Date: 20th December 2016
- Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, Android
- Game Supplied by: Telltale Games
Two episodes available as part of a new The Walking Dead season launch Telltale? You’re spoiling us! If you’re like me then you’d rather all episodes in a season were released at once so you could binge play them through in one go, but having the episodes release individually has it’s benefits too, it’s exciting having an episode finish on a cliffhanger and then having to wait a month or so to find out what happens next whilst you chat to your friends about the choices you made and what direction you think the season is heading in. I tend to play the episodes as they are released, but once the final episode of a season is out I go back and play the whole season through in one go to get the most out of it.
Coming from a point and click childhood and having a love of good storytelling and fascination of zombies, you’ll probably find my reviews of The Walking Dead a bit biased, but I just can’t help it, I honestly think Telltale’s adaptation of The Walking Dead universe is fantastic and they’re easily up there in my top games, with the first two episodes of season 3 (Ties That Bind parts 1 & 2) being no exception. I’ll avoid spoilers during this review, but I will say that at least once during the first episode I was left with my jaw on the floor, I think I was actually in a bit of shock! For those of you who haven’t played any of Telltale’s games (The Walking Dead, Tales from the Borderlands, The Wolf Among Us etc…) then the gameplay is basically a mix of awesome storytelling, exploring environments trying to solve simple puzzles or interacting with a number of people, dealing with confrontation between characters and some frantic quick time events (QTEs) with a dash of button mashing.
As you’ve probably seen from the trailers fan-favourite Clementine plays a part yet again, but you take on the role of a brand new character, Javier, also known as Javi. During the first couple of episodes you’ll find yourself asking a few questions, but don’t fret, there are flashback scenes that’ll explain things and I assume by the end of episode 5, everything will tie together quite nicely. A New Frontier takes place a couple of years after season 2, which means you can bring across your save file and all your choices. In case you’re not sure how to do this, just launch season 2 on whatever device you played it on, go to your save file whilst in game and there should be a button to ‘upload’ (this will only work if you’re signed in to your Telltale account). Once you’ve done that you can then boot up season 3 and choose to continue your story, the Telltale server should then pick up your save and let you carry on. If you don’t have a previous save or season 3 is your first venture into Telltale’s The Walking Dead universe (you nutter, go back and play the first two seasons) you have two choices, either start a new game; “in this mode, season three starts with Clementine who has lost everyone from the previous seasons and is left alone with AJ” or you can use the story generator; “this will select one of 42 different ‘starting points’ that include not just your ending but also the relationships you had with different characters and the style of player you are”. 42 different starting points, to me that just shows how much thought goes into these games.
Graphically the game still has the awesome comic book style that everyone loves (this is based on the graphic novels by Robert Kirkman who created The Walking Dead), however it looks more polished compared to the previous seasons, it has more of a grittier, slightly darker look to it which I really like. As for the sound, well I actually find it hard to comment on sound nowadays as everything is of a pretty high standard, but as usual the voice acting was great however I was slightly thrown out by someone’s voice… it’s a character who also features in the TV show, and in the game he’s voiced by Brandon Keener (who also voices Garrus Vakarian in Mass Effect). for me the voice just didn’t fit very well and I found it hard not to focus on it every time he spoke!
A point worth noting, the usual Telltale stutter seems to have been resolved? It plagued my experience with the earlier The Walking Dead games and I specifically remember a point in The Wolf Among Us where I was about to discover something quite shocking, and the game froze up right as my character entered a room. I seem to recall that Tales from the Borderlands was ok though, so hopefully it’s in the past now. Do be careful and try not to bring up your messages or friends list during cut-scenes, I was trying to use that as a way of pausing the game but it crashed a couple of times! Other than that, gameplay was smooth and I didn’t encounter any other glitches.
The Walking Dead: A New Frontier has started off spectacularly and I can’t wait to see what’s coming next. I just hope that the whole season is as exciting as these first two episodes. I can’t recommend Telltale’s games enough, if you don’t play The Walking Dead then you’re seriously missing out on one of the greatest gaming experiences available to date.