For weeks and months, I tell myself that I don’t need it. Every time, it’s going to be the same. No matter what choices I make, the game ends up playing out the same way. Despite that, each and every Walking Dead game from Telltale excites me and for good reason: the journey is what counts. With The Walking Dead: A New Frontier, players go on a new journey again and it is as exciting, engaging, and existential as every title before it.
New Frontier once again gives players a new protagonist to follow in the form of Javi. The dynamics of a new character alongside new bonds changes players’ choices dramatically. Having actual familial ties, as opposed to Clementine’s lack thereof or Lee’s pseudo daughter in Clementine, changes the decisions that I wanted to make. Of course, the interactions get even more interesting once Clementine shows up. Though she is a complete stranger to Javi, we as players certainly know her pretty well so I felt a bit biased in my choices. Effectively, it felt less like a role playing game immediately. Am I playing as Javi, whose family I love and can’t leave behind? Or do I side with Clem, whom I have come to know over the course of two other games already? The inclusion of Javi and Clem is both an interesting one and one that ultimately takes players out of the role playing experience.
For players who haven’t played the first two titles or may have jumped from system to system throughout their playthroughs, the opportunity to recreate Clementine from the ground up is a welcome one. The game simply presents players with a series of questions, which either serve as hypothetical or a series of recaps, to help determine what type of Clem will encounter Javi later on. After players finish with the questions, they receive a fairly comprehensive description of her. It’s a great way to either catch up with the game or to experiment. Unfortunately, there haven’t been any videos with that comparison but it would certainly be interesting.
While the overall journey is compelling and having both Clem and Javi there is what makes it so, Telltale titles still comes with their usual slew of shortcomings. It is hard to plan for a game with so many choices and some of the writing ultimately shows this weakness. Early on, Javi’s group is cornered into a bungalow, even though Javi has repeatedly said his group has left already. The antagonists in the game certainly seem a bit psychic.
As always though, players will be in for a good time. Even though we can all expect the same ending regardless of the choices we make, it is precisely the choices we make that create the compelling experience we get each and every time. With two episodes coming out right at the beginning, A New Frontier is compelling and makes the wait for the next episode even more aggravating.
- New character brings interesting dynamics
- Clem can be created from the ground up
- Including both Clem and Javi makes for a less-than-immersive game
- Some dialogue and writing doesn’t make sense
Reviewed on: PC; Also Available on; PS4, Xbox One; Publisher: Telltale Games; Developer: Telltale Games; Players: Single Player; Released: December 20, 2016; ESRB: Mature; MSRP: $24.99; Official Site
Note: A promotional code was provided to Denkiphile for review purposes by the publisher