With episode three only a week away, I decided to finally get my hands on the latest installment of Telltale’s Walking Dead series and delve into the world once more. The first episode Ties That Bind Us: Part One sets up an entirely new story with a new cast of characters alongside some familiar faces. I was surprised at how fast the episode had progressed however, it’s a great addition to a rich, diverse universe.
Warning! There will be spoilers so dive in at your own risk.
The story is straight-forward and to the point, resulting in a very fast playthrough if you don’t pause the game to contemplate your decisions. I played straight from my previous save file but I’m tempted to see how the recreate your story option works so it definitely warrants another playthrough just for that.
I won’t do a full on synopsis on the plot however, it’s centred in a very different place compared to previous games. The previous games revolve around strangers coming together to survive and the familial bonds that grow between them. In A New Frontier, we’re introduced to the Garcia family and how Javier (our main character in addition to Clem) works to keep them together. It’s a new type of family that we’re dealing with. Uncharted territory.
One detail I enjoyed was Francine’s dead man’s hand during the poker game. While it opens up the possibility for her future death, it’s a small detail that might be missed unless you know the reference or looked up on forums how to win the game (I, personally, am part of the latter).
It’s a solid start to the game, albeit a little too quick to finish. It’s a great set-up for what’s seems to be another adventure.
The game introduces Javier Garcia as our new playable protagonist along with his family. While it’s still to early to tell how good Javi is as a character, it’s clear he’s completely different from the other characters we have encountered in the previous Walking Dead games.
The rest of the Garcia family have their own little quirks as well as struggles. I enjoy the fact that they speak their own language and call the walkers “muertos.” It’s a nice little touch that brings these characters to life. Onto the individual family members though.
Kate is someone who I don’t really have much affection for but I can see where she’s coming from. Right now, I’m playing to avoid any romance between Javi and Kate mainly because it might cause some repercussions in the future if David re-appears. Also, I prefer Eleanor and Javi anyways.
The kids are charming though it’s a shame to see what happened with poor Mari. Though, I’m waiting for some Gabe and Clem interaction. Just saying. There’s not much I can say about the other family members but I did come across a spoiler for a future episode concerning David’s role so… that’s what you get for researching.
Now getting to the character that everyone wants to see the most: Clementine. She’s our constant rock throughout this series and it’s great to see her all grown-up. However, it’s clear that she has some scars from her previous experiences so she’s quite distant yet very bad-ass. It’s clear her relationship with AJ will play an important part in future episodes and she seems to be a great guardian for him from what’s been seen.
The game is consistent with Telltale’s signature style which is nice to see in a world where games are becoming more cinematic and the graphics are going above and beyond. However, that doesn’t mean that the developers have tried to improve for the next-generation consoles. It’s subtle but it’s especially more evident in the introduction with the Garcia’s in their panic. The rapid cuts signal a sense of urgency that hasn’t been present in its predecessors.
The controls are consistent with its previous games and simple to navigate. Though, I will highlight the different animation and art style that the creators have taken is a nice improvement to the game – even if it’s only a subtle change.
The decisions of the game were not as intense as previous games but since it’s the first episode, I’ll let it slide. However, someone pointed out to me that our decisions might be influenced by Clementine’s presence. Since we’re playing as Javi and already have an affection for Clem, the developers might have considered playing to this affiliation and may cause us to put our trust in Clem over what might be the better decision. It’s an interesting theory that I’m curious to try out after my first playthrough.
So this review got a lot more longer than I expected it to be but hopefully, later reviews of episodes will be shorter since it’s just the first episode. Regardless, if you’re a fan of the Walking Dead games, play it for Clem. Play it for bad-ass Clem.