Telltale’s episodic graphic adventure game The Walking Dead: A New Frontier has finally ended with Episode 5: From the Gallows. Here I am sitting, trying to write a review with a broken heart.
A New Frontier is also known as The Walking Dead: Season Three since it is a sequel to The Walking Dead and The Walking Dead: Season Two. And three of them, I must say, were probably the most beautiful things created by Telltale Games. The Walking Dead: 400 Days and The Walking Dead: Michonne also spiced things up.
Telltale’s The Walking Dead series received very positive feedback from the community at the very beginning and this satisfactoriness showed a falling tendency with new episodes and seasons.
Following the story of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead comic book series rather than 2010 TV series ensured the game a great success, but we all agree that the reason behind all this love is our beloved Clementine.
Clementine first appeared in The Walking Dead in 2012 as a non-playable character and our mission through the season was protecting Clementine at any cost as Lee, the protagonist of the game. Because of Clementine, we have created a rock solid bond with the game which will last for a long time. While some of the gamers don’t approve the Telltale’s interactive gameplay design and claim that our choices don’t even matter, The Walking Dead Season 1 ensured a splendid gameplay with a shockingly good narrative. Season 1 left us hanging with painful questions about Clementine and starting from that moment, we carried Clementine in our hearts.
The Walking Dead: 400 Days appeared as a DLC pack for Season 1 and was a great add-on to the game. 400 Days tells five linked stories of different characters and gives us a chance to see the zombie apocalypse from five different points of views.
In 2012, The Walking Dead: Season 2 extended the story of The Walking Dead with better graphics. But, this time it gave us something more important than any other. It gave us Clementine as main protagonist. Still broken by the events of the first game, Clementine fought hard to survive. Season 2 maybe was not as strong enough emotionally as the first season, but watching Clementine fighting in order to survive in this mad world with zombies and growing up while doing this gave us enough satisfaction.
The Walking Dead: Michonne on the other hand, tells a story of Michonne, blade-wielding character from Robert Kirkman’s comic book series. Michonne achieved being one of the most outstanding characters of the series with her agonizing story. She has lost so many, yet still she was so strong. The Walking Dead: Michonne was the most dramatic entry to the game. Through pain, it told us that at the end, we are always alone.
The Walking Muertos
And finally last year, on December 20, The Walking Dead: A New Frontier launched. A New Frontier differs from the first two seasons of The Walking Dead since it revolves around a family which went deep into chaos after the ‘muerto’ apocalypse.
While playing The Walking Dead: A New Frontier, we delve deep into the story of Javier and his family from the first moments of apocalypse. Zombie apocalypse effected everyone and every family differently and A New Frontier gives us a chance to see that damned world through the eyes of the Garcia family.
I admit that playing The Walking Dead with another protagonist than Clementine is a little hard to accept, but Javi is also an interesting character to control. He and his family first witnessed their father turn into a zombie (they call them ‘muerto’) and after that, you can imagine that things got pretty crazy. With Garcia family, we get to make a refreshing start to The Walking Dead story and gain a new point of view.
Before A New Frontier, The Walking Dead games always assured that you are alone in this hellish world after the apocalypse. Your family, your loved ones, your children and all the people you know are now gone or walking around as mindless zombies, and you need to fight alone to survive. This loneliness usually turns into short friendships since everybody keeps dying. But briefly, we spend time with lots of different people during the gameplay.
A New Frontier is different because for the first time, as a protagonist, we have a family to protect and as you get to know Javi, you want to protect him and his family no matter what. Javi is the unreliable little brother to his ex-soldier brother, but when muertos filled the streets, Javi is the one to protect his brother’s wife and two children.
An emotional ball of yarn. Guts included.
Having a family to protect is something to cherish, yes. But, that means every person you lose during the gameplay -this is no spoiler since The Walking Dead is all about dying- is a family member and the sorrow is grand. This sorrow and pain holds the family together and through the gameplay, we witness Javi become a man and the protector of the loved ones.
After that night Javi, Kate and two children spent most of their time on the road and it was inevitable for them to come across with Clementine. After an unfortunate series of events, Javi got caught and separated from the family, yet he was rescued by of course, Clementine. With the help of Clementine, we learnt that there is a new formation as “The New Frontier” which was once good and peaceful, yet in time, it became twisted.
From that point, Clementine was always the part of the story and your decisions throughout the previous games affects how Clementine behaved during the Episode 2 and A New Frontier. Time to time, the game offers flashbacks to the pasts of both Javi and Clementine. Through these flashbacks, you will see Javi’s life with his family and how Clementine got this far with A.J the baby.
Through their adventure, Javi and Clementine met various people and if you are familiar with Telltale’s style, you know that these people are a huge part of the gameplay since when it comes to choices, it is usually a choice between people. So, who is sided with you is mostly up to you and your choices.
While Javi’s story revolves around family relationships, secret loves, loss, hope and muertos, Clementine’s story continues being about A.J. and walkers. These two stories came together and create a bigger story for both of them since all the lives are at stake in this cruel world. Despite all the resistance Clementine shows, she can’t help but get involved with tangled relationships of Garcia’s. By helping each other, Javi and Clementine try to survive and save their loved ones. Since Clementine is not the main protagonist but a strong side character, you may find yourself wanting to side with her while making decisions. That’s what I did.
But, the game also pushes you where you must choose between Clementine and Javi. Even though I admire Clementine, if I hadn’t played the previous games and known her, I would totally choose Javi. Clementine can’t go further from being a side character in A New Frontier, yet with no doubt she is the one makes the game irresistible.
Knowing that you can change the ending of the game with your previous decisions is priceless. Between five different endings, Telltale’s story generator tool will choose one according to your choices. Each ending will offer you a unique story about the characters. And again, if you are familiar with Telltale’s games, you know that these choices are sometimes a matter of life and death.
I am sure that everything I will say about the story of The Walking Dead: A New Frontier will be a spoiler since a Telltale’s game’s most important part is the story. But, I can say that A New Frontier tells a more complicated, deep and emotional story with a splendid narrative and perfectly written characters.
Looks and sounds good to me.
When it comes to graphics, I must say that Telltale achieved a great job. I don’t know if it was me, but From the Gallows has something different from the others, and specially the last moments of the game looks strikingly good. From the start and until the end, I enjoyed everything with my eyes in my mouth. Animations are simple but improved to a point where you can see character’s emotions from their faces clearly. I even loved the bruises, scars and blood. Sometimes you may have FPS drops, but it won’t spoil the experience.
Like before, A New Frontier will make you enjoy glorious soundtracks through your gameplay. These soundtracks will get even better in combat scenes. Telltale is always good at choosing soundtracks and Michonne is a perfect example for that matter. Voice acting, like always, stainless in A New Frontier.
Let’s get frank at this point. I dare to say that Walking Dead: A New Frontier is one of best games created by Telltale from any point of view. I loved what I saw, I loved what I heard and I am more than satisfied with the gameplay. A great and complicated story was told by masters of interactive gameplay, crushing our hearts and making it up again along the way.
If you have not experienced any previous The Walking Dead games, you can still go ahead and start playing A New Frontier. I recommend you to do a little bit of searching about Clementine’s story since the flashbacks may leave you hanging. But of course, my true recommendation would be that you must start from the very beginning and enjoy the most charming zombie game of gaming history.
Lastly, I must say that the ending is very a significant part of any review, but since A New Frontier offers five different endings depending on your choices, I can not be the judge. Yet, the ending I experienced was more than satisfying and gave me hope about a sequel.
A New Frontier may last a little less when you compare it to other The Walking Dead seasons, but surely its influence will last long enough. This I regret, and nothing more.
A New Frontier is now a complete five episode journey and you can enjoy it on your PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Android and iOS devices. If you want to delve deep into Javi’s adventure with muertos, you can purchase the game from Steam.
The Walking Dead: A New Frontier Review
The Walking Dead: A New Frontier is a near-perfect sequel to previous Walking Dead games, yet it does a splendid job as a stand-alone game. Play it, make your children play it, make sure your grandchildren play it since it deserves the title of 'the most charming zombie game of all times'. If you are ready to collect the pieces of your heart from the floor, go ahead and play The Walking Dead: A New Frontier.
- Splendid voice acting and sountrack.
- The Return of Clementine!
- Your choices really matter this time.
- Excellent story with delightful dialogues.
- An interactive and emotional ball of yarn, just how we like it.
- Charming character design.
- Satisfying combat scenes with explosions and beheading.
- People who criticise the ending even though it has five different endings.
- People who criticise the game because it has Telltale’s classic interactive gameplay. What?!
- Feels a little bit short.