The Walking Dead: A New Frontier “Ties that Bind” Part One and Two Review

A new frontier worth exploring.

Telltale has become a video game industry powerhouse with the help of The Walking Dead series.  After long awaited, Telltale’s The Walking Dead series finally returns with season three!  Subtitled “A New Frontier,” the new season features new character with tightly paced storyline.  The result is a successful one that attracts players both new and old alike.

The game begins with a flashback sequences featuring our new protagonist Javi and his family.  Set during the initial zombie outbreak, the sequence allows us to understand our new playable character, and pulls us right into the actions.  The game then catches us up with the current timeline where zombies outbreak has toughen the survivors.  Javi is now on the road with what’s remain of his family- his brother ex-wife Kate and two kids.  The four of them travel from cites to cites trying to keep the family together.  This is different than what we’re used to in the first two seasons, as this group keeps it to themselves and not exposed to the danger of strangers.  This allows newcomers to player the game through Javi’s pov.

For veteran players, we have seasoned survivor Clementine.  Clem is now a capable survivor after everything she went through, and I’m really digging the legendary, mysterious vibe she has.  However, being a young child she is, the game does a wonderful job keeping her youth relevant.  Also, under the tough shell, Clem is still the sweet little girl we’ve known.  Lee would be proud.

Telltale has implemented a system to allow you to import save files from previous seasons, recreate choices, or even start as you have no idea who Clementine is at all.  I’m more than happy to import my version of Clem to the new game, and see how my version has grown fron the past events.  It’s also the little details that matters too, as your decisions by the end of last season will determine Clem’s physical appearance.

The decisions are more importantly than ever, and I’m happy to see that choices are paid off within the episodes as well.  Picking up items will lead to a kind gesture in the same episode, and Javi’s interactions with Kate and the kids are clearly important even though the plot is not altered yet.  Also, the decision I made during flashbacks are starting to define relationships in the present as well.  The same can be said about Clem’s flashback as well, especially the one in part two marks some important information than the premiere.

While part one opens strong, it’s sad that part two seems weak compares to it.  The story requires our survivors to travel to a new safe haven just to meet more troubles along the way.  This is something any Walking Dead fan is too familiar with already.  Even the appearance of a friendly franchise character didn’t help with the overused plot at all.  However, despite the weaker plot, part two still offers some great quick-time actions that keeps the gameplay engaging.

And of course, just like all the Telltale games before, both episodes are riddled with bugs.  I feel like by this point it should be something overlooked and just purely review the game based on story.

I’m a little worry that after two episodes I still have no idea where this season is heading, but Telltale has done an impressive job with season three with improve gameplay and better storytelling.  The new protagonist is likable, and Clem’s character journey is still the highlight of the game.  Hopefully the rest of the season is as strong as the first two episodes, and the rest of the season will keep up with the good work.