(Review) The Walking Dead: A New Frontier

I’ve briefly traveled into the realm of Telltale and it’s honestly been a mixed bag. The first one I tried was The Wolf Among Us and it glitches out so bad it wouldn’t even start. Then along came Minecraft: Story Mode and that was… ok I guess. I’m going to need to go back and play that one more completely and get a review out, but it’s a tough one to get through for me. Batman: The Telltale Series one was very enjoyable despite the decision system being funky. The Walking Dead is a hard one for me to review because I have kids who take up a good chunk of my time and well, it’s not exactly kid friendly with all of the swearing and stabbing and stabbing and crunching of skulls and have I mentioned stabbing? It’s all well and good and I don’t mind most of that other than the swearing, but given the genre, it’s understandable. I recently sucked it up and played it during some nap times and did a 100% run. Was it like some other Telltale games and left a bland taste in my mouth or did it bring the score to 2-2. Let me break it down for you.

As with most Telltale games, a good chunk is a point and click adventure. It can be slow-paced, but that doesn’t equate to boring.

I think the best thing A New Frontier had for me was the story. In as much as they give me all of the tools to destroy the story myself, it was pretty good. I watched only two seasons of The Walking Dead and I got the same hope and frustration from this game that I did from the show. Only this time, I was able to pick what I wanted them to do most of the time. If I wanted someone to side with a person, I could do my best to make that happen. Going to place X instead of place Y is the better choice so I would make them go there instead. The game was still pretty linear as they do have a story to tell you and they can’t have you go to Chicago when the story is in Texas (for example, not actually in the game).

The aesthetics here are mostly good, great at others and then there are some times when it looks bad. That mostly deals with the faces and such. The black lines on the faces with this style can look really bad.

On that note, the choices are still kind of black and white in a pretty grey world. They do seem to be better than in Batman where I thought they were saying one thing and when I clicked a certain option, the dialogue went another direction entirely. In this game the main character Javier has a, I’ll say forced, love interest in his brother David’s wife Kate. I say forced because they continue, all throughout the game, to bring you two together. I wouldn’t fully mind this if not for the fact that in the beginning, you don’t know what’s up with David. Is he dead or alive? If he’s dead, who cares if she’s married… because he’s dead! It doesn’t matter. However, that’s all in the air and they keep putting the choices to you about creating a relationship. You’ve got one non-committal comment. The agreement one seems more like “Yes, let’s make babies!” and the “no” feels more like “Uh… you smell like donkey farts.” You’re left with the dreaded “…” and that’s not really good to push the story forward for you either. Where was the reasonable argument of “Hey, I like you, but you’re married. Let’s wait to see if your wayward husband is dead or not before planning a family.”? You know… the grey option.

If a girl can do this much damage quickly by herself, how can a community get overrun?

One of the things that bothers me still are the zombies. It’s the same complaint I have with all zombie movies though. I think it’s more in line with the ones that deal with “walkers” instead of the multi-speed zombies which A New Frontier doesn’t deal with. They are all so slow. If all it takes to kill one is a swift kick to the knee and a stab to the head by an 8 year-old girl or however the heck old Clementine is, why are they such a threat. I know, “if there’s too many of them” blah blah blah… then you can jog away! Plan for the need for an escape. It’s not like they can climb stuff. And how in the world does one always crawl up to them while in full-alert-combat-mode? It’s trope-ish to be sure and no matter where I see it, it drives me nuts. When I eventually play the other Walking Dead games, I’ll do my best not to bring this up.

This. Right here. It almost always happens to me in the non-Minecraft Telltale games. It got super bad this time and I tried to roll with it, but that line really ruins immersion. Just close and restart the game and that should fix it for you. At least it did for me.

The last thing that bothered me (and yeh, the things that bothered me are all very minor) is the attitude. Crap… you know what? This is another zombie trope where everyone is on edge and if you push them a little they break. I’ll just leave it there, but mention that I’m grateful for the Clementine girl and the main protagonist Javier because they are beacons of common sense in this crazy world. One of them is a little girl with an itchy trigger finger. That should tell you something. You post-apocalypse people need to chill out! Jeez, it’s not like the worlds going to end a second time…

Wasn’t this guy, Jesus, supposed to be riding on a White horse?
Having put them on my “Not Interested” list, I’ve not taken the time to fully contemplate Telltale’s The Walking Dead series. After playing through The Walking Dead: A New Frontier I can tell you that it was a pretty big mistake. It really did feel like the show and I appreciate that quite a bit. The choice system, while better, was still a mild enemy to battle as you go through the narrative. Friends were made and lost, situations where handled well and others poorly, over all, The Walking Dead: A New Frontier was a very fun game to play through even though I could only play it when my kids were asleep. I look forward to playing the others in the franchise.

Further Reading on The Walking Dead: A New Frontier: FacebookOfficial Page / Twitter / YouTube

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