Telltale: The Walking Dead: A New Frontier was recently released to the world. It has been a while since the first two seasons were released so to get a better feel I went back and ran through the first two seasons again. That’s right. I put myself through that emotional roller-coaster again and the end of season two left me feeling pretty devastated. The Walking Dead series has seen itself criticised due to people feeling that their choices really didn’t make that much of a difference on the overall story but I always found that added to the depth of the apocalyptic world you are in where no matter what choices you make and believe are going to beneficial to the group actually turn out to have their own horrific consequences.
A New Frontier is set a few years after the unfortunate events that took place at the end of season two and see you taking control of a new protagonist by the name of Javier García (Javi). The game starts with a small flashback to when the outbreak was starting to unfold giving you an insight into the family life of Javi and his immediate family including his brother (David), his brother’s wife (Kate) and step-children (Gabriel & Mariana). Javi very quickly becomes a likeable character and you will see that not everything is as it seems between the family before everything starts going to hell. We cut back to the present time and the game breaks from its usual depressing attitude and actually has a rather upbeat feel where we see Javi on the road with Kate, Gabriel and Mariana. During this time we can only assume that David did not make it but the relationships between the rest of the family look to have progressed and everyone seems to be genuinely happy, well as they can be surrounded by zombies and fighting for their life at every turn. This is actually a nice addition to a game where normally we only ever saw the dark side of the apocalypse. But if you are familiar with the Telltale games, you will know that such things cannot last though otherwise, this just would not be part of The Walking Dead series. A chance encounter with some survivors at an old scrap yard changes everything for our would be happy family and you are welcomed back to the series that you know and love (or hate to love).
This season has made some changes to who our main character is but they have brought back Clementine as a side character. Now we all had choices to make at the end of season two, tough, horrible choices, I personally finished with Jane and baby Alvin and headed back to the superstore. When we meet Clementine she is alone and is looking like a serious bad ass who has been molded by everything we have seen and I am sure yet to see. Clem has become somewhat of a lone wolf and we all can all imagine why after everything she has been through but through her meeting with Javi we get a glimpse of the girl from the previous seasons now and again. Over the episodes you will also get to play through flashbacks as Clem as to answer what happened after we left her and I have to say, Telltale really do know how to bring in the feels. I really like the way they wrote her back into this new season as a side character. It gives players a chance to play as a new personality but while still having Clem right there with you so as not to move too far away from the original story line. I imagine as the season progresses we will see more from what has happened to her over the years and I really hope they keep her as a big part of the story.
The story in the first two installments has been written well and has managed to keep you gripped to the characters that you play and meet. The only problem I found was in the original Javi flashback where you had a few choices to make but no real understanding of the characters to be able to make what may have been a more realistic choice more suited to their personality. This is soon resolved and you quickly get a feel for the characters. This follows on to the characters you meet through both episodes and you will make certain choices that bring on the heartbreak but then again you knew what you were getting into when you decided to follow this series. The controls haven’t changed from the second season so do not worry you will not have to learn anything new, just be ready to hit those buttons on cue. The Walking Dead series has always had a certain beautifully depressing look to it and that still shines through here, there is something really special about Telltale’s comic style graphics that I have always admired and found to work well especially with this series for obvious reasons. If you have been a fan of the series so far then this is a perfect follow on, if you are new to the series then stop right here, go back and download season one. I would strongly suggest playing through from the start rather than using the option to select the choices of previous games at the start. The choices might not make a significant difference to your game but there is enough there to be worth playing from the start and to get a deeper feel for the world itself.
Stay tuned for reviews on each of the episodes as they are released. Now go and enter the apocalyptic world yourself and let me know your thoughts on this great series.