There are spoilers below. Continue reading if you want to know what went down in Season 3 of The Walking Dead: A New Frontier.
This review includes Episode One: Ties That Bind I and Episode Two: Ties That Bind II.
Season 3 of Telltale Games, The Walking Dead is back. Players should be prepared for disappointing tough decisions and lack of gameplay with Clementine. Episodes One and Two hits players with chaos, death and a new story.
The Walking Dead: A New Frontier begins with players listening to a phone exchange between Javier and his brother. David tells Javier about the death of their father. As Javier races to his family after sitting in traffic, he’s greeted by cold-hearted David. Filled with regret and dispair is what sets the tone of The Walking Dead. Escape the undead and don’t die.
Javier Garcia’s backstory as far as we know, is revealed during some dialogue at a safe development called ‘Prescott”. We learn pre-outbreak, Javier was a professional baseball player who was shamed for gambling on his own games. This Season’s narrative is told from the perspective of Javier – a well-rounded character who’s focus is keeping himself and his brother’s family safe.
In the world of The Walking Dead, nothing is certain and survival and family as per usual. Season 3 does not stray too far from what we’re familiar with in regards to gameplay and decision making. Quick time events, long dialogue, and encountering humans who tend to be worse than walkers.
A New Frontier turns out to be a play on words. A New Frontier is described as charting into new territory but is also a community of bad folks. Ironically, Clementine is connected to them somehow. Knowing how Telltale likes to turn player’s world upside down, The New Frontier does just that. Clementine is low-key desperately trying to make her way back to their settlement. She isn’t so much on a track of revenge but rather is in search for answers and seems to have her own plan.
Enter Javier who might be a pawn in Clementine’s mission. Kind and innocent Clementine as some of us may remember, could still be there. Javier does not judge and remains with open arms towards Clementine as she has done so with him.
Seeing and playing as a new character has its perks. After everything went to hell, Javier made it his duty to protect Kate, Gabe and Mariana. After Javier’s gambling addiction stunt and athletic limelight, optimistic Kate and Javier bond over Javier’s cool demeanor. David’s character is rough around the edges, this is indirectly hinted at by his own wife, Kate.
Throughout the story Javier proves his reliability. As David wished, Javier picks up the slack by protecting David’s family. At the end of Episode Two, David’s whereabouts are revealed in a shocking manner.
As the story and gameplay goes on, it’s clear to see who the leader is. But the authoritative voice is Clementine. The only “playtime” we get with Clementine is during flashbacks of moments that have lead her to present day. We don’t quite know exactly what Clementine is up to. As we continue into the story, Clementine reflects on her moments with baby A.J. from Season 2.
Clementine’s mission might be to get A.J. back from a community of people which she was once part of. Clementine is a natural badass thanks to Lee and Kenny for her survival instinct upbringing. She is older (around 14), wiser, and smarter than ever.
To put it shortly, Clementine does not mess around and every decision she makes is a calculated one. Depending on whether you started from the “Create A Story” or “Continue Story” screen at the start of the game, Clementine’s backstory is slightly different in Season 3 depending on which option you choose.
This review is based on my option to Continue Story. However, I did not have a previous save on my new Steam account, Clementine is a random version, which I liked.
The Walking Dead Season 3 melds into a reboot but also remains as The Walking Dead I’ve always known. In comparison to previous seasons, the graphics are a major upgrade. Player control is still not perfect. Javier’s movements are very linear in terms of exploring areas and supply collection is at an all time low.
While the cutscenes and character interactions are graphically aesthetically pleasing but intense. I long for the control mechanics of Lee and Clementine in Season 1 and 2. This season truly lacked in all areas of gameplay. For newer players, experience Season 1 and 2 at your earliest convenience.
Player choices and decisions are typical and do not offer dynamic outcomes. Javier had the same responses for crucial conversation points. One example is the dialogue between Kate and Javier prior to the outbreak about leaving David together, what?
Javier has the option to agree with Kate or disagree, if the player chooses to disagree… Kate never pushes the conversation. Javier’s response of “Tell Him Off” to David catching them in close contact does not make sense. It was actually a straight up lie.
The Walking Dead: A New Frontier story is incredibly immersive along with character development. When panic is around the corner, the classic Walking Dead music is spot on. As always, The Walking Dead has high replay value, I sure will play through a few times to experience various decisions.
Clementine is an original character that will always be a role model in The Walking Dead universe.
Let’s chalk up Season 3 as a solid reboot for fans and new players alike. Overall, The Walking Dead is back and I couldn’t be happier. Continue to enjoy the season, Season 3 Episode Three will arrive in February.