The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series – A New Frontier – Ties That Bind (PS4) Review

Justin Celani

A New Frontier, a new story.

The Walking Dead is still a huge hit in comics and TV land. It helped push Telltale games into the spotlight when they first dipped their toes into the franchise with their episodic series years ago. Now, after two sequels, we’re getting a third entry. I’m happy to say, I’m just as enthralled as I ever was.

New Dead, New Walking

A New Frontier is still very much in the same vein of the point and click style of the original games. This time the focus is on two playable characters, Javier Garcia and longtime returning vet Clementine. This works in the game’s favor for a few reasons I’ll get into shortly. Upon starting the game, we get to experience a little bit of family drama that Javier is experiencing with his brother, his wife, their kids, and the immediate family in the wake of their Father passing away. It sets the tone right away for the main character. Obviously, this is before the outbreak turning millions into the undead, though as followers of the show and comic know, when someone dies, even from natural death, they turn. This is re-iterated here, and seeing a family experience this as its happening was intense. As a person familiar with the franchise, it’s known what to expect, but to see the family learning this for the first time was well done.

MSRP: $24.99
Price I’d Pay: $24.99
Multiplayer: N/A
How long to beat: Around 4–5 hours

Soon the story fast forwards to modern times in the zombie apocalypse, and we get a better grasp of Javier and the support cast. I found all the characters interesting and semi relatable. Javier is now traveling with his brother’s wife and kids, assumingly due to tragic events that have transpired between the entire families in the earlier flashback. It’s here we see how close knit this group now is, and they have learned to survive in the harsh new reality. Honestly, it’s a great set up that instills a different side of a group surviving, as they have been with each other from the start and not simply strangers banding together.

Clementine is the other playable character, but is only playable so far in active flashbacks that move to show players what happened with cast or actions made in season 2. It might be a bit of a shame to some that the decisions don’t weight in as much as one would hope, but I think they did a great job in still having those dangling elements shown. That said Javier is still the main character being played as the majority of the time. It’s exciting to see a character that’s been in the series since the beginning grow and change so much in each iteration. It also puts a bit of fear in my mind, and I don’t feel safe at all in knowing who will live or die in the franchise.

Same Dead, Still Talking

The most notable change to the franchise is the new graphical style. It has a more varied visual design and style that seems to cater even more to the comic book look, while still giving off a more realistic vibe. Noticeably it appears the game is a bit more cinematic in its presentation and camera angles. The games have always been very story driven, but I feel it’s even more refined here. Pacing still seems really well done, with interesting conversation and action moments occurring on screen to keep players on their toes, and proving once again that putting down the controller is never recommended, as a prompt could occur any time. It does feel though that the franchise is more about story beats and the quick time interactivity versus actually trying to figure out how to proceed. There was only one section in both episodes that really gave me much of a choice in what to do to proceed, and even then it was extremely simplistic. Loading seems quicker this time, and I had absolutely zero issues with performance on the PS4 Pro aside from one little hitch. Otherwise things ran extremely smooth.

The Walking Dead: A New Frontier is a great new entry in the Telltale franchise. Fans of the series should go into this not expecting much to change in the overall structure of story delivery and setting. It’d even say it’s more the focus than ever before, with little involved with actually figuring out how to proceed to the next story element. Yet it’s the story being told and presentation that is absolutely on point here, with fantastic voice acting and a solid soundtrack that only elevates this further. The first two episodes kept me completely engaged, interested, and ultimately shocked. The reveal at the end of episode 2 and the implications of how that’s going to affect all the characters had my mouth drop. This latest entry has amazing potential to be the best Walking Dead game yet. Only time will tell, but so far A New Frontier is entertaining and exciting in the best ways possible.

Favorite moment: There are so many to choose from but seeing a familiar character from the comic was great.

Worst moment: Waiting for the next episode.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

Good

  • Graphical overhaul
  • Voice acting
  • Soundtrack

Bad

  • Progression streamlined
  • Small gameplay hitch
9

Excellent

Justin Celani

Justin is a long time passionate fan of games, not gaming drama. He loves anything horror related, archaeology inspired adventures, RPG goodness, Dr Pepper, and of course his family. When it comes to crunch time, he is a beast, yet rabies free we promise.

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