The Walking Dead A New Frontier: The Ties That Bind Review

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The greatest connected story in gaming – Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead A New Frontier: The Ties That Bind Review

If you’re a fan of The Walking Dead or great storytelling, chances are you have played Telltale Game’s The Walking Dead games. Or if you’re like me, you’ve played other Telltale games and somehow haven’t gotten around to The Walking Dead games, so you bought them all and binged through them over the holidays before jumping into the 2 Parter premiere of Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead A New Frontier.

*Note: I’m completely biased, I love Telltale games. But I will do my best to be critical.

The Ties That Bind Part 1

The Walking Dead A New Frontier has you playing as Javi, a completely new character to the series. You get some back story on Javi as you begin the game during the outbreak, and basically see his father turn zombie and bite his mother. You also get a look into Javi’s family dynamics, mainly the very hostile relationship he has with his brother. Flash forward to the present, it is not Javi, his brother’s wife, Kate, and his brother’s kids, Gabe and Mariana. Javi did not seem like the person to be raising kids, but he seems to have developed into the role. The group stops off at a junkyard to scavage for supplies and as they find some, Javi is captured and taken away. While being transported, the car is forced off road and Javi is given the option to kill his warden. You then discover is was Clementine that derailed the vehicle in an attempt to steal it to get away, but she over did it and wrecked it. Javi then convinces her to not kill him and bring him back to the junkyard in exchange for his Van. However, on the way back, they run into a horde of walkers and are forced to take shelter in a community called Prescott. Here we are introduced to the community’s leader Tripp, Conrad, Eleanor, and Conrad’s girlfriend who I forgot the name of. While you get friendly with the locals, Clementine is confronting someone on a bad deal. When you get to her, she ends up shooting the guy and you’re thrown in jail to keep things calm with the promise of being taken to the junkyard in the morning. When you get to the junkyard, there are a number of walkers there and you take them out and save your family. However, after a short-lived reunion, the scavengers who kidnapped you the night before are back and make their presence known by shooting your niece in the head and putting a bullet in Kate. You are then given the option of taking Kate back to Prescott or have Tripp bring her back and you stay with Clementine to take care of the scavengers.

The Ties That Bind Part 2

Regardless of what you chose, you end up back at Prescott and Kate is patched up by Eleanor but it does not look good. Also, the scavengers are now at the gates of Prescott demanding retribution for you taking out so many of their men and they are holding Conrad’s girlfriend hostage. There is attempted reasoning, and the leader of the pack even seems to believe you when you plead your case of it not being your fault. However, things go down the poop shoot and the scavengers, who you learn is part of the New Frontier group, break through the walls. You scramble out of there with Kate, Clementine, Gabe, Tripp, Eleanor, and Conrad. Conrad blames you for his girl’s death, but Tripp reasons him out and you all decide to head to a community called Richmond, as that is the best chance at saving Kate. The way to Richmond ends up being blocked, so you have to figure out how to unblock it, once you do Kate and Eleanor are able to make their way through, but you and everyone else are overrun by a horde of walkers. You all find safety on a rooftop, where you eventually meet the famed Walking Dead character Paul Monroe, aka Jesus. He is also heading towards Richmond, but informs you that it is now run by the New Frontier. Everyone is now worried because Eleanor and Kate are on their way there when you have all just escaped from them. Jesus lets everyone know about a shortcut through an old train tunnel and that should get everyone there fast. In the tunnel, Clementine informs you (Javi) that she used to be part of the New Frontier, and that it devolved from a once decent group of people into the degenerative group of scavengers. Conrad overhears, and confront Clementine, saying she can be used as leverage. You are then given the option of standing up for Clem or agreeing with Conrad. Either way, Clem is not going back. Outside of the tunnels, you find Kate, but Eleanor is missing. You pick up Kate and bring her to the gates of Richmond and plead for them to give her medical attention. The gate is being guarded by the leader of the group that attacked at Prescott. Eventually, a high-ranking member of the New Frontier comes out to determine if they’re going to help you, and the member turns out to be someone Javi knows.

The Walking Dead A New Frontier is what you expect and want from a Telltale game. Gripping story, filled with fully fleshed out characters that evoke emotional responses by their actions and their deaths. Gorgeously rendered graphics that perfectly embody the tone and style of The Walking Dead franchise. Lastly, that gnawing anxiety of if you made the right choice. The biggest downside, which is a strictly personal opinion, is that Clementine is not the main protagonist. She is a major character, as evident from being able to witness her flashbacks of events between the previous game and this one, but she is not ingrained into Javi’s story as she was in the previous games. This makes me think that only one of you makes it out in the end. Clementine’s development as a character is easily the highlight of the franchise, and I do not want the series to go on without her. Javi is a perfectly likable character, but I chopped off my arm thinking that it would help me save her in the first game, and I made some pretty crazy decisions for her in the second. She better make it through the third game!

Having that back story with her through the previous games, I am inclined to automatically take her side on everything in this game. She is also portrayed as a complete BAMF, and she seems way more equipped to survive than any of the other characters. But, I get the feeling that always agreeing with her, taking her side on everything, she might be playing a bigger game and Javi might end up being a sacrificial pawn. We’ll have to wait and see.

The introduction of Jesus is cool but hasn’t had any real pay off yet. But his introduction makes me wonder where in the timeline the events are taking place. Is this before he meets Rick, or sometime after. Visually, this is hands down the best looking game of the franchise. The detail is exorbitant and the colors, though a bit muted because of the tone and environment, still pop and flourish far more than they did in any of the previous games. The gameplay also seems a bit more ramped up now, and is more engaging than simply timing things correctly. There is a lot left to unfold, and the lack of knowing when the third chapter is coming out is worse than having to wait. The one thing I don’t know how to feel about is the overall feel of the two-parter premiere. I mean it’s a great game and story, but it doesn’t really feel like two parts. It definitely feels longer than a single episode, but it also doesn’t quite feel like two. The first episode feels a lot more complete than the second. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m spoiled and ungrateful from getting both parts at once, or maybe it just doesn’t feel like two parts the way other Telltale games have.

The Walking Dead A New Frontier: The Ties That Bind is an amazing addition to the franchise. The introduction of a new character, though not personally preferred, is a testament to Telltale’s ability to craft a compelling story within a universe without having to rely too heavily on their previous work. It also works well for new players to join the franchise. Even without the years of experience players have had playing as Clem, or raising her as Lee, Javi is a perfectly relatable and likable character that players can’t help but root for. The game has stepped up in gameplay and mechanics, and the story is still unfolding. If you’re a fan of the game franchise or The Walking Dead, you have to play these games. My The Walking Dead A New Frontier: The Ties That Bind Review gets 9.7/10

s That Bind Review

The Walking Dead A New Frontier
  • 10/10
    Ties That Bind [Story] - 10/10
  • 9/10
    Gameplay - 9/10
  • 10/10
    Mechanics - 10/10
9.7/10

The Verdict

The Walking Dead A New Frontier: The Ties That Bind is an amazing addition to the franchise. The introduction of a new character, though not personally preferred, is a testament to Telltale’s ability to craft a compelling story within a universe without having to rely too heavily on their previous work. It also works well for new players to join the franchise. Even without the years of experience players have had playing as Clem, or raising her as Lee, Javi is a perfectly relatable and likable character that players can’t help but root for. The game has stepped up in gameplay and mechanics, and the story is still unfolding. If you’re a fan of the game franchise or The Walking Dead, you have to play these games.

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