The Walking Dead A New Frontier has a lot to live up to. The Walking Dead is arguably Telltale’s largest and most compelling series to date. The first two seasons were masterpieces and made our hearts melt. While Telltale has done some incredible work since the completion of the second season (see our Batman review), the question remains as to whether they can recapitulate the heart and intricate design that made us fall in love with The Walking Dead to begin with. Our The Walking Dead A New Frontier — Ties That Bind Review explores just that.

Story

Ties That Bind is a double-episode that opens season three of Telltale’s The Walking Dead. While in the previous season Clementine is the playable protagonist, this time a newcomer, Javier, takes on that role. Clementine, thus far, is only playable in limited flashbacks. This is a massive disappointment. Your save files carry over from Seasons One and Two, but because Season Two had so many different variations on the ending, Telltale copped out. No matter what, Clem is now on her own. There is a mystery as to what happened to her and her loved ones in the two years or so since Season Two, and this is interesting. But we want more. We want Clementine.

Javier is a very interesting character in his own right. I really like him as a protagonist. I love the supporting cast minus the emo step-son. The story opens with the outbreak of the Zombie apocalypse and flashes forward four years. Communities are now being built. Society is trying to recover. If this were a standalone title, it would be great. The simple fact is that it’s not. We want Clementine. We raised her, we played as her, and now we’re disconnected from her. It’s interesting she’s becoming everything Carver said she would. But we had no hand in that journey. There are some nice twists in the episode and it is everything you’d expect from The Walking Dead, but the problem is Clementine overshadows everything.

Choices

This is another aspect in which Clementine’s presence simply overshadows everything. Every choice I make as Javier that regards Clem — and almost all your significant choices do — are tainted. Every response is corrupted. This is because I know Clementine. I love Clementine. It’s almost as if Telltale did too good a job with the first two seasons. I’m so invested. I was so immersed it’s as if she’s my own daughter. Clementine is family and I trust her completely. As much as I love Javier, I simply am not that invested in him. I love this girl I’ve raised since I found her in a treehouse, and that taints every choice and response I make.

Choices and responses that don’t regard Clementine are mildly interesting but I’m constantly looking for Clem, and when she’s not there I feel let down. This game may have been better without her and Clementine given a “proper” season three. This is much more about Javier. Someone I know nothing about except he’s kind of like Pete Rose (betting on himself to win in baseball and getting a lifetime ban.) The one relationship I am invested in is the one between Kate and Javier, and that dynamic may change. The end of the two-part premiere also promises to dramatically shake the dynamic of the characters’ relationships, which looks promising. But everything, for me, still goes back to Clementine.

Bottom Line

Ultimately the bottom line to this newest incarnation of Telltale’s The Walking Dead is Clementine. Telltale’s version of the franchise is still better than any other adaptation of the series, as we’ve stated before. While Ties That Bind is only the beginning, we simply cannot help but feel that Clementine overshadows and taints all of our choices in the game. She was promised as a co-protagonist, but she’s a side character thus far. This could change. Ultimately though, that doesn’t change the fact that it really hurts this double episode. There were choices as Javier where I should not have protected Clementine or agreed to her demands because they put Javi or his family at risk. I simply don’t feel immersed as I should be, and it hurts the storytelling dramatically.

The Walking Dead is still good. It’s great to see Clementine back, as she’s my favorite character in modern-day video game history. That still doesn’t change the fact that it hurts A New Frontier though. Telltale has plenty of time to rectify this and the premise and story are still very good. Maybe it was simply too much to ask for it to live up to the first two seasons of The Walking Dead, which were near perfection. With three episodes left, this season has plenty of time left to fix its issues and hopefully make Clem a true co-playable character.

Thank you Telltale Games for providing Video Game Culture HQ with a review copy of The Walking Dead a New Frontier.

The Walking Dead A New Frontier Ties That Bind Review (PS4)
The Walking Dead - A New Frontier The Ties That Bind is a solid start to a new season of Telltale's The Walking Dead and has interesting characters and a good story, but the lack of a more playable Clementine overshadows and taints everything.
Overall Score7
Pros
  • Clementine is back
  • Javier is a good lead
  • Interesting Story with nice twists
Cons
  • Clementine overshadows everything and is barely playable
  • Javier's choices are tainted because you are so invested in Clem
  • No matter your choice at the end of Season Two Clementine is in the same predicament
7Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)
0.0

About The Author

Founder/Editor-in-Chief

Morgan Lewis is a Video Game Journalist and is the Founder, Owner, and Editor-in-Chief of VGCultureHQ. He has been writing about games for over five years and has written over 1,500 articles during that timespan. He first fell in love with gaming when he received A Link to the Past for Christmas when he was six and is the guywazeldatatt. He also loves anime and anything that has to do with gaming culture and Tetsuya Takahashi games. He is also a huge anime and Star Wars fan.

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