Telltale games have a proud history of delivering game after game with masterful story telling, intuitive game-play, compelling characters and forcing gamers to shed a tear or two. The series that started our love affair with Telltale was The Walking Dead and after two seasons of building Clementine up as the main protagonist, the third season thrusts the player into the life of Javi, who after losing his family collides with Clementine when reaching The New Frontier, the latest batch of communities who think they can create a community and spectacularly fail (surprise surprise!)
From the moment this season starts, a sense of belonging and attachment to Javi is evoked. The responsibility of taking care of his brothers family after the outbreak is masterfully told as his usual rebel ways of missing family events are told through a series of heartbreaking flashbacks. The most effective of these being when their Papi, the clear head of the house turns into a zombie, is so well told and looks beautiful on the new game engine.
The first two episodes allow you to shape the character of Javi and decide what kind of man you want him to be, the more decisions I made I felt helped establish who would be on my team and how they would treat me for the rest of the encounter. I particularly noticed that my decisions would influence Clementine’s reaction and my attachment for her from season 1 and 2 definitely counted in how I responded. That being said the temptation to “go dark” was strong and after an eye opening incident with a baseball bat that drastically changed my allies and relationships (you have been warned!)
There are a series of flashbacks and current events that are starting to link together by the middle of episode 3 and I feel that more will be understood when the season finishes. Fortunately the game has only made me cry once so far (and counting!) unlike the consistent previous pools of mess that I was in season 1 and 2 of The Walking Dead. Javi and Clementine both have deeply rooted family issues and bringing them together and forcing them to be one because of their situation is the perfect narrative to carry this season.
Overall chapters 1 – 3 have been a solid start to Season 3, and while we were expecting a Clementine based series, Javi is a completely justified and welcome addition to the Walking Dead game cast and while still being able to focus the story on Clementine and share the lime light, the series has ensured it is still fresh while using an existing universe. The new game engine that TellTale are using is nothing short of beautiful with enhanced graphics and a less buggy system the Telltale experience is now a smoother experience.
The Walking Dead : A New Frontier is out now on PC, Playstation 4 and Xbox One
Review by Alaisdair Leith