The Walking Dead: A New Frontier Episode 1 – Ties That Bind Review
Return of old characters
Too much Clementine
Not enough Javier
Javier is too naive.
Telltale continues their long running series of The Walking Dead adventure games with this latest incarnation, and continuing the story of Clementine, albeit from a different perspective. A new story has begun as you take on the persona of Javier, a younger man from a latino family, and we get to see the very beginning of his adventure as he returns to his family, only for them fight for their lives as they try to survive.
The Walking Dead games are told in episodes, and seasons, this being the third season. In the first game, you were a middle aged man who found a young girl and protected her, in the second you played as the girl, making your way on your own, and in this latest series, you play as a young man who meets that girl and sees her become the seasoned veteran. It’s a nice nod to the player that has stuck with these games from the beginning, and while it does give a nice arc to the character Clementine, it does feel like they focus too much on her, and not the new storyline they tried so hard at the beginning to start. Javier seems like more of a way to watch Clementine instead of making his own decisions.
Javier isn’t lacking in motivation though, and keeping his family safe, including young children, is a great motivator and incentive to keep the Javier alive and to make his decisions matter. But, even though they’ve spent equal time dealing with walkers, it does seem that Clementine is much more capable than he is, and therefore he’s quite reliant on his help. But with this “new blood” there does seem an inkling that Clementine can learn from his innocence and begin to remember how to be human, after becoming a grizzled veteran from the last few games. The quest to regain her humanity is a great feature of the story of Clementine and I really hope they go this way with the story, as it would be more interesting than just running the Javier characters life, though near the end of the episode, it doesn’t seem that will be a likely result.
The graphics as always are nothing to write home about, but that is never what these games are about, since they focus on character development and story, and so far so good on that front. However, when its compared to the recent Batman series, there are significantly less bugs here, and the whole experience was smooth. The voice acting is top notch as always, and it does seem that they took time to not just use a stereotypical latino accent, and sounds much more realistic and genuine. I look forward to further episodes, and while I would never presume that things end with rainbows and birthday cake, I hope that Javier can make peace with what happens.