Available On: PC, PS4, Xbox One, iOS, Android
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Genre: Interactive Adventure
Official Site: www.telltale.com/series/the-walking-dead-a-new-frontier/
Release Date: May 30, 2017
Where To Buy: Steam
For our review of Episode 1 & 2, click here.
For our review of Episode 3, click here.
For our review of Episode 4, click here.
When the final episode of Telltale’s The Walking Dead: A New Frontier works, it really works. Some of the decisions were agonizing, and plot points I thought I had figured out had me second guessing myself throughout. The problem with From the Gallows is that doesn’t always work. The plot seems rushed, some character decisions seem completely off base, and it almost feels like the game is cheating a bit with its emotional options. A New Frontier overall was a solid effort, but it seems to have gotten away from the writers a bit with its fourth and fifth episodes.
The characters, for the most part, continue to work well. Javi is an excellent protagonist, and the game does seem to give you plenty of ways to truly make him your own. My Javi seems real, flawed, and like he’s just trying to do the right thing in impossible situations. Watching Clementine evolve through the story is fascinating as well, and Javi’s ragtag group of friends and allies generally get moments to shine. Unfortunately, sometimes the characters make bizarre, out of nowhere choices that seem to exist only to manufacture drama and force those famous Telltale “big choices.” Gabe has been a frustrating character throughout A New Frontier, but he finally started to behave in a realistic manner through the last two episodes. Then he goes and completely swerves me, just to advance the plot. The classic problem with choice-driven stories in games is that those choices rarely have a huge effect on what happens, and some of the leaps From the Gallows took seemed like they were there solely to steamroll the plot forward.
The biggest issue with the conclusion is that the game seems to have abandoned the compelling central theme that started it off so well: the value of family. In moving from one bombastic set piece to another, From the Gallows did not take enough time to slow down and humanize the characters you were interacting with. The Walking Dead, in all its forms, is at its best as a character study. Just how do characters change and respond when faced with these outrageous and deadly scenarios? There are moments of that here, and From the Gallows was definitely trying to recapture the magic of Lee and Clem’s touching conclusion. It just never quite reaches those lofty peaks and failed to truly capitalize on the themes that brought about the disaster in Richmond in the first place.
From a technical standpoint, From the Gallows, and A New Frontier, in general, is probably Telltale’s best effort yet. The age still definitely shows, but the cinematic direction and excellent acting are back, and they definitely make it feel like you are taking part in a tightly scripted television show. Telltale’s voice actors need to be commended; without them, these games would never work. Because of the way they are able to elevate characters like Javi and Clementine, the player genuinely cares about what is going to happen in the story. Especially when you add in the nuances of how characters feel about one another based on choices that have been made, it becomes extremely impressive what these actors can do.
It is always worse when something starts out well, introduces some excellent potential, and then fails to deliver on that potential. That is the unfortunate reality of The Walking Dead: A New Frontier. It is certainly not a bad story, but it just never quite meets the goals it sets out for itself. It’s good, and you will probably enjoy it if you are a fan of Telltale’s style of game. However, the lack of emotional impact of the finale and some bizarre character decisions hold the series back from the greatness that games like Tales from the Borderlands and the first season of Walking Dead achieved so effortlessly.
- Gameplay: Lots of set pieces and quick time events in this one, fewer conversations.
- Graphics: Still looks about the best a Telltale game has yet.
- Sound: The voice acting is, without a doubt, the strongest part of this game. Several of these characters would fall into one-dimensional caricatures without the excellent actors providing them with personality.
- Presentation: A decent wrap up to the series, but a few too many flaws and a lot of wasted potential to be great.
- Javi and Clem still hold things together
- Excellent voice acting
- A few powerful choices
- Feels a bit rushed
- Odd character decisions don't match personalities
- Doesn't capitalize on themes introduced in earlier episodes