The Walking Dead: A New Frontier – Episode 1 – The Ties that Bind Part One Review (PS4)

The Walking Dead: A New Frontier

The Walking Dead is the game that first got me into playing Telltale games. I received the first two episodes free thanks to PS+ and I’ve been hooked ever since. I’ve played each season multiple times and enjoyed every second of it. So, when A New Frontier was announced it was a no brainer that this was a day-one pick up for me. It took me a little while with work and the holidays but I finally got to play the first episode and here’s what I thought of it.

This time around you’ll be playing as Javier. You’ll see Javier rushing home to be with his father as he dies, but he’s too late. While he’s too late to see him fade off, he’s not too see him turn into a flesh eating zombie. Cut to years later, Javier is the leader of his family as he travels around scavenging with Kate, his brothers wife, and his brothers two kids Mariana and Gabe. Trying to survive they’ll run into a really sticky situation and get separated before Javier meets up with just about everyone’s favorite Walking Dead characters, Clementine. You’ll find out Clementine’s back story and what brought her to the present day after the events of season 2 as she tries to help Javier for her own personal gain.

Ugh! So I played The Walking Dead Season one and two originally on my PS3, but I did play again on my PS4 meaning that I had two saves that could have been imported over to this new game, but Telltale decided that everyone was either going to use the in game system or use their Telltale account to create a more accurate account of what happened to their games. But my main question is why? I can see if you didn’t play on the PS4, there was no way of importing your save but if you played on the PS4, your save is right there. To me this was a little sloppy and could have been handled better.

I found the story this time around to be really intense. It’s been that way with the other seasons, but this time was different. It’s established really early on that this is Javier’s family that he’s traveling with and it made me have more of an attachment to them knowing that everything Javier did for them was to keep them safe. He wasn’t wandering around with a group of random people for the hell of it. I was however a little disappointed that I was only able to play as Clementine in a flashback scene and not throughout the game. Switching back and forth between two characters had been really seamless and easy with Tales from the Borderlands and I figured that Telltale would follow suit with this game and do the same thing but they didn’t. While I enjoyed playing a new character and learning his back story, I was really more interested in playing as Clementine again. The episode did end on a “Holy Shit” moment that had me left with my mouth hanging open as my jaw just dropped.

Eh… So Javier just meets Clementine in this episode, but the player knows her for two whole seasons and has basically seen her grow up. While I chose options that would protect her, knowing who she was, it had me wondering. If you’re playing objectively and solely as Javier, a man who wants to get back to his own family, would you still want to protect Clementine? You just met her and truth be told she’s been through so much that she’s a completely different person. She’s not the sweet and innocent Clementine everyone knows from season one. My point here being that a lot of decisions were influenced by what the player already knows about this character instead of using Javier’s instincts. When I think back on it, a lot of time I would have saved my own ass instead of protecting Clementine if I didn’t already know who she was. What about you? Did you feel the same way? Let me know in the comments section below.

While this is basically a choose your own story type of game, I have to say that there were some improvements to the overall playability of the game and that the quick time scenes felt more natural. In the other games it felt like you had to prepare for the quick time events and you knew when they were coming up, this time around they naturally fitted into the game with a smooth transition that made the overall story run more smoothly. I thought that this was a major improvement with the overall playability, but I was disappointed with the extremely slow and lagging loading times. This is one of the things that can ruin a game. I understand that the game has to load, but it needs to be done in an efficient manner and be fluid. It shouldn’t have the player waiting so long that they feel the need to put down the controller and let their mind wander off as your game loads the next scene.

The graphics for this game are the one thing that has been consistent from season to season and it’s one of the things that I enjoyed. I really liked how it felt like you were playing the same game that you had played for the past two seasons, but that they were also enhanced for a new generation of consoles. I enjoyed that they stuck to the same comic book / graphic novel type of graphics but also added some realism into the graphics as well.

What the hell happened to your face??!! I thought that the aging process with Clementine was perfect and spot on. It was the one thing this game is doing right, but what the hell happened to Jane? Spoiler, obviously. So I choose to stay with Jane and during the flashback scene I was presented with someone who had a complete 180 face lift that had me shouting at the TV “Who the hell is this?!” A few seconds later you come to realize that it’s Jane, but why did her face have to change so much, I thought it was weird and a little off putting especially since she transferred from the PS3 version to the PS4 version without a problem. If we come across other characters from previous seasons will they also be unrecognizable?

Of course there are trophies for this game! You get the huge bonus of getting a platinum when the game is all over, but if you make it through the first episode you’ll be rewarded with the standard 6 trophies. You’ll get one trophy for completing each “chapter” without the pesky task of doing certain things at certain times. Play the way you want and be rewarded for doing just that.

As always there’s no multiplayer for this game, but there is crowd play which I haven’t tried yet because I’m still refusing to make a Telltale account.

Overall I give this episode a 4 out of 5.

What’s Great:
+ New story, new characters, but the return of Clementine.
+ A more family aspect this time around as you aren’t some random person being found by random people and being forced to go along with them. You’re choices heavily reflect what happens to your characters family.
+ You get to see what’s happened to Clementine during your time away from her.
+ More natural feeling quick time events.
+ Nice graphics with a realistic upgrade.

What’s Not So Great:
You only get to play as Clementine for one small scene. There is no back and forth and you’re kinda stuck with Javier.
Really horrible loading times.

Overall I thought this was a good start to the new season. I enjoyed the main story, enjoyed the cliff hanger of an ending, and was eager to play the next episode. Luckily the next episode was available because it was released at the same time. Even though this is one of those games that a lot of you have to have day one, I’m going to say hold off on getting it. I would seriously wait until all the episodes are released because even though I enjoy Telltale games, I’m getting really tired of the episode thing and if I could I would personally wait myself until the whole game came out to get it and play at once.

Spoilers! Below are the choices that I made for my backstory and the first episode.

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