Reviews January 30, 2017

The Walking Dead: A New Frontier Episode 2: Ties That Bind Part Two

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Reviewed By: Kenneth Seward Jr.
System: PC (Also on Xbox One, PS4, iOS, Android)
Genre: Adventure
Rated: M
Players: 1
Cost: $24.99 (Full Season)
Release Date: 12/20/2016
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games

It has to be easy for Telltale to create episodic games. Not easy in the sense that they aren’t putting their best foot forward. Just that they have the creation of engrossing adventure games down to a science. All they have to do is make sure their games work as advertised and they’re golden…

If you’ve read my reviews of some of Telltale’s recent titles, you’d know that they haven’t lived up to the standards this publisher is known for. The most notorious culprit was their Batman series, which was plagued with frame rate issues on PC. When it comes to a New Frontier, the save issue from The Walking Dead: Michonne returned. For some reason the cloud-save feature doesn’t always record what happens during play. What’s worse is that there is no way to tell when it stops working; you’ll still get the “saving game” icon during key moments.

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The reason I’m talking about this issue over this episode’s story is because it’s actually more important at the moment. One of Telltale’s touted mechanics is the ability for our actions, or rather the consequences of our actions, to be carried from episode to episode. What sacrifices were made, how characters were treated, who lived or died – all of the factors that help to create a more nuanced narrative are lost if the game fails to save appropriately. When I went to load “Ties That Bind Part Two”, the game warned me that it would auto populate my choices from the first episode; in other words, the game had to record that I had already completed the first episode. Annoyed, I decided to move on with Part Two because I didn’t want to waste time trying to retrace my steps. Thankfully, the game picked the exact same choices as I did during my first playthrough. Of course, this can’t be  the case for everyone.

Outside of save-erasing glitches, this episode is pretty good. Javi and the gang are forced to flee Prescott after a confrontation with the New Frontier. Their goal: head to Richmond, VA so Kate can get much needed medical assistance. Things go south fairly quickly though, as a horde of zombies split the group in two; Kate and Eleanor drive ahead while the rest climb atop a nearby building. Believing to be safe, the rest of the group starts bickering on what should be done next. That’s when Javi notices someone watching them from an adjacent building.

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The Walking Dead: A New Frontier continues to intrigue. Especially the parts dealing with Clementine’s past. Telltale is doing a good job of towing the mystery of her affiliation with this new hostile group. There’s also the introduction of a fan favorite from the comics/TV show. If only Telltale could make sure that future episodes are bug free, we should have another hit on our hands!

Gameplay: 7
Telltale needs to remedy any lingering issues with its cloud-saving system. I was lucky that my previous actions weren’t completely lost…this time!

Graphics: 10
Everything looks great!

Sound: 10
This episode doesn’t disappoint when it comes to the soundtrack, voice acting, etc.

Replay Value: 6
Most people will wait to play through the entire season before replaying each episode.

Final Score:

8.3

Editor's Note: Click here to see how the other episode fared!