What was the last satisfying season finale you can remember? None of the answers you came up with should include a season of The Walking Dead TV show. Thankfully, there’s an on-screen alternative. “From the Gallows,” the fifth episode in The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series — A New Frontier, succeeds in balancing the moving parts of the newest character Javi with the saga of young Clementine while paying off the dramatic build of this volume, and setting up a return to Clem’s journey in the future.
The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series — A New Frontier
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Platform: PlayStation 4 (Available Xbox One, PC, iOS)
While you’re always coloring in the lines of Telltale’s story in their games, Javi presented a blank canvas. As the developer gave you a baseball player excommunicated unceremoniously from the game much like Cincinnati Red Pete Rose was in real life, players could craft the man he would become as the narrative progressed. I set out to create a man in need of redemption for years of sacrificing family in order to chase glory. Every choice I made was to protect his brother’s wife Kate and his nephew, Gabe.
In episode five the community of Richmond has succumbed to walker invasion. Javi has to decide between saving the people he cares most for and salvaging what’s left of the town. While this episode certainly isn’t the most interactive of any Telltale series, it does the best job of layering engaging moments that will resonate with players. Most of which happen in the game’s core confrontation between Javi and his brother the militant minded David. Without spoiling too much of the surprises, you’ll make some of the most resonating choices. For me, it was about keeping Javi on the path back to proving he could be a man who puts the family he’s taken care of in the absence of his brother above all else. In the climax that splinters the narrative most between Javi and David, I pulled back on the caring personality I’d created in the series opening and fought my own blood.
Saving the town of Richmond never felt like a top priority for my character other than to see just how it would affect the outcome of my relationships with characters I invested in. Many of the faces you encountered in the lead up to episode five were pretty forgettable. The only strange part of episode five is that if you want the more emotionally impactful ending of the series you have to chose to save the town.
From a technical standpoint, this was one of the few times Telltale have launched a new episode without jarring technical hiccups. Reading through other threads and experiences of friends who’ve played just about every title the developer has produced, not a one had any weird happenings with episode five at launch. As these games aren’t technical behemoths seeing them work fine shouldn’t be news, however, it is a welcomed change for those who wait a few days for the initial patch fix before they play the episodes.
While The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series – A New Frontier has had some stalemate issues in episode three and four, the finale pays in major ways on the developer’s choice to move away from fan favorite character Clementine and put you in the shoes of Javi. Loyal fans who have played these games since the tragic tale of Lee Everett’s surrogate guardianship of Clementine in season one will be thrilled by the game’s post credit scene. As the recent seasons of the TV show have been less than stellar and the comics themselves have too many lull issues between significant happenings; for my money, Telltale Games is telling the best stories in the Walking Dead. This story about what a family truly is in a post-apocalyptic world is one of the most memorable things The Walking Dead universe has had in recent memory.
10/10- The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series- A New Frontier ends on the same high note it debuted. An incredible narrative carved out of risk and emotional power sticks the landing, not even the best television shows achieve.
I didn’t realize this had ended. I’ve been let down by a few of Telltale’s more recent offerings, but I might give this a shot when it’s on sale.
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