The Walking Dead: A New Frontier - Episodes 1 & 2 - Ties That Bind
Top Critic Average
I don’t have a clear sense of where the season as a whole aims to go just yet, but “Ties That Bind Part I” is one of Telltale’s strongest openers in recent memory. Scenes feel carefully constructed in their camera direction and editing, and Telltale avoids the pitfalls of its most egregious past issues — only one environmental exploration sequence temporarily slows things down — but for the most part the episode moves along at an exceptional clip. But that’s not just thanks to Part I’s style. Smart characterization and writing for Javi and his family, plus the return of Clementine, add weight to a largely unfamiliar but already engaging new frontier that I can’t wait to continue to explore.
It’s still a little disconcerting to still not have a clear idea where the season as a whole will be heading, but moment-to-moment, Season 3 of Telltale’s Walking Dead continues to deliver some of the impressive world-building and characterization that made me love the series when it first premiered. I feel a part of Javi and Clementine’s plight, and though I hope the rest of the season can avoid some of the familiar Telltale and Walking Dead formula trappings that Episode 2 fell into and to keep surprising me, I’m still invested in finding out what’s next. Especially with a little more context for the New Frontier revealed, Telltale is starting to better lay out all the logs it has to build a cabin. I just hope the rest of the structure is as strong as the foundation.
A promising, assured start, and a welcome return to form for Telltale.
A partially successful soft reboot, with some of Telltale’s best storytelling – even if many of your decisions still make precious little difference.
The two-episode opener does its job at getting your interest back into the series and kindling your curiosity
Walking Dead fans looking to jump back into Clementine's story with this new game should temper their expectations. The player only takes control of her in flashback chapters that do not affect the overall arc of the story or any relationship with a character in it. Her retrospectives are nonetheless harrowing.
The New Frontier is off to a great start, and its troubled cast's harrowing journey is just getting started.
The conclusion to The Ties That Bind is a gut-wrenching, gory masterpiece up there with the very best episodes of The Walking Dead.
My favorite story beats in Ties That Bind are unquestionably classified as spoilers, but they all spring from the same place: drama motivated by logical character action. Javi and the gang are proactive and well-defined, which makes their struggle to survive all the more compelling. If the first two episodes are any indication, A New Frontier will be a worthy follow-up to The Walking Dead, even if there's no chance it will be as revolutionary.
Whether you’re a returning fan, a lapsed player or a complete newcomer, The Walking Dead: A New Frontier gets off to a good and welcoming start, with more than a few twists and turns packed into the two-part episode. While it’s not perfect, that extra time has given Telltale room to breathe life into a new and interesting cast of admittedly flawed characters, build new relationships and present them with new and immediate dangers, always with the threat of zombies in the background.