The following review may contain spoilers for some readers!

Sangre Por Sangre

Al Capone once said, “You can get a lot more done with a gun and a kind word than with a kind word alone.”

Nothing more could more accurately sum up the The Walking Dead: A New Frontier. By now you have probably asked yourself at least once, “What does that Sangre Por Sangre gibberish in the headline mean?” It is a simple phrase that means: Blood for Blood. That phrase also sums up the entire New Frontier story arch. The entire season focuses on Javier and his group having accidentally crossed paths with some bad people called the New Frontier. The group says Javier stole from them, kidnap him, burn down an innocent town and fill it with walkers. All because of some pudding and gasoline Javier’s group needed to keep going. The New Frontier even goes as far to kill Javier’s very young niece and wound Kate which set off a cavalcade of events that make an overall top tier experience from Telltale Games.

To bring the scope down to just the finale of The Walking Dead: A New Frontier, just for a moment, it does a phenomenal job of wrapping the story up for Javier and his crew. The episode picks up immediately after the events of episode four, aside from a brief flashback at the beginning. The flashback covers a very sad moment where Javier and David find out their father has cancer and is refusing to seek treatment. David, of course, gets angry and eventually storms off. Javier has a conversation with their dear old dad in which he can promise to remain a loyal brother to David once their dad passes on (that’s what I chose to do). It ties into a moment very late in the episode where David finds out Javier and Kate are in a relationship together. Kate, of course, being his now ex-wife whom in her defense up until now thought David had died. Regardless David snaps and beats the unholy hell out of his little brother. In order to keep the promise to their dad, I had Javier refuse to fight and instead keep telling David he loves him. David leaves and takes Gabriel with him which then forces Javier to make a choice, go after his brother and Gabriel with Clementine or stay with Kate and try to take back the former New Frontier safe zone from the zombies. Outside of that, the season is generally about cleaning up the mess that David set off at the end of the last episode. David, who was going to be publicly hung as a means to cover up some shady stuff one of the other leaders of the New Frontier was doing behind the scenes. Javier and the gang try to stop it by striking a deal and of course the moment David is off the noose he causes a scene and all hell breaks lose.

Season 3 of Telltale Games’ flagship series The Walking Dead manages to pull off what Season 2 failed at, making players care about what happens to the characters. Throughout the entire game, I wanted nothing more than for Javier and Kate both to make it to the end! They were a part of some of the most gut-wrenching storytelling and gameplay I have played in 2017. When I thought Javier had actually lost Kate in a truck crash I was ready to set the controller down and not finish the rest of the game. They had already lost the innocent little beam of joy that was Javier’s niece (Kate’s stepdaughter) Mariana to the New Frontier’s ambush. In a surprising turn of events, the end to their story arc for the season was actually a happy one. They got to be in happy and healthy post-apocalyptic relationship, they have a real chance at rebuilding a life in the newly excavated safe zone that belonged to the New Frontier. A nice fellow named Jesus helped them clear it out, nice little tie into the comics there.

JUST LET THEIR LOVE BE, OKAY?!

Clementine also played a decent part in the story of Javier’s fight against the New Frontier. Our little Clem has grown up quite a bit since we last saw her in season two of The Walking Dead. She saw Jane’s suicide, lost AJ to the New Frontier (after they booted her from the group) because she stole medicine she needed to help AJ bounce back from a near death sickness. Clementine develops a nice little crush on Javier’s nephew Gabriel, which makes the choice at the end of the game a little more difficult. She also shares a few very heartfelt moments with Javier throughout the season. Clementine has grown up at the end of the world. She did not have the typical upbringing a lot of little girls do. Therefore she never had “The Talk” with her mom. I am of course referring to the monthly bleeding a woman has to deal with. Javier does a superb job covering the basics and has Kate go over some of the other details with her. It was a nice little additive to the story because it covered a topic not really ever discussed in apocalyptic stories. Clementine even says she has no idea what is happening to her and knows other women have gone through it while she was with them in her travels. It kind of annoyed the hell out of me that no one had bothered telling her about it before that point. Poor girl must have ruined a lot of her clothing with blood before that point.

She’s all growed up! I’m not crying you are!

Speaking of things that bother me in The Walking Dead, David was by far one of the biggest obstacles in the game. From the get go, I hoped David would exist exclusively in the segments of the game that took place before the outbreak. Sadly though he was reintroduced around the third episode as the head of security for the New Frontier, the very people whom Javier and the rest of the cast have been fighting with for the whole season. It was actually kind of funny bumping into him considering I was holding Kate (his former wife) in my arms because she was gut shot by his people. Oh, and they killed the INNOCENT ray of sunshine that was David’s little girl Mariana! I did feel for David to some degree. He is a soldier to the core. He has no idea how to fit into regular society, in the battlefield he said ‘Do this’ and people listen, he feels disconnected from his own family. So when he was standing on the edge of a roof, wondering what the point of it all was. It made me sort of stand beside myself and set aside all the crap David had put us through over the course of the game and think “if this were my brother, despite what he had done I would not want him to jump” so I let David talk and eventually he came down. It was a really nice moment between brothers who seemed at each other’s throats for most of the game.

His son Gabriel was also a huge annoyance. He is going through his angst-filled puberty phase which causes a huge headache for the player throughout the season. He doesn’t do what he is told and back talks so much I was praying for the option to throat punch the little prick. He almost gets the entire group killed by revealing that Javier killed one of Tripp’s closest friends, which Javier HAD to do in order to keep Gabriel and Clementine alive. In fact up until Clementine and Gabriel had their little crush that sort of made Gabriel grow the hell up a little bit I was hoping he would not make it to the end. Much like David, I began to feel for the little guy. He didn’t have much of a father figure growing up, later on, he begins to model himself after Javier which is good. At two points though David hits Gabriel and they are both really uncomfortable moments. The first time Gabriel tried to get in between David and some woman during a tense situation and David appears to react out of instinct. The second time David is absolutely wailing on Javier and again Gabriel decides enough is enough and tries to intervene. He gets a sharp elbow to the face for his troubles. All in all, though, I hope the little guy and Clementine get to have a healthy relationship in season four. I think she is good for him, keep him on the straight and narrow.

Season 3 of The Walking Dead also brought back a mechanic to the zombie apocalypse that I don’t think is referenced enough. The prospect of smearing the dead, or Muertos, innards on yourself to walk through hoards undetected. Having to guide Javier through a tidal wave of the undead was some of the most nail-biting, sphincter puckering, edge of my seat gameplay I have played in quite a while. There were several times I thought I was going to bump into a walker or that the camouflage was wearing off, leaving me moments away from death.

There really isn’t much that is easy to deem ‘bad’ about how The Walking Dead: A New Frontier wrapped up or for the season in general. In fact, the only real complaints I had were the length of the final episode and how Tripp just kind of brushes over the fact that I was going to let him die not an hour earlier. The episode clocked in at just over an hour for me, which isn’t very long in the grand scheme of things. I would have liked for maybe one more touching scene to be snuck in but it was still very well done regardless. Tripp on the other hand, it bothered me that he didn’t kick my ass. I deserved it. I was forced to choose between letting him or Ava ( a loyal soldier to the New Frontier who helped Javier and Clementine). I chose to let Ava live because I wanted her help getting out of the situation. Unfortunately, the shooter betrayed us and killed Ava instead. Tripp was kind of like. “Yeah, I get it. I would do the same thing if I were in your shoes” but that felt a little counter intuitive to how he had been acting the rest of the season. I mean he kicked us out of the apartment we were hiding in during the previous episode just because we killed someone he knew because the guy had gone crazy and was going to kill Clementine and Gabriel.

To close things out, The Walking Dead: A New Frontier is a well-rounded experience that I highly recommend playing. The best part of The Walking Dead’s season finale was seeing the card pop up saying Clementine’s story will continue. I am very eager to see what Telltale Games has in store for little Clementine as she ventures off to find AJ. I have such high hopes for her coming back and being with Gabriel and the rest of Javier’s group. I also can’t wait to see how all those hopes are horribly shattered by the apocalypse and the wonderfully twisted minds at Telltale Games.

The Walking Dead: A New Frontier Review
The Good
  • Story is really well done this season
  • Makes players actually care about the characters unlike the previous season
  • A notably happy ending for the season
The Bad
  • Short season finale
  • Odd change in character for Tripp
  • David.
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