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Season 3 of TellTale's Walking Dead series - this series subtitled A New Frontier - takes place a few years after the conclusion of season 2. You start off with an entirely new cast of characters - Javier, your protag; David, Javi's brother; Kate, David's wife; Gabriel, David's son; and Mariella, David's daughter. "But wait, where's Clementine? She's right there on the cover!" She's still in the game, and she's still a major focus, but despite continuing her story, A New Frontier puts Clem sort of to the side, putting the primary focus on the sort of side story of Javi's family, although they interact extremely heavily with Clem, making her feel like either a more minor main character or a major side character. It's definitely a shift considering that Clementine had pretty much been the focal point of the first two seasons.
If you've played the first two seasons, then you pretty much know what to expect here; 70% pure narrative, 25% quick time events, 5% actual moving and shit. It looks about the same graphically, and the quality of the writing and voice acting remains top notch. The facial animations do seem a bit more awkward at times here, but I'm not sure they're actually more awkward, if I'm just not noticing it until now, or if that's a difference between PC (where I played the first two seasons) and PS4 (where I played this season). For veteran players and hardcore Clementine enthusiasts like me, it can be a little harder to get into the early parts of the game when it's just Javi's family, but their characters and situations are still extremely compelling, and of course, all is right in the world once Clementine is reintroduced.
As with all of TellTale's narrative games, player choice guides the story, and your choices will change how not only that episode ends but what happens in the rest of the season's episodes (of which there are five, as usual). One feature that I absolutely love that I assume was carried over from season two although I truthfully can't remember since it's been so long is that before starting episode one, you get the chance to fill in your choices for major turning points in the previous two seasons in order to help shape how the world and the characters are in season three. I assume that feature was included in season two as well, but regardless, it's a great feature to have here so you can have a bit of ownership over how Clementine's character has developed throughout her troubled and traumatic childhood.
Overall, I found the story to be a little less engaging and interesting this time than in the previous two seasons. That's not to say that their quality slacked as it feels, for the most part, just as well made as ever. I just personally found myself less ensnared in the narrative this time probably because I'm a major Clementine fanboy, and there was occasionally a scene or two not all about her. I haven't read The Walking Dead, and I stopped watching the show after season four or five, but from what I've heard, this season of the game makes an attempt follow the comics much more closely than the first two seasons. Of course, TellTale tells their own story, but they apparently worked with the series creator to have some of the overlapping characters fit a bit better or something. I don't know, that doesn't matter to me, but I know some people like that sort of thing, so I figured it was worth mentioning.
The Walking Dead: A New Frontier is a great continuation of the story that fans have come to love, but the shift to a focus on this new cast of characters can feel a little jarring to some who had hoped this would be season three of The Adventures of Clementine. I hit a few performance issues that I'm starting to realize are par for the course for TellTale on PlayStation 4 - some awkward/hilarious graphical glitches, frame rate drops, some apparent choice bugs where characters that my choices killed show up randomly in scenes long after their deaths, and a frustrating number of game crashes - but while irksome, they don't completely break the game. Those performance issues are the main reason that I'd have to score this season lower than the previous two. It might be that I played those on a different platform, but this season in general just felt like it needed a few more rounds through QA and bug testing. Overall, though, it's still an excellent experience, and fans of the series shouldn't let the bugs and glitches deter them from playing through.
My Rating - 4 Neps
I'm Mr. Deck
And I like to play video games. I like to collect video games. I like to talk about video games, and I like to write about video games. During the day, I teach history at a high school in central North Carolina; during the night, I spend my spare time gaming. Then I write about it.