Spoilers for Episode One and Two of A New Frontier
I honestly don’t understand why Telltale chooses to leave such a massive gap in between episode releases. It makes it so that it’s almost impossible to remember what the story-line was, as well as losing all the emotion that had been built up in previous episodes. I would imagine that most people would hate having to wait three months, especially after the balls-out cliffhanger that finished Ties That Bind.
Fortunately, because of my late start in playing Episodes One and Two, it meant that I only had to wait a few days to lay my hands on Episode Three: Above The Law. But is it a worthy followup?
With a mixture of playable flashbacks and current day sequences, Above The Law continues from the cliffhanger ending in Ties That Bind, where we realise one of leaders of the dastardly New Frontier is none other than David, Javier’s older brother.
Having convinced David to take Kate so that she might receive medical care, Javier and his group are held captive by the minions of The New Frontier. While at first it seems that Richmond might finally be a place of safety, all is not what it seems.
Compared to the opening two episodes, it’s hard not to feel a sense of sluggishness for the opening 45 minutes. Your choices and contributions are so minor, it feels like you’re watching a film rather than playing a game. (Though to be fair, it’s still a pretty good film.)
However, Episode Three does far more to delve into the moral quandaries of Javier’s journey by exploring the titular New Frontier. As we understand the inner workings of the organisation, it becomes much harder to merely perceive them as villains in such a complex world.
While I did mention in my previous review that I felt it was a mistake to bring Clementine back as merely a side character, Telltale have improved greatly in managing to balance the storytelling needs of Javier while making Clementine’s story a necessary part of journey.
Speaking of Javier, he’s definitely established himself as a strong leading character. While he’s no Lee, the choices he is forced to make are far more morally complex than anything in the previous two seasons. I can only applaud the writer’s decision to make most of Javier’s choices influence how he is perceived by others, rather than simply deciding which choice will result in the least deaths.
As with previous Telltale entries there are still a few tech problems, noticeably one scene where every tree appears as a black bar for some reason. But fortunately there doesn’t seem to have been any problems during the action scenes. In fact, said action scenes, while still of the QTE variety, have some incredible tension and intensity, resulting in some of the most heart-pounding sequences Telltale has created in episodic gaming.
While this episode is a slight step down from the previous two entries, the leftover story-threads are begging to be followed up on. I can only hope it won’t be three months until Episode Four.
Coming Soon: My Review of Episode Four: Thicker Than Water