Game Review: Alien: Blackout (2019) – An Engaging and Spine-Tingling Mobile Followup [iOS]

Over the past couple of years there have been an innumerable number of storylines that could be said to have been abandoned too soon. The space-faring TV show Firefly or the ever meme-worthy Half-Life 3 are just some that spring to mind.

But for this writer there really have been only two pieces of media for which hope for a followup still holds out. The first being the colourful TV show Pushing Daisies, which ran from 2007-2009, and whose cancellation left my 19-year-old-self wallowing in tears. The second, and one far more relevant to this review, is 2014’s Alien Isolation.

While the critical response was somewhat mixed (though leaning towards the positive), and total sales were reasonable; it wasn’t quite enough to greenlight a sequel. For a game that, I honestly felt, did for the Alien Universe what Batman: Arkham Asylum did for the Batman universe, this was a bitter pill to swallow.

It was therefore hard not to have a level of apprehension when hearing about Alien: Blackout. Not only was it a mobile followup to the console brilliance of Isolation, but one that was developed by a completely different studio. That said, the final result actually ends up being a somewhat worthy follow up to the claustrophobic classic.

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Screenshot / © 2019 D3 Go!

Events kick off with the arrival of the USCSS Haldin at the Mendal Research Station. Four passengers come aboard only to realise that the space station has fallen to a roaming Xenomorph. Fortunately for them, Amanda Ripley, survivor of the events of Isolation, is also trapped on board.

Holed up in the Mendal’s air ducts, Amanda has used rudimentary technology to hack into the station’s holographic maps, motion trackers and surveillance cameras. With said technology she is able to guide the four trapped passengers to complete various mission objectives.

But there’s a catch. The various systems only have enough power to last 8 minutes before shutting down and plunging the entire area into darkness (hence the titular subtitle.) As such, a layered cat-and-mouse game begins, with the outcome being survival or becoming another tasty treat for the terrifying nightmare.

Despite the downsizing in scale, one significant carry-over from Isolation is the brilliant sound design. The hiss of the steam pipes, the slamming of metallic doors, and of course, the panic-inducing roar of the Xenomorph itself. Throw in the chilling musical accompaniment by Tommi Hartikainen, and you have a game that, in terms of fear-factor, does stand tall among the numerous entries in the Alien franchise.

Fair warning though, this is not a game that can be experienced like other “pick up and play” mobile titles. To really experience the game as it was meant to, it would be worth investing in a decent pair of headphones. Do so, and you’ll be treated to some heart-pounding sequences.

Along with the sound, the visuals also punch above the traditional weight of a mobile title. While what little we see on cameras is a clear invoking of Isolation, it’s still great to see the same love and affection in paying homage to the design styles of the original Alien movie.

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Screenshot / © 2019 D3 Go!

The gameplay is relatively simple, as you guide the characters to their various mission objectives by drawing a path with your finger. But the cameras and motion senses only cover certain parts of the station, meaning you can never be 100% sure where the Xenomorph might be. As such you can also order each character to either “stop”, “hide” or “hurry up.”

Along with the visual barriers, Blackout also institutes a power limitation; meaning that only a maximum of five objects (either doors, cameras or motion senses) can be active at any one time. With the eight minute limitation mentioned above, each level can become incredibly tense as you try to outwit the rampaging monster.

While there are a few bugs here and there, the biggest issue is that, unlike most games on either console or mobile, Blackout makes no real attempt to institute a learning curve. While the game does gradually increase in difficulty, the first level still more or less throws you into the deep end with only a minimum of direction as to how to do anything. While those that power through will eventually arrive at the engaging gameplay mentioned above, it’s easy to imagine a great many players being turned off before even properly getting out the door.


Clocking in at seven levels spread across 1-2 hours of gameplay, Alien: Blackout isn’t exactly the longest of mobile titles. But with shortness comes intensity and a strong attempt to, not only give us a worthy follow-up to Isolation, but also to present an engaging addition to the Alien gaming universe.

Overall Score:

four-stars

Alien: Blackout is currently available for iOS and Android (£4.99 on both platforms)

 

Game Review: A Case of Distrust (2018) – An Impressive & Stylish Noir Detective Game [PC]

Being a writer, story has always been paramount when it comes to the entertainment I consume. That’s probably why my preferred gaming habits tend to lean towards the point & click / text adventure genre. Games like Broken Sword, Phoenix Wright and most of the Telltale output have such simplistic gameplay that they’re forced to elevate their writing above other, more bombastic games such as Assassins Creed or Call of Duty.

As such, A Case of Distrust (ACOD) was a game closely followed by myself in the run up to its release. With my recent disappoint in Double Infeminity, a play with a very similar story, perhaps solo developer Ben Wander can do better?

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The year is 1924 and San Francisco is several years into the grip of prohibition. Private detective, Phyllis Malone, has been approached by a small time bootlegger about a threatening letter he has received. In fear for his life, he asks Malone to investigate.

With only her trusty pen in hand, Malone strides into the world of smoke-filled nightclubs, deadly gangsters and glamorous flappers as she tries to uncover all the mysteries before it’s too late.


Having been a big fan of 2007’s Hotel Dusk, I immediately felt at home with ACOD. With its likeable female protagonist and intricate mystery, the game calmly invites you into a perfect portrayal of 1920s San Francisco. This is mainly done through detailed and well written descriptions of buildings, people and various conversations with taxi folk.

As you might expect from a text adventure, the gameplay is straightforward. A simple interaction with your cat introduces the player to the game’s basic mechanics. But soon Malone is out in the city visiting a variety of locations, upon where you can click on objects that might be relevant to your investigation. But at certain points you are required to interrogate suspects. In these scenes you have to try and contradict their statements with evidence or with information from prior suspects. It’s hard not to be reminded of the similar approach taken in L.A. Noire; but because of its simplicity, ACOD is far more emotionally satisfying.

But what stands out above all else is the artwork. Clearly inspired by the movie title sequence work of Saul Bass, ACOD embraces 2D silhouettes like it was going out of style. Add in the catchy pieces of jazz and a minimal (but always appropriate) colour palette, each scene becomes a delight just to watch (and listen to!)

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As the story marches on it becomes clear that, though this is a story with the trappings of 1920s America, much of the dialogue and treatment of women is reflective of our current situation. One such example was where Malone picks up a discarded periodical, and reads some commentary about President Calvin Coolidge’s anti-immigrant policies:

Perhaps, in a modern city, such talk is brushed aside – Of course the president only wishes to keep away the criminal ranks. But cast a glance to rural America and observe a change in tone – where “foreign” is anyone who is not White or Protestant. It is there that President Coolidge knows exactly his aim: stoke the fires of division to gain the vote of the majority.

That said, occasionally it can get a bit too reflective of our current times, with several behaviours or even non-behaviours seeming rather politically correct considering the period. Malone’s treatment by most of the men around her in particular, while not quite 21st century, is still far more respectful than you might expect towards a woman trying to trade in what is clearly stated to be an entirely male profession.

Despite the fact that this is a text adventure, you also can’t help occasionally feeling that a little more gaming flourish would have been adapt. For example, rather than locations being labelled in a simple list, perhaps an actual map with clickable locations would have been a little more entertaining.

In addition, there are moments where it’s hard not to get a little lost. With dozens of statements from a variety of characters, it can be hard to work out which statements are relevant to the character you’re speaking to at any particular moment. As such, there are points where it simply becomes a process of elimination rather than proper detective work.


In spite of the minor imperfections and an ending that is slightly unearned, A Case of Distrust is a well-structured game with plenty of entertainment. The closing scenes also hint at future games, and I for one would love to see read more of Miss Malone and her adventures.

Overall Score:

four-stars


A Case of Distrust is available on Steam and Game Jolt for Windows and Mac.

Game Review: Framed 2 – The Portal 2 of Mobile Sequels

2014 was an incredible year for videogames. Metal Gear Solid V, Destiny, Alien Isolation, two Assassin’s Creed games, and a stunning crossover between Professor Layton and Ace Attorney.

While they were all astonishing games, my personal game of the year wasn’t any of these big budget blockbusters, but rather a small mobile game from Loveshack Entertainment titled Framed.

Though short in nature, Framed did what far too many mobile games fail to do: come up with a unique game-play idea that would be perfect for touchscreens and then run with it!

But with the release of a sequel, the simple problem is there’s now a sense of expectation. So, does Framed 2 match up to the original; or is it nothing more than a repetition of a three year old idea?framed-2.jpg

With only a minutiae of plot to speak of, Framed 2 follows a sunglasses-wearing silhouetted man (and later a woman) with a suitcase and its valuable contents. Both of them must work together to try and outrun a mustachioed villain who relentlessly chases them down.

The actual challenge, however, comes from the “choose your own adventure” aspect of the game. With a mixture of puzzles and cutscenes, the player is required to arrange several panels, in the style of a comic book, in order to make sure the man and woman reach the end without getting caught.

Talk about going beyond your expectations!

Much like F.T.L. or Limbo, Framed 2 is not afraid to offer its player a challenge. Indeed, rearranging panels, the core mechanic of the game, is only the beginning of introducing this colourful world. Soon enough panels are required to be rotated and reused, all the time ticking down to the inevitable conclusion.

That said, the game does ease you into things. In fact, it might be worthwhile still purchasing the original Framed as a sort of introduction or training exercise. (Only £3.99 on the Apple Store folks!)

Once the difficulty intensifies, failure is almost a guarantee at first. But like Tom Cruise’s many deaths in Edge of Tomorrow, the failure itself can be quite entertaining. Never has purposely getting a Rube Goldberg-esque situation wrong and seeing your character plummet to a watery grave been so fun! And similar to Valve’s Portal, once you actually work out how to succeed, you’ll feel like an utter mastermind.

Though only clocking in at about 1-2 hours playtime (depending on skill level), Loveshack have added an ounce of replay value by introducing collectible in-game Polaroids. Though not completely necessary, they add a sense of cartoony humour to the proceedings.


While still shorter than one might like considering the cost, Framed 2 more than blows its predecessor out of the water. Like Assassin’s Creed 2 or Portal 2, Framed 2 takes the good, ejects the bad and adds improvements until it’s bursting at the seams.

If anything, Framed 2 manages to attain the best of both worlds by being both a fast paced (within reason) action game, but infused with more cerebral aspects.

By living up to the already high expectations, Loveshack Entertainment have solidified themselves as a genuinely rare breed in today’s freemium/shovelware world.

Overall Score:

five-stars

Framed 2 currently costs £4.99 and is available to download from the Apple Store.

Photo Credits: Bit Summit, Kill Screen,

The Walking Dead: A New Frontier – A Review of From The Gallows

Click to read my review for Episode One, Two, Three and Four

Spoilers for all previous episodes of A New Frontier


Sometimes it really doesn’t matter how hard you write or how groundbreaking your story is.  Because in the end… It’s all about the ending.

But in this arena Telltale have some extensive experience. Their climaxes for season one and two are among some of the most heart-wrenching pieces of video game storytelling. Hopefully this bodes well for From the Gallows, the fifth and final episode of A New Frontier.

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Kicking off with another pre-apocalypse scene, we’re reminded of the strained relationship between Javier, David and their father before jumping forward to the cliffhanger events of the previous episode.

While overcoming the immediate danger of Richmond, Javier and his team must try to mend the emotional and physical wounds of those who have suffered; while at the same time deciding whether Richmond is a place worth saving.

If it was possible to distill the entire experience of A New Frontier into one word, that word would undoubtedly be “Family.” With such a complex bond between brothers Javier and David, constantly seeing the two battle each other has been one of the highlights of the story; and resolving said conflict was always going to be the crux of Episode 5.

Unfortunately whilst it may have been the crux, it was not, as I expected, the climax. The game instead decides to structure the episode’s second half into two paths; one which follows Javier and David, while the other focuses on Javier and his relationship with Kate.

Both relationships arguably make up the two halves of Javier’s psyche, and to have one of those resolved off-screen lends a sense of disappointment to the proceedings.

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Outside of these two primary relationships, Telltale have done what can only be described as a borderline schizophrenic job in portraying some characters. In the case of Clementine, an excellent effort has been made, bringing the tender child of Season One to a close, while allowing her to set off into the new journey of teenage-hood.

And yet with Gabe, there’s a sense of inconsistency as we watch him veer wildly between admiring nephew and devoted son. For a game that has spent nearly 6 hours regularly emphasising how mature and intelligent Gabe is, he sure is dumb as shit.

But even if the charactisation had been improved, it’s somewhat let down by the occasional glitch, which on one occasion, managed to destroy the impact of the scene by introducing a flying horse!

That said the final moments of the episode are far more uplifting than previous seasons. That glimmer of hope for a better future is rather the antithesis of what The Walking Dead usually stands for. It’s as if Telltale finally thought: “You know what, enough with the depressing stuff!


While tying up the various story-lines of A New Frontier in a nice little bow, From the Gallows makes it clear that the last five episodes were more of a side-quest in Clementine’s story to reach adulthood; and as such Javier’s journey feels more forgettable that you might want.

Overall Score:

three-stars

Photo Credits: Attack of the Fanboy, Game Informer, Destructoid

Game Review: Firewatch (2016) – An Mysterious Adventure With A Breath Of Fresh Air

Like many of those with Steam accounts, the numerous gaming sales put on by those fine people at Value are sometimes rather hard to ignore. Indeed, even though my account was created in 2011, I’ve only played a fraction of the 153 games I have on there.

So, deciding to make in dent in these fine pieces of digital entertainment, I kicked off by playing, not a game about saving the world or fighting the forces of evil; but instead a game about a dude who takes long walks in the forest.

Christ, what am I doing?…

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Set in the summer of 1989, Henry (Rich Sommer) decides to take a job as a fire lookout in Shoshane National Forest. While there he befriends a fellow lookout called Delilah (Cissy Jones), a person whom he can only communicate with through his walkie-talkie.

While at first the job seems rather mundane, Henry and Delilah are soon drawn into a frightening mystery that threatens to upturn both their lives.

It’s somewhat amazing how Campo Santo (the makers of Firewatch) have essentially taken a well worn genre (in this case the First-Person Shooter); and by merely removing the shooter part they have created a groundbreaking experience worthy of repeat playing.

In your role as a fire lookout, you get to traverse a gorgeous world based on the art of British artist Olly Moss. Bright, colourful and constantly inviting, the game is victorious in pushing you to explore every nook and cranny, hoping to uncover the game’s mysteries and secrets through its stellar art direction.

But since the game-play is relatively simple, Firewatch ultimately relies on the strength of its writing and voice actors. And in both these cases Campo Santo have succeeded overwhelmingly.

In the creation of Henry and Delilah, credited writers Chris Remo, Jake Rodkin, Olly Moss and Sean Vanaman birth a relationship that is both mature and complex. Through their excellent writing they create, not only the emotional bond you experience on-screen; but also the bond between you as a player and the character you play as.

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©Campo Santo. All Rights Reserved.

But of course, such characters would be empty vessels without the powerful voice acting of Sommer and Jones. Never feeling forced or superficial, the humanised tone of both voices is a perfect gateway into the compelling mystery that lies at the heart of this story.

While there were minor technical issues, I do hold some disappointment in that, of the five main characters inhabiting the piece, the two females are the only ones not to be physically portrayed in any form. This does make sense to a certain extent considering the story-line, but I don’t think inserting a drawing or photo would have gone amiss.

But what truly fascinates me about Firewatch are not only the themes, but also the very human distresses and tragedies that lie at its centre. No monsters, no paranormal activities, no savage animals. Just fear and trepidation on the same level as a Hitchcock film.

And underlying that Hitchcockian experience is clearly the theme of escapism. In the same way that we in real life play videogames to escape from reality; the characters of Firewatch all desire that need for emotional freedom. Yes, they somewhat take it to extremes, but come the third act (and just like in real life), the pain of life always catches up with us in the end.


While not for everyone, in Firewatch I found a game that is not only a great experience by itself; but also one that stretches the boundaries of the genre to create a beauteous journey almost unrivaled in gaming history.

Overall Score:

five-stars

The Walking Dead: A New Frontier – A Review of Thicker Than Water

Click to read my review for Episode One and Two

Spoilers for Episode One, Two and Three of A New Frontier


My God, talk about speeding things up!

There was me thinking we were in for another long haul between episode releases. But then Telltale pulls it out of the bag and releases Episode Four only 28 days after Episode Three!

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It’s pretty hard to impress this guy, but you did it Telltale!

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Opening with another pre-apocalypse flashback, Thicker Than Water continues immediately from the end of the previous episode with Javier (Jeff Schine) and David (Alex Hernandez) at each other’s throats.

Realising there is no chance of safety in Richmond, Javier must prepare supplies, weapons and his team for their eventual escape. But with antagonist Joan (Jayne Taini) bearing down upon them, the fear increasingly sets in as it becomes strikingly evident that not everyone will get out alive.

Thicker than Water is very much a tale of two halves, with the first being rather plodding compared to the action packed second. Indeed there are moments in the first half where character’s decisions are utterly inexplicable. For example, early on you’re about to set out through dangerous territory in a search for weapons; and yet a supporting character chooses that moment to stop you and ask for relationship advice!

The decision to make Joan the primary antagonist is also somewhat baffling, especially when the previous episode indicated that it would be David that would become Javier’s primary foe. Not only would that be more logical, but it would have made for a fascinating battle between two siblings. I can’t help feeling that maybe the writers wanted the best of both worlds, but were unable to make that ultimate sacrifice.

Though I found Joan to be a rather underdeveloped antagonist, especially when compared to Season 2’s Carver; I did find her inciting monologue at the end to be one of the best pieces of emotional writing in a videogame. Never have I gone from “I’m the hero!” to “Am I the hero?” so quickly.

Technically, the only thing of significance was that the entire game crashed about 3 minutes before the end. Talk about taking you out of the story! But fortunately it was a relatively minor problem that barely impacted on my emotional experience of the story.

Speaking of emotional experience, it’s also great to see the burgeoning romance between Javier and Kate (Shelly Shenoy) finally reach a climax after three episodes of build up. Though I couldn’t help being amused how both of them have magically shook off a gunshot wound to the gut and a stabbing to the arm respectively.

I especially enjoyed the increased presence of Ava (Ally Johnson). Whilst I had barely noticed her in previous episodes, her storyline here gains her a great deal of sympathy, especially in her scenes with Clementine.

Shame such a positive relationship can’t be said of the character of Gabe (Raymond Ochoa), whose sulky teenage bitchiness is an irritation that I will be introducing to a bullet as soon as the game allows me.

However, though the characterisation may be baffling, the final third act climax is undoubtedly the greatest sequence created in the past three seasons of Walking Dead gameplay. Every second becomes a heart pounding struggle as life changing decisions are thrown at you left right and centre; and never can you be completely sure that you’re making the right choice.


In the end, while the beginning was rather poorly paced, the finale more than makes up for it; and makes my anticipation for the final episode, From The Gallows, all the more sweeter.

Overall Score:

Coming Soon: My Review of Episode Five: From the Gallows

Photo Credits: Geekiary, Game Informer, GIFs from GIPHY

The Walking Dead: A New Frontier – A Review of Above The Law

Click here to read my review for the first 2 episodes

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?

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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.

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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.

Overall Score:

three-stars

Coming Soon: My Review of Episode Four: Thicker Than Water


Photo Credits: Walking Dead Wikia, Gamespot, TV Insider

The Walking Dead: A New Frontier – A Review of Ties That Bind Part 1 & 2

Full spoilers for Season One, Two, 400 Days and mild spoilers for Ties That Bind Part 1 & 2


Unlike what feels like most of the world, I am not a fan of The Walking Dead TV show. Not that I have anything against zombies, but for the first season and a half that I did watch, it never really felt like the show had a long term goal. On the other hand, when The Walking Dead Game: Season One was released back in 2012, I immediately fell in love.

From the old LucasArts adventures to the more recent Broken Sword and Sam and Max games,  point and clicks have always been the pinnacle of storytelling for me. Fortunately Season One proved my eagerness correct and I immediately jumped into the follow ups of Season Two and 400 Days.

I may be a little late to the party (and after spending way too long in transferring my old Xbox 360 save file to PC!), but I finally got round to the opening episodes of A New Frontier!

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Starting off in the pre-apocalypse, mid-20s Javier Garcia doesn’t make it home in time to say goodbye to his dying father, much to the anger of his older brother, David. Alas, said father is soon re-animated as the living dead and the family must depart for the hospital in separate vehicles.

Fast forward four years and society has completely collapsed. Javier is now constantly on the move with his sister-in-law, niece and nephew in tow. But, while in the pursuit of supplies, they soon come into conflict with a dangerous group called The New Frontier. Tensions high, hope seems lost until a very familiar figure steps onto the scene…

I’m still in two minds about the decision to introduce a new protagonist. On the one hand, I do understand that with new consoles just released, there are probably a huge influx of new players. Giving them an easy way into the story was undoubtedly at the forefront of the game designers minds (as demonstrated by the fact this game is not called Season Three.)

But it’s hard not to feel a sense of misdirection, especially since The Walking Dead was always meant to be a story about the long term effects of the zombie apocalypse. By reducing Clementine to a mere supporting act, I do feel a strong story-telling opportunity was missed.

But that’s not to say that Javier is an unreasonable person to have as a protagonist. He’s likable and you do root for him to get out of the sticky situations he finds himself in. However the most appealing aspect of Javier is that we finally get to experience how your decisions affect close family members, as opposed to previous seasons pseudo-relationships. Without a doubt this helps to make your journey far more personal and your choices far more complex.

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This journey is only made more engaging by the high quality writing from the team of writers lead by Brad Kane. Not only do they deliver a believable portrayal of the strains upon family bonds in times of crisis; but also succeed in showing the paranoia and unforgiving attitude of a girl forced to experience events far beyond her years.

In terms of technical and design achievements, there’s been a significant step up from previous seasons, such as reduced loading times and slightly more forgiving QTE moments. Having said that some technical problems do remain, most obviously a small amount of lagging, as well as the annoying return of the “hidden wall.”

But there is one major story problem that originated in 400 Days and Season 2, but has now only become exacerbated in A New Frontier. However it requires me to dive into spoilers so highlight the following ONLY if you’re okay with me talking about detailed plot points.

[SPOILERS AHEAD]

When introducing a new protagonist, it’s best that we experience the game entirely through his or her eyes. That’s why Lee in Season One worked so well. Since we were meeting everyone at the same time as Lee did, the choices we made were essentially Lee’s decisions.

But by introducing a new protagonist AND retaining Clementine as a major supporting character, the reasons for your choices are no longer sound as you are making decisions based on encounters and emotions that your character has never experienced.

There are two specific decisions that really help to illustrate this. The first takes place in part 1 where you have to decide if you are to escape with your family or stay with Clementine; while the second choice takes place in part 2 where you have to deal with the plan that Conrad has suggested.

Look carefully at the percentage of players:

Did you escape with your family or stay with Clementine?

16.3% of players escaped with your family.

83.7% of players stayed with Clementine.

How did you deal with Conrad’s threat to Clementine? 

88.7% of players killed Conrad.

11.3% of players agreed to Conrad’s plan.

As you can see, an overwhelming number of players are choosing to defend and protect Clementine. But why? From what we’ve experienced through the eyes of Javier, his priority is his family, not a random 13 year old girl that he met less than 24 hours ago.

Because of that the decisions we are making are flawed. We’re not making them as Javier. We’re making them as some sort of unseen omnipotent God that has lived through Lee’s and Clementine’s experiences, and using them to influence our decisions with Javier.

It may have taken some balls, but the moment Telltale decided a new protagonist was needed, they should have gone all out and left Clementine out of A New Frontier. There may have been complaints, but in pursuit of a better story it was absolutely necessary.

Nonetheless, Ties That Bind is a solid (re)introduction into The Walking Dead universe and has enough engaging story-threads that leave me inching for episode 3.

Overall Score:

four-stars

Coming Soon: My review for Episode Three: Above The Law


Photo Credits: DuelShockers, Gamespot, Inverse,

Stats taken from The Walking Dead Wikia