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The Walking Dead: A New Frontier – Ep3 Above the Law review

We give our verdict on the third episode of season three.

© Telltale Games

Richmond, the New Frontier. So much to do and (as always in the Walking Dead) so many obstacles.

As before it is impossible to discuss this game without major spoilers as the game is so story driven so if you haven’t played it yet or don’t want to know the plot then please don’t read on. I will say however that the game is great and you should definitely play!

Episode 3 begins with another flashback, a style which seems to be the hallmark of the latest series. We are presented with Javi and Kate during the early days of the outbreak as they attempt to find fuel for their car. They discuss recent events and it is said that it has been four months since David left with their mother to Baltimore and he is yet to return. As they find the petrol station empty Kate shouts in frustration which attracts a walker. As Javi grapples with it he calls for a weapon from Kate who has seemingly frozen. Eventually Javi is able to overwhelm the walker and when he confronts Kate about her inaction she apologises stating that it was one of Gabe’s friends. Upon their return home they decide that to stay safe they have to move on. Gabe disagrees as he does not want to leave his father whom he believes will return. By way of a compromise they write a letter for David and leave it at the house before leaving.

This sequence was one that settled a lot of nerves for me. As mentioned in the previous article I had begun to assume that David’s disappearance would be a side note to the Javi/Kate affair and I was pleasantly surprised to find that in fact they waited for over four months for him to return before leaving themselves. The depth of Kate’s character was significantly added to by this cut scene and it showed her to be loyal to her family but also refreshingly human. Too often in the Walking Dead we see the extremes; either it’s the cold and ruthlessness shown by early Michonne or it is the hysterical liability of so many characters throughout the series. Instead what we are given in Kate is a woman who is trying her best to cope with a horrific world but one who is not immune to freeze or become frustrated and enraged which, to be fair, I think most of us would in such circumstances.

Watch the trailer for The Walking Dead: A New Frontier – Ep3 Above the Law below:

 

The game then flicks back to the present where we see Javi’s shock that David is involved with the New Frontier. Javier is given a tour of the facility where the action really takes place. Javier described what happened to Mariana and the player is presented with the choice of whether to demand justice for her murder by the New Frontier or to keep it to yourself; in this choice I elected to keep it to myself, I was interested to see how such a big secret which would provoke such depth of emotion would play out.

Back in the present, David is shocked to find Javier, Gabe and Kate still alive. After their reunion, Javier and David walk around and get to Kate while Javier describes what happened to Mariana and how she died at the hands of the New Frontier. We see the way in which the city of Richmond operates and learn that David is one of four who run the group, the key is the formidable Joan; a woman somewhere between the Vicar of Dibley and a resident of Salem’s Lot.

This episode is somewhat shorter and less interactive than the others and I must say that I felt disappointed by the amount of filler within the episode. The whole scene in the infirmary with Kate, David and Javi felt forced and detracted from the storytelling. That being said I did enjoy deciding the fate of Badger; FYI.  I chose to let him turn.

The episode ends with Javi and his group being forced to leave Richmond by Joan following a strange kind of mock trial in the ruins of a church. Though the visuals were pleasing and the setting suitably dramatic I felt that even this was more filler than was necessary. The whole of episode three felt like it was stuck between two stalls; it neither moved the plot along sufficiently nor engaged the player enough to feel worthy of its own episode. What took an hour of gameplay could just as easily been summarised in half of that time without loss to the plot or to the series. This was by far the weakest of the season 3 episodes.

The Walking Dead: A New Frontier – Ep3 Above the Law was reviewed using a digital code supplied by the developer.

Publisher: Telltale Games Developer: Telltale Games Release Date: February 28, 2016 Reviewed On: PC/Steam Also Available On: Xbox One, PS4

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