All Features


  PlayStation 3
  PlayStation 4
  Wii U
  Xbox 360
  Xbox One


The Walking Dead: A New Frontier: Episode 1 - Ties That Bind: Part 1

Score: 89%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Media: Download/1
Players: 1; 2 - 12 (Crowd Play)
Genre: Adventure/ Action/ Survival Horror

Graphics & Sound:

The Walking Dead: A New Frontier: Episode 1 - Ties That Bind: Part 1 kicks off the newest Telltale adventure set in the zombie-filled world of The Walking Dead. Quite some time has passed since Season One, featuring Lee and a young Clementine, and while Season Two had you play as Clem, A New Frontier puts the teenage Clementine back in a secondary character role as you play as Javier, a former baseball star who is just trying to keep what's left of his family alive.

As always, The Walking Dead does a great job of sticking to the graphic novel visual style that stems from its source material. Models have characteristics like rough outlines or small hash marks to accentuate shading like you would see in a comic. This combined with the coloring and shading just sell the overall look really well.

Ties That Bind: Part 1 also continues the series' tradition of good audio. Each of the voice actors fit their characters and at no point does the dialogue feel forced or phoned in. Music stays low key and adds to the overall tone of the game, while the various background sounds, including the moans of the dead, add another layer to that tone and really help you get into the world of The Walking Dead.


The Walking Dead: A New Frontier: Episode 1 - Ties That Bind: Part 1 doesn't stray too far from the Telltale adventure game design that was first worked out with Season One. Telltale's brand of adventure gaming is more about an interactive story with some elements of puzzles and quick time event-based action sequences than building up a massive inventory and finding out exactly what item needs to be used in order to progress.

This season focuses on Javier, his niece and nephew, and their step-mother. Ties That Bind: Part 1 starts off with a glimpse of their life before the apocalypse. We find Javier rushing to his parents' house knowing that his father is dying. When he arrives, he is waylaid for being too late by his older brother, David, and we get our first chance to shape what kind of character Javier is in his interactions with David.

Unfortunately for the Garcia family, Javier and David's father's death coincides with the zombie apocalypse, and turmoil breaks out when the recently deceased patriarch rises. The game then fast-forwards to the present with Javier, his sister-in-law Kate, his nephew Gabe and Mariana, his niece, in a van driving through the desert looking to stay ahead of a massive herd. When they stop for supplies at an old junkyard, they will find themselves coming into contact with one group or another, and not all of them are nice. But, at least we get to see a familiar, albeit older, face in Clementine.

While Javier and family don't know her, the player does and a lot of your choices in the past two seasons will help shape her story. Unfortunately, I don't think it matters what kind of choices you made before; Clem has become hard and her outlook on the world isn't too good. A New Frontier will not only give us glimpses into the Garcia family's past, but we will also slowly learn what happened to Clem in the time between Season Two and A New Frontier.


As with most Telltale adventure games, the difficulty behind The Walking Dead: A New Frontier: Episode 1 - Ties That Bind: Part 1 isn't so much the puzzles to solve, but getting through the fast-paced action sequences that require your fingers to be ready to tap out the necessary keys in order to advance the scene to the next safe point in the game.

While games like the recent Batman series gave the player a good bit of heads up to when an action sequence was coming (usually you knew if you were about to get into a fight), the fact that zombies can pop up at pretty much any time means that I always felt like I had to be ready for a surprise attack. So, while The Walking Dead isn't known for being a truly difficult game series to get through, the fact that you have to be ready to respond to prompts at any given moment adds to the overall tension of the game.

Of course, it wouldn't be a Telltale adventure game if there weren't some tough choices to make, and I tend to find some of those decisions to be more difficult than other aspects of the game. In A New Frontier, Javier will have a few tough calls to make regarding whom to trust and if he needs to act quickly or safely. While I didn't experience any truly heart-wrenching decisions in this episode like in past The Walking Dead seasons, if there is one thing this series promises, it will be hard decisions that could affect the events to come, and I can't wait to see what future episodes throw my way.

Game Mechanics:

Telltale has a fairly regular release schedule for their adventure games, and they also seem to put a lot into adding new features to their releases that makes the overall experience better. The Walking Dead: A New Frontier: Episode 1 - Ties That Bind: Part 1 is the first The Walking Dead title to be released after Batman: The Telltale Series, and some of the changes seen in Batman are apparent here. While these aren't major, they do add a bit more depth to the game as a whole.

The only change that will affect actual gameplay is that now, some action sequences might require more than one key press in an event, almost to add extra weight to the action. This is often the (shift) key combined with one of the other keys. Before Batman, a game that had even stronger actions sequences than The Walking Dead: Michonne, you just had to deal with one key press at a time.

The other new feature is Crowd Play. This basically lets you have an audience gather around the screen and suggest choices via their smart devices. The audience members go to the Crowd Play website and log into the specific game via a Game Code and when a choice comes up, the audience members get to vote on the choice they want to see performed. Of course, the player doesn't have to listen to these suggestions, unless the option for letting the game automatically choose the most popular choice is enabled.

Ties That Bind is broken up into two parts, and much like a TV series, these parts feel much more closely connected then a lot of episodes in past Telltale games. That isn't to say past episodes are one-off and don't have a serial feel to them, but it shows just how closely the events of Ties that Bind: Parts 1 and 2 are connected. Once you finish the first episode, you will want to jump into Episode 2 almost immediately to see how events play out, so it's a good thing both episodes were released at the same time. It will be interesting to see if the game can keep up that pace with the rest of A New Frontier.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows 7 64Bit Service Pack 1 or higher, Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz Processor, 3 GB RAM, Nvidia GTS 450+ with 1024MB+ VRAM (excluding GT) Graphics Card, DirectX Version 11, 8 GB Available Hard Drive Space, Direct X 11 Sound Device

Test System:

Intel Core i7-3820 CPU @ 3.60GHz, 16 GB dual-channel DDR3,Windows 10 Home 64 bit, Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 (4GB)

Related Links:

Sony PlayStation4 Shantae: 1/2 Genie Hero Windows Yesterday Origins

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated