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

Score: 95%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure/ Action/ Survival Horror

Graphics & Sound:

The Walking Dead: A New Frontier: Episode 1 – Ties That Bind: Part 1 more or less continues the graphical prowess of all its predecessors, including the original two seasons and all of the spin-offs. The art style follows that of a graphic novel, with stylish visuals offset with dark, sketchy looking lines to define features and add texture detail. The animation is generally pretty good as well, and at times looks to be a step up from some previous series. There are times, however, where instead of motion capture data, it appears to be keyframed, making it unfortunately distinguishable.

Something that should be noted for fans of the Telltale Games’ Walking Dead series, Episode 1 – Ties That Bind: Part 1 adds to the visuals in a number of ways. As mentioned, the animation often feels improved. The textures and materials also feel improved upon, with both characters and environments having standout moments. One of the most noticeable improvements is the use of the camera and focal points. As the camera transitions to its center of interest, the other elements defocus and really enhance what the director wants you to key on.


The Walking Dead: A New Frontier: Episode 1 – Ties That Bind: Part 1 is the next great entry into the Walking Dead series by Telltale Games. Here we find the return of a staple character in what essentially is "Season 3" (although there is no need to have played the originals to jump right in). If you haven’t played the original Season 1 Telltale story, it starred a playable hero named Lee who happens upon a very young Clementine, and Lee took her under his wing throughout the original five episodes. In Season 2, we find a playable, slightly older Clementine as our heroine. Her adventures end with the young girl last seen in the distance, and mesmerized players, wondering what Clem’s future may hold.

Fast-forward to this outing, where The Walking Dead: A New Frontier: Episode 1 – Ties That Bind: Part 1 centers on a newly-introduced character that is in the middle of a family crisis amidst what appears to be the start of the zombie apocalypse. What is essentially a continuation from the second entry in the Walking Dead series, Episode 1 – Ties That Bind: Part 1 gives players a chance to control Javier. We see him running to reach his dying father, only to find out he is too late. He and his brother, David, get into it and we get a glimpse of their relationship. We also find out that David’s wife, Kate, is not happy and has an opportunity to make a play on Javier.

We soon find ourselves following Javier, along with David’s wife Kate, and their two kids as they flee from a giant herd of walkers. In a mix-up while searching for fuel and food, the group is separated and Javier find himself in a pickle, fearing the end is near. This is where we once again meet up with fan-favorite, Clementine. She has grown a bit – now in what appears to be her early teenage years – but this loner has been through a lot since we last left her.

Clementine is a bit more grown up physically, but certainly has matured far past her age in terms of emotional ties. It is hard to believe the change to our little girl, but it is great to finally know her fate is still in our hands. It is up to Javier to decide how the two will roll while attempting to recover his lost family, and it is time for us to get a bit more backstory for both of them.


The Walking Dead: A New Frontier: Episode 1 – Ties That Bind: Part 1 is not a difficult game by any means. Anyone can pick up and play this game (and the entire Walking Dead franchise, for that matter). The controls are limited and the responses required have plenty of time for players to react. With a dialogue-centric interface, the most difficult thing is to make decisions that will influence future interactions and the story as a whole.

That said, it should be noted that not making a decision actually counts as if you remained silent, and non-playable characters will still remember that response. Since the game focuses on dialogue interactions as a means of progressing a semi-custom story, this can potentially make a difference. However, in most cases, the decisions that are made (or omitted) only slightly modify the dialogue contained within and the story itself still progresses in a nearly linear fashion. That said, for those unaware, keep in mind that there are always a few key decisions that will impact future episodes as well.

Game Mechanics:

Like its predecessors, The Walking Dead: A New Frontier: Episode 1 – Ties That Bind: Part 1 implements very basic controls and centers around an interactive movie style interface. You’ll control Javier in certain limited environments, but mostly the controls involve dialogue choices that can affect the outcome of the series. In addition, there are quick time moments that involve simple button presses to dispatch zombies or other opponents of Javier.

Finally knowing the fate of Clem is back in our hands is a comforting feeling, and for those of us who have played her prior outings, it is a welcome surprise. At the beginning of the episode, before any additional story is played, players are allowed to input their choices from these previous episodes to help with a continued and fluid storyline. Don’t worry if you haven’t played them, however. All players have the option of these inputs or to simply start a new storyline, meaning that there are no prerequisites to starting Episode 1 – Ties That Bind: Part 1. This is a very good addition to the overall The Walking Dead franchise, and definitely worth a play.

-Woody, GameVortex Communications
AKA Shane Wodele

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