In The Walking Dead, walkers shamble about in a clumsy manner, only really being interesting when they’re killing someone or someone is killing them. This, unfortunately, is a fitting description for the newest episode in Telltale’s The Walking Dead A New Frontier. While it certainly has its bright spots, the newest episode doesn’t perform to the same level as the first two episodes for this season.
As a disclaimer: this review will involve spoilers to some extent for the sake of the review, so read at your own risk.
Above the Law kicks off from the surprise ending of episode two where you and your crew, wounded and in need of help, come to the door of the antagonistic New Frontier where it is revealed your brother David is not only alive but in a seat of power with the group who had attacked you in the first place. From that point forward, the episode, while interesting overall, falls off in terms of interest and development.
Episode three feels a lot more like it was filling in blanks than drawing a route forward. Over the course of the roughly two-hour episode, you find out about Clementine and her past with the New Frontier, where your brother has been, some info on and issues with The New Frontier, and it sets up the next episode. Other than that, there unfortunately isn’t much else.
Above the Law is also extremely lacking in terms of freedom to move around and explore locations. While it helps move the pace forward, the episode jumping from scene to scene the way it does emphasizes the feel that this episode is just meant to get us to the next big thing. The episode does succeed in the area of tension building, specifically as an outsider entering enemy territory, also depending on your relationship with Kate, your brother’s wife, there can certainly be another point of drama within the story.
When it comes to major decisions, Above the Law also falls short here as well. Over the course of the episode only two decisions really feel important and there is one choice in particular that is little more than choosing the color of the picture so to speak. The episode is not all bad, specific bright spots include Tripp showing his more human side, the moments with Kate and Gabe, and a few others. Another thing worth mentioning is the new characters introduced in the episode, specifically the other leaders of the New Frontier who are nicely varied and standout particularly when they interview you. However, they do not save Above the Law from feeling like the place between point A and point B.
From a technical standpoint, there are also unfortunately a few noteworthy trip ups here as well. Character models seem notably stiffer and there several facial animation glitches throughout the episode. Alongside that are a few texture pop ins and some notably low res textures lying around.
The action scenes included in this episode however are grizzly and visceral, which does help make up for the somewhat lackluster minutia. Voice acting is still as solid as it was before with a particularly standout performance throughout the entire episode from Alex Hernandez as Javi’s brother David. New additions to the episode include Jayne Taini as the motherly but unsettling Joan, Andrew Heyl as the cold and direct Clint, and Yuri Lowenthal as the creepy Paul Lingard.
Overall, while not bad by any means, episode three of The Walking Dead: A New Frontier is a slight miss step that feel more like episode two-point-five rather than three. Most of the episode is to fill in information and set up plot for the future which gives this episode very little pay off alongside the lack of many choices that feel important. Technically the episode is rough, feeling like it needed another coat of paint before being left out to dry. At the end of the day I can’t fully recommend episode three as an immediate buy unless you just can’t wait for more Walking Dead.