The Walking Dead: Season Three

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Genre: Action/Adventure
Developer: Telltale Games
Release Date: Dec. 20, 2016

About Brian Dumlao

After spending several years doing QA for games, I took the next logical step: critiquing them. Even though the Xbox One is my preferred weapon of choice, I'll play and review just about any game from any genre on any system.


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PC Review - 'The Walking Dead: A New Frontier' Episode 5 - From The Gallows

by Brian Dumlao on May 31, 2017 @ 2:00 a.m. PDT

The Walking Dead: Season Three continues the story a group of zombie apocalypse survivors, seeking safety in a world gone mad.

Buy The Walking Dead: A New Frontier

If you're a fan of either the graphic novel, the TV series, or the previous Telltale Games for The Walking Dead, you should know by now that the finales for major story arcs always place the protagonists in a major calamity. The final episode for A New Frontier continues with that tradition, as Richmond has fallen into complete chaos. Plenty of major characters have died, the makeshift government of The New Frontier is in shambles, and the town of Richmond has is overrun with walkers. It doesn't help that, compared to before, this third season started off with promise but has fallen into a predictable enough pattern that what was once novel and exciting seems repetitive and boring instead, and a few characters have become major pests. The hope is that this finale turns things around and ends things on a better note. For the most part, that's what happens in the fifth episode, From the Gallows.

Like previous episodes, this one starts off with a flashback to happier times. You have Javi, David, and their father playing a game of dominoes, a game that Javi always loses. As he goes to get his father's wallet to pay for the loss, the brothers discover that their father has cancer and refused treatment because he saw it as a useless expense anyway. No matter what your decision is, you'll eventually be asked by your father to make sure that you help your brother in any way you can and always try to keep the familial relationship intact. Once the flashback ends, you're back to the present and trying to round up who you can while retreating to the hotel to plan your next move against the zombie hordes. Ultimately, that means saving the city.

The big knock against From the Gallows is how some of the characters seem to react irrationally toward the decisions made in the last episode. No matter what you did, the reasoning that has been a hallmark of their personality has gone out the window, and they now blame you for the calamity. That change seems to be done to generate conflict, but it also makes you fear for the worst as far as where the episode goes. Luckily, that lapse in character judgment doesn't last too long, since the characters involved don't get any screen time afterward.

Beyond that, the episode's real strength comes from the exploration of characters more than the action. Just about everyone in the family and Clem will open up to you one way or another, and your choices do a great job of exploring as many of those aspects as possible. Gabe admitting that he looks to you as his real father figure and David admitting again that he needs help in being the father and husband he never was are two of the big moments delivered in this episode. Other smaller moments offer up a side of human nature that isn't just angst and anger. The David scene is a bigger accomplishment, since the game seemed to be steering toward him being an abusive jerk with no qualms about being violent with his family. The fact that they didn't use this as an easy way to characterize him is certainly noteworthy.

It wouldn't be The Walking Dead if major characters didn't experience some misfortune, and that certainly happens here. Some of the deaths are sudden, and some try to tug at the heartstrings, but you'll lose a great deal of people by the end. Still, it steers clear of both the TV series and previous games by giving you something of a good ending, and people find their appropriate places. That glimmer of hope is enough to counteract all of the grim things that series fans were subjected to. That ending feels earned, and while it may be enough to satisfy an initial playthrough, the result of the various relationships you've had with the rest of the cast and each of their ratings may be enough to prompt you to give things another go so you can see if you can alter events, for better or worse.

Compared to the earlier entries, The Walking Dead: A New Frontier wasn't the best season. There were more than enough characters who were unsympathetic, and some of the recycled plot devices didn't do anything to wipe away that sense of déjà vu. The final episode, From the Gallows, brought a satisfying emotional resolution to earlier actions and events, and the end report listing the overall relationship outcomes between Javi and all of the major characters made you feel like there was actually some agency in a Telltale title, even if that doesn't really occur. Though uneven, this turned out to be a good season if you were willing to stick with it.

Score: 8.0/10

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