The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series - A New Frontier Episode 3: Above the Law - PS4 Review

Out of the initial three episodes in this new series, Above the Law was easily my favorite. It is a much meatier installment, both in terms of episode length and the types of challenges Javi will face. The first couple of chapters left me somewhat uncertain, but now? After Above the Law I am ready for more.

If you read my review of the first chapter, you get an idea on where I stood with the A New Frontier initially. Both episodes felt short - almost like one slightly longer-than-average episode that was cut in half. The end result was some nice continuity between sections, but the characters really did not resonate with me very well initially and the choices I made felt incredibly superficial.

Fast forward to Above the Law, and we still have the same incredible voice acting, but we've come to find more of what we expect from this series. It is dark, oppressive stuff. For better or for worse, this is what fans of The Walking Dead have come to expect from the comics/show/games. I will admit that my personal preferences lean towards the games with some humor (like Tales From the Borderlands - still my favorite Telltales Games title), but I can deal with a heavy dose of angst too.

I am a bit more of a mixed bag on the characters. While Javi is your primary character, you do get flashbacks with Clementine, which are incredibly welcome. When I first stumbled onto our primary protagonist from the second season, I found myself wondering how she had come to reach this point. Through these flashbacks, you start to understand now - it fills in the blanks and does so very well. Beyond Clementine, I find myself growing more fond of Javi now as well. Perhaps just because I am myself more like him than either Lee or Clementine in the past, it creates a bit of relatable behavior that doesn't resonate with everyone. However, I find myself sympathizing with him as he does whatever he can to keep his family together.

And like true family, some members are more likable than others. I'll admit, I want to smack Game in the game, and I suspect he's only going to gnaw at my nerves more over the coming episodes. Yes, he is a hormonal teenager, yes he has some lack-of-daddy issues and yes, he is petulant as many teens can be. I have three kids ages 21, 18 and 16. Believe me, I get it. And maybe that is the key - because family is family. You don't choose them, you don't always like one another, but the world is ending so what else do they have but one another? So, I'm holding out hope that my fondness for Javi and Clementine will carry over to a cast of characters that are still a bit hit and miss for me.

However, this is still a very on-rails experience. I felt as though my choices actually carried a bit more weight this time (even though I realize it's largely an illusion by now. The storytelling wizards at Telltale Games have a basic endpoint in mind, and while there might be slight fluctuations along the way, you still have to fall into line here and there to reach that point), the episode is still largely on rails. Now don't get me wrong - I'm not a fan of wandering about and wasting my time either, but some more opportunities to interact with the characters would have been nice - and perhaps helped me to warm up to them better.

Taking all of the good and the bad together and rolling them into one, I came away far more satisfied with the third episode (which I am admittedly a little late getting to, as it slipped under my radar during a very busy point) than I was with its two predecessors. It could stand to be longer, but there is some traction being gained here with both the stories and the characters that had me ready to fire up the fourth chapter immediately. It's a good sign that Above the Law was able to get me more invested.

Game Information

PlayStation 4
Telltale Games
Telltale Games
Single Player
Other Platform(s):
Xbox One

Provided by Publisher

Article by Nick