The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series - A New Frontier Episode 4: Thicker Than Water - PS4 Review

If last episode was one step forward, this one was unfortunately one or two steps back. The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series - A New Frontier Episode 4: Thicker Than Water is a solid enough offering, with its usual assortment of quality voice actors and gut wrenching moments. That being said, some of the characters wore thin on me really quickly in this particular chapter, and once again it is Clementine to the rescue.

I don't mean in the literal sense (well, not completely at least), but Clementine's backstory served as the single most redeemable character arc in all of this. Javi comes in second, but it's a distant second and I give no one else a third place finish.

The biggest issue is that most of the characters are just unreliable at best, and dangerous to everyone else and themselves at worst. A few of these conflicts I saw coming - there was no way that prior choices were not going to come back and haunt certain characters, but the way in which most of them played out left me disappointed. Perhaps none worse than a conflict in an apartment where a couple of people turned alliance very quickly, and in a manner that lacks common sense or decency.

Also, in my last chapter, I commented on Gabe. The desire to smack him upside of the head has grown exponentially. I know he's family, but good lord he would be testing any uncle's patience. Some familiar trends to the perpetually dark Walking Dead games showed up in force here with a series of no-win situations. Several of these 'damned if I do and damned if I don't' scenarios were presented. While I have no issue with those situations as a rule, a couple of them felt a bit rushed, and that is perhaps the biggest failing of Thicker Than Water - the way people acted.

I get that this 'end of the world' scenario brings out the worst in people - that's a heavy theme in all of these games as well as the comics and the television show. The voice actors are doing a good job of delivering their lines, but so much of the dialog just let me scratching my head. Last episode, one of the members of my team suddenly turned against me and everyone else because he learned something he did not like. I thought it was rushed and the results seemed out of character for both him and the overall situation. That oddity is then compounded in this chapter as Javi is forced to choose a terrible fate for him or another person. I went with trying to protect the other person since they had so far never let me down.

So all of a sudden, the same guy who turned on me the night before was now yelling at Javi and calling him a backstabber. The entire thing just felt forced and rough around the edges. Another situation arises with Javi's brother David, who so far has made it sound like protecting his family is first and foremost. I managed to negotiate safety for them and then David acts out rashly and pretty much guarantees that at least one or two of them are going to get killed in the ensuing scuffle as things go to hell.

Thankfully the sections featuring Clementine and her flashbacks hold up considerably better, and unfortunately show one of the greatest weaknesses of the entire A New Frontier series so far. Basically, this series is at its best when we are focused on Clementine. I like Javi well enough, but most of the other characters so far just kind of suck and a small part of me finds myself hoping that most of them die anyways. Of course, I'm trying to make decisions roleplaying situations the way Javi - the family-first guy that he is - likely would, but things just don't quite line up as smoothly as they have in the past.

This fourth episode is not bad, despite my above complaints. Javi is still likable, Clementine is still the best thing going for this series and she carries it through weaker points, and the note that things left off on certainly has me curious to see where the next episode takes us. The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series - A New Frontier Episode 4: Thicker Than Water is however, my least-favorite of the chapters so far, and that is largely due to how certain characters and their motivations play out.

Game Information

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

Provided by Publisher

Article by Nick


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