The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series - A New Frontier Episode 5: From The Gallows - PS4 Review

The last episode in almost every Telltale Game winds up being the best in the series, but The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series - A New Frontier Episode 5: From The Gallows continues the trends we saw throughout the entire New Frontier series. For better or worse, this was a very consistent five episode arc that had very few highs or lows, and simply delivered a good but not great tale in the Walking Dead universe.

It is interesting to see such a consistent delivery from the Telltale Games team. Some of their titles are simply excellent throughout, but in truth most of the series they produce have some high peaks and some low valleys along the way. A New Frontier manages to generally avoid this, with brisk storytelling, some good characters and some grim scenarios that make you want to see how things play out. From the Gallows manages to encapsulate all of these characteristics in a final episode that has some really weighty moments, but very few genuine surprises.

Probably my favorite aspect of this series as a whole and this episode in particular has been the two primary characters - Javi and Clementine. The former is arguably the most relatable lead character for me in the series so far, while the latter has been with us in one capacity or another throughout the three primary seasons of The Walking Dead, so watching her evolution as a character has been really rewarding. Prior episodes let you control Clementine for short bursts of time as she talking through or recalled flashback moments, but this fifth and last episode puts us squarely in Javi's shoes throughout. I admit that I was hoping for at least one more Clementine-based flashback sequence, but the way the game ends, it is clearly setting is up for Clementine's next adventure, and I suspect everyone is going to be alright with that.

However, this last episode really is Javi's tale, and the primary conflict that has been simmering throughout this series has been his relationship with his brother. You could state that Javi's relationship with Kate is just as important, but in many ways it is a by-product of the brothers' tough love relationship. Where episode does really well is in offering some solid branching stories - I found it worthwhile to play it twice if only because of a near-end sequence and wanting to see how some different decisions really impacted what part of the story I saw. Moments like this really ratchet up the replay value of the games, which is great - but that tends to have an adverse impact on the Telltale Games, because when they are tasked with branching paths, the truth of the matter is the single playthrough becomes shorter as a result. I'll take the replay value personally, but I can see where those who want to commit to a specific series of events might feel a bit put out by the shorter episodes.

The episode length is also impacted by another design choice that I am personally just fine with, but I'm sure others are not. That is the freedom of movement and exploration versus linear storytelling. Earlier Telltale games offered several periods where you walk around, investigating every item in a scene, talking to every character and giving you a chance to fully immerse yourself in the scene. Oftentimes the developers turn these into pseudo-puzzle moments as well. This definitely adds length to the games, but I know that over the years I've found myself streamlining my gameplay into moving onto the next major story bits and my guess is there is a good percentage of others who have done the same. As a result, Telltale Games has made their last few releases a bit more 'on rails', rushing you from one big scene to another, which suits me just fine - these are the parts of the game I enjoy more than the exploratory ones, but as a result, that game time fat gets trimmed off and you wind up with a shorter play duration. It's a design choice that suits me well, but likely not everyone.

Getting back to the particulars of From the Gallows, I personally enjoyed that fact that there was a sense of relief at the end. This is The Walking Dead, so it's not all rainbows and puppies obviously - you get copious amounts of blood, death and conflict - but The Walking Dead can be almost oppressive to a fault at times. That's what you sign up for with a world like this, but I for one appreciated the fact that there were some silver linings in my story at the end. Certainly things did not work out perfectly, but I also did not come away with the feeling that all of my efforts went for naught because all but one or two characters were dead.

To wrap up this particular series, there was an interesting summary of your relationships and the outcomes of some of your choices that spanned beyond just this fifth and final episode, but does a nice job of pulling the different threads throughout the five chapters together in an effort to summarize the experience. Some of those summaries worked better than others, but it was a rather nice way to wrap up the experience, even if the end results did not always align with my perception of the relationships.

The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series - A New Frontier Episode 5: From The Gallows tells a good enough story, with likable leads in Clementine and Javi. Unfortunately the rest of the supporting cast was a bit more hit and miss throughout the series, and that trend continued right up into and through this last chapter. Some of the character decisions along the way were less convincing than others, with one or two of the scenes feeling outright forced, which is unfortunate. Still, on the whole A New Frontier delivered a quality narrative adventure game that sets up some interesting possibilities for its next inevitable chapter.

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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