The Walking Dead: A New Frontier - Episode 2: Ties That Bind Part II (PC) Review

By Renan Fontes 26.12.2016

Review for The Walking Dead: A New Frontier - Episode 2: Ties That Bind Part II on PC

Splitting Ties That Bind was perhaps a poor move on Telltale's part. One of Episode 1's biggest problems was the lack of development for Javi and Clem's overall diminished presence from seasons one and two, but it's entirely possible that Part II remedies these issues thanks to it picking off immediately where Part I left off and serves more of a continuation than a full out new episode. With that in mind, however, is the two-episode split justified or is it just a cheap way of filling four episodes' worth of story into a five-episode season?

One of Episode 2's biggest problems is that it's simultaneously the second episode in a season, and the second half of Episode 1. Much like that, Part II opens with a flashback to Javi's family life pre-outbreak. It's a short, simple scene with minimal impact, but the moment of brevity after the hectic ending just gone is much appreciated. Unfortunately, the opening flashback ends up being the only scene that's actually benefited by the episode split. If the two were released as one, the opening to Part II would feel completely out of place and forced in, but every other scene would have flowed in and out of each other quite naturally. The story doesn't jump ahead in time, and the episode remains wholly consistent with the themes laid out already.

Lengthwise, the two collectively only make up about two and a half hours of content, give or take - around the same game time that previous episodes of The Walking Dead clocked out at. What's all the more disappointing is that Episode 2 is a noticeable improvement and fixes everything that went wrong with Javi and Clem in the first section. Javier gets the development he needed to stand out as his own defined character, and Clem's presence as an outside force feels genuinely justified. It's great that Part II swiftly turns Part I's problems around, but if they had just been combined into one episode there would be no problems to speak of.

Screenshot for The Walking Dead: A New Frontier - Episode 2: Ties That Bind Part II on PC

Ties That Bind Part II, while an improvement in many ways, isn't entirely without fault outside of the episode split. Telltale once again brings in pre-established characters from the canon - a problem that plagued Telltale's take on Game of Thrones - this time in the form of Paul Monroe, also known as Jesus. Brandon Keener does a great job as Jesus, bringing plenty of life to the role, and he's written generally consistent with his comic portrayal, but his mere presence brings any and all tension to a screeching halt. It's clear at this point that Telltale's interpretation of The Walking Dead takes place in its own continuity, but it clearly has no desire to contradict any of the comic's canon if it can avoid it. The problem isn't nearly as prevalent as it was in Game of Thrones since Jesus, admittedly, doesn't play an enormous part in the episode, but he's still present enough where it does remain a problem.

A New Frontier, so far, has been strange in terms of quality. Episode 1s problems were so quickly squashed in Episode 2, but the split feels nothing more than a way to milk five episodes out of a story that must not allow for five full episodes. By separating what is effectively the opening of the season in two, players are left with two rocky halves instead of one solid, if still problematic, whole.

Screenshot for The Walking Dead: A New Frontier - Episode 2: Ties That Bind Part II on PC

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Ties That Bind Part II is a step up from the first episode in terms of writing quality, but the decision to actually split what is effectively the opening of the season into two feels thoughtless and, ultimately, pointless. There's nothing to be gained from dividing Ties That Bind in half, except for saving Telltale the effort of creating five complete chapters. It's a genuine shame, too, because when Part II is good, it's reminiscent of Telltale at its best. The episode isn't without other faults, as Telltale once again relies on pre-established characters that kill any sense of tension, but there's enough promise and potential to warrant A New Frontier not being written off quite yet.

Developer

Telltale

Publisher

Telltale

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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