The Walking Dead: A New Frontier - Episode 4: Thicker Than Water (PlayStation 4) Review

By Drew Hurley 05.06.2017 1

Review for The Walking Dead: A New Frontier - Episode 4: Thicker Than Water on PlayStation 4

The previous episode in this season was a significant step down in quality, both narratively and technically, compared to the first two. It's a common issue with the midway episodes of Telltale games. The transitionary episode always seems to be problematic, but this was horrible, plagued with freezes and glitches that ruined the immersion of the experience and marred the overall quality. That's on top of some cluttered storytelling and predictable story developments. Hopefully, this is not indicative of what is left to come with Javi's story.

As with all our episodic reviews, there are spoilers throughout for previous episodes! Reader beware!

With the conclusion of episode three, the truth of The New Frontier has come to light. Ignoring the cluster-fudge from the middle of the episode, and extracting out just the pertinent plot points: the seemingly cordially dear, old Joan has actually been secretly leading raids on other outposts, releasing walkers into helpless civilians and taking every last scrap they had gathered up. Trying to bring this to the people of Richmond doesn't go over particularly well either, as it seems Joan has a strong hold on the populous and Team Javi ends up either imprisoned or in hiding, scattered through Richmond.

There's a more coherent and enjoyable narrative making a welcomed return with this episode. Finally, all of the pieces of the story are beginning to come together in preparation for the finale. There are an awful lot of pieces, though, which means ultimately many of the elements get trimmed down and cut short. Clem pops in for the briefest cameo. Evil villain Joan gets little screen time and the extended members of the cast all feel quite unnecessary at points. Did Tripp really need a scene where he talks about his feelings?

Screenshot for The Walking Dead: A New Frontier - Episode 4: Thicker Than Water on PlayStation 4

The flashbacks of this episode are a mixed bag, too. Clem's feel quite unnecessary, a strange development considering how great they've been thus far. Javi's, meanwhile, gives further insight into his relationship with his brother - some welcomed insight, in fact, glimpsing an older brother threatened by his little brother's talent, success and fame, showing a little brother who was often arrogant and flaky. The characters have been one of the best aspects of this season. Not the supporting cast… Oh, god, no… Those have been a pile of predictable one-dimensional personalities. The main cast, though: Javi and David, Kate and Clem. Even the annoying little bag of angst and hormones that is Gabe. Well developed, well voiced and well written, they add a lot to the quality here.

That quality is needed here on another episode that has abundant technical issues. The freezing and crashing from episode three returns, and they've brought friends! This time there are strange graphical bugs too; zombies glitching out through walls, strange pop-ins of objects as camera angles change, and more.

Screenshot for The Walking Dead: A New Frontier - Episode 4: Thicker Than Water on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Ignoring the graphical issues and the crashing, this is almost a return to form. The story gets back on track and is truly engaging, character development continues to excel, and the choices remain difficult. This is topped off with another superb cliff-hanger that delivers a sequence that will make players want to immediately go back and see the fallout from the other branching option, not to mention eager to get their hands on that final episode. If only it could be bug free...

Developer

Telltale

Publisher

Telltale

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

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   

Comments

The fact Telltale still puts out buggy trash (engine-wise) is incredible.

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