The Walking Dead: A New Frontier - Episode 5: From the Gallows (PC) Review

By Renan Fontes 25.01.2019

Review for The Walking Dead: A New Frontier - Episode 5: From the Gallows on PC

For as rocky as A New Frontier's first three episodes were, they did manage to culminate in the comparatively strong fourth episode, Thicker Than Water. Putting a considerable amount of focus on the relationship between Javi and David, raising the stakes enough where the finale would have to actively challenge both Javi and Clem, and giving the cast as much development as possible in an hour and a half, the foundation has been laid for a worthwhile finale. Does From the Gallows live up to Episode 4's promise, or does season three burn out by falling back into old habits?

Over the course of its five episode run, flashbacks became a core part of A New Frontier's identity. Given how disjointed Javi and Clem are from one another, these flashbacks are almost necessary in order for players to understand where both characters are coming from and what their motivations are. Like every episode before it, From the Gallows opens with a flashback developing Javi's relationship with David. While it would always be preferable to see these developments in the story proper, flashing back can be a useful literary tool if used appropriately. Seeing life before the outbreak is likewise a nice reminder that The Walking Dead is a world rooted in reality.

When the flashback ends, the story picks back up, playing off the drama that the previous episode left off on. On text, Episode 5 is progressing rather naturally as a follow up to Episode 4. Characters are beginning to find themselves town apart and the theme of family the season has spent so much time developing in challenged via the ever growing relationship between Javi and David. Everything progresses as it would seem it should, which is ultimately the problem with From the Gallows and A New Frontier as a whole: this is not a story that could be told in four episodes. While season three does have five, its opening was split between two parts, which has unfortunately come back to haunt the entire seasons.

Characters are not where they should be for the finale; the themes aren't as developed as they need to be for the finale - and the events of the finale do not reflect a finale. They are a logical continuation of Episode 4's story in that these should be the next sequence of events leading up to the end. While arcs do come to a close, they don't reach them as smoothly as they could or would have with another episode. Whatever happens to Kate, Gabe, or David doesn't really matter in the long run because their characters didn't hit all the story beats they should have to give them satisfactory arcs before potentially dying.

Screenshot for The Walking Dead: A New Frontier - Episode 5: From the Gallows on PC

The plot moves at a ridiculous pace, refusing to slow down and revel in the episode's finality. Compare this to the conclusion to season one where Lee effectively found himself in an introspective race against the clock, desperately trying to reach Clem before succumbing to his wounds. The first season's finale understood what it meant to end a story, and centered its focus appropriately. From the Gallows, on the other hand, continues A New Frontier's trend of having absolutely no idea what to do with its cast or plot. Javi and Clem are yet again torn apart with the plot following Javi, but clearly wanting to tell Clem's story. The finale finds itself divided, unable to pick a lane.

As a result, plot threads begin to rip apart at the seams with neither character ending up with a satisfying conclusion. No matter what happens, it seems as though Telltale was more focused with setting up a next season than capping off Javi's and Clem's story arcs. This is immensely disappointing considering how conceptually sound the idea of a soft reboot could have been. If done right, A New Frontier could have marked a breath of fresh air for The Walking Dead, but it refused to let go of the past, revelling in Clementine's story whenever possible without actually committing itself to her arc of plot.

As if to add insult to injury, Episode 5 features the least amount of gameplay present in the entire season, but without an adequate story to make up for it. Jesus returns as well, killing a fair amount of tension just so fans of the comic can appreciate a little cameo. It was charming with Glenn in the first season, but now it's just grating and tone deaf. From the Gallows does not feel like a finale, leaving both Javi and Clem in spots where there arcs haven't so much concluded as they have stopped until they appear again. Coming off both seasons one and two, it's disappointing to see the third season fall so hard. A New Frontier inevitably ended up little more than an inconsistent disappointment.

Screenshot for The Walking Dead: A New Frontier - Episode 5: From the Gallows on PC

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Despite a fairly strong lead in from Thicker Than Water, Episode 5: From the Gallows is unable to craft a wholly satisfying conclusion to A New Frontier's story. In many respects, this finale is exemplary of Telltale at its absolute worst: uneven character focus, forced cameos, rushed pacing, meaningless choices, and uninspired plotting. Although A New Frontier comes out thematically cohesive, that means little when the final product found itself unable to fully develop its cast before the finale while also refusing to commit to either Javi or Clem as the protagonist. As From the Gallows comes to a close, it feels as it season three still had more story to tell.

Developer

Telltale

Publisher

Telltale

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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