- Platforms: Xbox One, PC, PS4 (Reviewed)
- Developer: Telltale Games
- Publisher: Telltale Games
- Release Date: April 25th, 2017
This review contains spoilers from previous episodes of The Walking Dead: A New Frontier
Telltale series usually have a trend of peaks and valleys, almost cycling between fast-paced and sluggish. With The Walking Dead: A New Frontier‘s third episode, Above The Law, plodding along at a slow pace, one would anticipate that things would pick up in Thicker Than Water. While this isn’t entirely the case, the fourth episode of A New Frontier sees past decisions come back to bite Javi and the group, gaining momentum in the latter half of the episode.
The third episode left off with quite a cliffhanger ending, as Javi’s short-fused brother David pulled a gun on the other leaders of the New Frontier, leaving us with the sound of gunshots. Rather than jump straight back into the action, Thicker Than Water opens with a flashback giving more insight on the Garcia brothers’ relationship. Javi and David hit up the batting cages, and David opens up about deciding to return to the army, leaving Javi to help look after Kate and the kids. During the brief flashback you get glimpses of how opposite the brothers are, with David being the hothead with a serious demeanor, while Javi is a bit of a showboat who likes to clown around. It’s interesting to see how the events of the last few years have changed Javi, who has grown into David’s role since he took off and left his family behind.
Oddly enough the flashback doesn’t transition to the events right after the gunshots, instead skipping right to Javi and David being locked up. There’s brief mention of what exactly happened when David pulled the trigger, but it’s an odd choice for something like that to be glossed over like it was no big deal. Javi and David are quickly separated, and with a little help, Javi is able to escape his cell.
The Garcia brothers aren’t the only ones who received flashbacks this episode, as Clementine’s events prior to The New Frontier are further explained. Clem’s flashbacks eat up about an entire chapter, but they don’t reveal anything groundbreaking or fill in much of the gap in the timeline. There are some dialogue choices during the flashbacks that help shape Clementine’s current relationship with Ava, and you see how that plays out when the two encounter each other when Clem makes her return to the group.
Clem is reunited with Javi and the group while on a mission to get more details regarding baby AJ. During the last episode David gave Clementine a shred of hope that AJ overcame the sickness and was alive and well, and in Thicker Than Water they come one step closer to being reunited once again.
The majority of Thicker Than Water is spent tip-toeing around Richmond, scrounging for supplies and weapons to make your escape. There isn’t much player involvement during these sequences outside dialogue and the occasional quick time event consisting of one or two button sequences. This is pretty similar to what we saw with the last episode, Above The Law, but don’t worry, the action picks up towards the end.
The high point of Thicker Than Water is when all of the decisions made in prior episodes start to boil over in a few explosive moments. Caught in a pretty hopeless situation, members of the group and even Javi’s own flesh and blood begin to turn on him based on prior choices you’ve made. Moments like these have sort of fallen by the wayside in Telltale series as of late, and it’s nice to see decision-making actually make an impact to the story again.
The Walking Dead: A New Frontier‘s fourth episode ends on a high note, with yet another cliffhanger ending. It also leaves a ton of unanswered questions in regards to AJ’s whereabouts, what will become of the Garcia family love triangle, and what will become of the New Frontier. It almost seems like a little too much to pack into the game’s final episode, but Thicker Than Water sets up what should be an action-packed finale, and the jump start the series needs after two slow episodes.
A Playstation 4 review code for The Walking Dead: A New Frontier was provided by Telltale Games