After the strong start to the season that Telltale brought with episode one, expectations were high for episode two to perform on that same level.
Having wrapped up the shooting match with their assailants, everyone met back up at Prescott. Not long after the same band of thugs shows up to chase them out-of-town, and so began a stint on their own as they try to figure out what to do next. Their top priority: dealing with the aftermath and trying to get Kate the medical attention she needs. The attack tears some members of the group apart, while it strengthens the resolve of others, creating a believable dynamic.
Kate’s looming fate not only served to drive the group this episode, but it also provided a good bit of tension. Her conversations with Javier were meaningful and heartfelt, and everyone’s care for her seemed genuine. The character development the situation prompted in Gabriel was both real and well done, and it will be interesting to see where his story leads him through the rest of the season.
Javier’s flashback at the beginning did well to further establish his relationship with Kate. The playful tones from the first episode suddenly got more serious as the past was shown and it shed light on the kind of person David was, both as a brother and a husband, which brought some sense to the relationship the two shared through the season thus far.
On the flip side, Clem’s flashback near the end elaborated on the path her journey took her prior to the start of the season, taking place after a time skip. Her first introduction to the New Frontier furthers both her back story and leads into the final section of the episode.
The choices this time around stepped up their game and were very much driven by emotion instead of practicality. The impact they left emotionally was greater than those of the first episode and they were more difficult to make; I wavered a little bit with a few of them, weighing the choices and trying to imagine the outcomes that each might lead to not only in this episode, but down the road closer to the game’s conclusion as well. That speaks well to how they and the characters involved with them were designed; it was difficult to take sides without a second thought, which only served to suck me into the world they’ve created even more than I already had been.
The addition of characters from the television series was much appreciated. Jesus, the next to make that transition, was a fun companion despite how he became involved later in the New Frontier. The role he’ll play in the remaining episodes is as of yet unclear, but that mystery isn’t entirely unwelcome. It also made me wonder who else from the show might make an appearance, if any. The final bombshell that leads into the next episode is not something I was expecting, so it gets points for that. All too often the foreshadowing can be completely obvious, but it was subtle enough to not distract from the other events and made for a surprising end.
A minor annoyance for me, being a huge fan of zombies and zombie survival scenarios, was that everywhere they went they didn’t bother with practical things. After the shootout that wrapped up the first episode they left all the food and supplies in the van instead of taking them, things like that. This likely isn’t something that most people would care about, but it’s a glaring detail for anyone like me.
Overall the New Frontier was more of the same, a good continuation from the first episode of the season. The mechanics remained solid and despite what I’ve seen of other peoples’ experiences I wasn’t subjected to glitches of any kind. While the overall tone was more subdued and somber, the emotion still played a prominent role and it was incredibly easy to become immersed in the group’s journey. It didn’t quite stack up to the strong offering of the first episode, but it got pretty damn close. It served as a good kick off to the newly formed group’s journey and ended on a note that implied that things will explode in more ways than one in the next episode. It’s got me interested to see how this gets resolved – if it gets resolved.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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