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The Walking Dead: A New Frontier – Episode 5: From the Gallows Review

Since its initial release in 2012, I have been completely in love with the world that Telltale Games created in their Walking Dead series.

The way that players connect emotionally with characters, feeling as though those characters are a real part of their lives, is something that I personally have never seen done by anyone else – or at least not as successfully. When Telltale announced that it would be continuing the story of Clementine, the protagonist from The Walking Dead seasons one and two in a third season, I was unbelievably excited to be able to walk in the shoes of one of the most well-written characters I’ve ever had to pleasure to play once more.

Telltale’s The Walking Dead Season Three: A New Frontier has reached its final episode, From the Gallows, and it’s just as well written, action packed, and emotionally harrowing as each episode before it. In From the Gallows you start right where episode four left off. Javi and David are dealing with the aftermath of their “meeting” with the Richmond leaders, and from there they, with Clementine, Kate, and Gabe included, have to decide whether or not to stay or go. It’ll be up to you to decide once and for all who is worth saving and who is worth sacrificing.

What Telltale does best by far is storytelling, and the characterisation and dialogue in From the Gallows is done just as well, if not better, than every previous episode. Sometimes in previous titles, dialogue could feel stiff and stilted, but this episode every exchange between characters felt very real. Having to decide between four dialogue choices has never been harder – especially when that choice could lead someone to stop trusting you, or worse, completely leave you and your group altogether. The talented voice cast for this series have outdone themselves and performed each line of dialogue with a fantastic effort.

That being said, some of those tough choices you have to make when deciding what to say to other characters did fall short in places. I found myself deciding to stay silent rather than choosing a dialogue option, because none of the choices felt like what I wanted to say. This isn’t an exact example but the choices might be something like “Stay with us,” “Please don’t go,” or “Fine, go we don’t need you anyway,” and of course the option to stay silent. The first two are very similar choices and then the last is on the complete opposite spectrum. There were many occasions where there seemed no middle ground, so I felt it best to go silent much to my dismay.

Normally in Telltale Games there’s a slew of glitches and lagging that people come across and it has frustrated me to no end that it never seemed like anyone was trying to fix these issues. I am incredibly happy to say that there was not one notable moment of lagging or glitching in this final episode, and I can’t recall any other instances that were as intense as some of the scenes in From the Gallows. The combat is fluid, the quick-time events are smooth, and everything looks like a well-polished final product rather than a first draft. This definitely shows how far Telltale Games has come in only a few years, and if The Walking Dead: A New Frontier is a look at what is to come, then we’ve got a lot to look forward to.

What really makes From the Gallows stand out as one of the better episodes this season though, is that in and among all the action and drama, there are some really touching moments of laughter and love. Sometimes it seems hard for The Walking Dead to balance between serious and heartfelt, but A New Frontier’s season finale had a great amount of both. From simple small talk between the characters, to flashbacks with Javier and his father, we get a few moments to really appreciate who the characters we’ve followed over the last several months really are. There are no slow moments in From the Gallows, but there are small breaths of fresh air before having to deal once again with the horrors lurking around every corner.

Upon finishing the final episode of season 3, you’re given a chance to look back on all the choices that you’ve made throughout the season. It’s a great way to recap the differences each decision actually made; you’re able to see who died and who lived and why, as well as how everybody felt about your character in the end. Seeing exactly how your choices do make a difference is a great touch, and it’s a great encouragement to play through the seasons again to see those different choices play out.

It’ll probably be a long while before we hear any announcements about season 4 of Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead series, but as the end of the credits assures “Clementine’s story will continue…”, I for one cannot wait to see where this story goes. A New Frontier has been a fantastic continuation of Telltale’s fantastic recreation of the Walking Dead universe, and this final episode has been worth the wait. Pick up The Walking Dead: A New Frontier’s season pass to play each episode for yourself and, as always, remember that people in The Walking Dead universe are way scarier than walkers.

The Walking Dead: A New Frontier is available on PC, Xbox One and PS4. We reviewed the PC version.

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