Game review: The Walking Dead: A New Frontier is full of the same old zombie clichés

The latest instalment in The Walking Dead game franchise is a gore bore, mired in the been-there, done-that horror, blood and torture staples of the zombie package

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 January, 2017, 8:02am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 January, 2017, 8:02am

The Walking Dead: A New Frontier

Telltale Games

2.5 stars

I’ve all but given up on The Walking Dead TV show. As a big zombie fan, I’ve sat through seven years of it, only to be served the same formula every season: survivors find shelter, hammy bad guy threatens existence, massive battle ensues, zombies break through and overrun, survivors flee to new shelter.

This lack of creativity isn’t limited to the small screen – it has knock-on effects, as seen in this A New Frontier spin-off game (for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Android, and iOS).

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Developer Telltale’s first two “seasons” weren’t exactly exceptional, but they offered story-based entertainment sorely lacking within that period of games. The influence rubbed off, though, and the past few years of video gaming have witnessed something of a narrative renaissance. So as the innovator, the trendsetter, how do you top that? You don’t. You just load things up with the same-old, toss in some flashbacks and riddle it all with zombie clichés.

Players take on a character named Javier, who lives with his family in a wasteland infested by the living dead, and the only “gameplay” (if you could call it that) is narrative choices and the occasional hackneyed action scene.

Despite following a new group of survivors who could theoretically take whatever path its writers wanted, the storyline once again resorts to the tried-and-tested formula outlined above, complete with all the horror, gore and torture that’s part of the zombie package.

It’s as boring as it sounds. And although this review only refers to the first two episodes of the new release, because that’s all that’s been released, we don’t expect many improvements.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ll probably finish playing the rest of the game. Despite my disgust, I’ll most likely stick through the rest of The Walking Dead TV show, forever groaning as new havens are found, new evil dudes appear and new characters are killed off.

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That’s zombies for you, and that’s ultimately what people want: comfort and familiarity. If you dig all that, by all means, keep watching and keep playing.