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Review: The Walking Dead: A New Frontier - Episode 5: From the Gallows (Xbox One)By Joe DeAndrea At 16.06.2017 01:48

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Throughout the four episodes thus far, there's been this hearty presence of ties, bonds, and relationships through family. There's no doubt that the character development is on point - at least as far as the main cast goes. Between interactions during present day and flashbacks, to witnessing how these interactions alter when faced with adversity, the player gets a true sense of main character Javi and his family, and it's ultimately why there's a lot to praise about this season in general. However, the season's pacing slowed to a zombie-speed crawl during times when there was too much focus on dialogue that didn't actually go anywhere plot wise, or side characters that weren't as fleshed out as they needed to be. With the finale, From the Gallows, it does everything it needs to in order to bring the season to a close, and luckily it does so in a satisfying The Walking Dead fashion.

What From the Gallows succeeds in the most is by simply staying true to itself. With the perfect mix of dialogue, action, and decision-making, there isn't one aspect that overshadows the other for once - it's not an endless bullet-spray slugfest, nor is it a sappy melodramatic soap opera with cliché relationship conclusions. It's smartly put together while mixing drama and emotions, and it makes one wonder why that couldn't have been implemented as well in other episodes in the past.

Even though the decisions being made don't really change the track of the overall story, they do provide an additional connection that hasn't been in Telltale's Walking Dead series like ever before. For example, a decision in a previous season could make the player at least feel like they're making an impact on the plot. Now, decisions make the player feel like they're making an impact on the character, and that drastic shift is impressive in its own right. Despite disappointment from conversations and choices in prior episodes that ended up not amounting to anything at first, the call-backs and references during the finale made it clear the game was paying attention. As the credits begin to roll, it's impossible to become too hung up on technical problems or specific episode miscues when the way they wrap it all up is well worth the price of admission.

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[i]A New Frontier[/i] doesn't just refer to a part in the story - it works just as well as a metaphor to what the season eventually settles into. Coming into these five episodes, it was hard to imagine that it could live up to the quality that the first two seasons dished out, but it ends up as something far more ambitious and special than anyone would have imagined. Telltale could have easily phoned it in with a season chock full of predictability based on what made those first two seasons such a success, but their decision to hand lead role duties to an entirely new face, introduce a whole slew of characters, and make the concept of family become a driving force in all aspects sets it apart from its predecessors. As a result, the development of Javi and growth we get to witness in Clementine makes it the finest offering in Telltale's catalogue, even with its missteps and downsides. The best part? [i]From the Gallows[/i] leaves the door wide open for an even better - and hopefully issue-free - season four.



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