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The Walking Dead: A New Frontier Episode 3 ” Above the Law” Review

With episodes 1 and 2 of Telltale’s The Walking Dead: A New Frontier ending on such a strong note with a fantastic cliffhanger, episode 3 “Above the Law” has plenty to work with and gets off to a good start. Javier and company make their way to a new settlement only to find that his long lost brother David is not only there, but is an important high ranking official within the New Frontier. Telltale does a great job of building David’s character to be mysterious and possibly not trust worthy. The episode starts with main protagonist Javier and the remnants of his family with new found friends Tripp and Jesus immediately being locked up in a holding cell without any clear sign that they will be released even though the guy in charge is his brother. From there, the usual dialog options prompt with little evidence to show that your choices will really change the way you and your brother get along. In fact, it seems no matter how you respond the facial expressions you get in return stay tense, and it is just a matter of time before Javier and David come to blows.

Telltale has done an excellent job with their use of fan favorite Clementine for this installment in the Walking Dead series. Even though she is not the main protagonist, she is a very strong support character and her involvement in the story moves it along quite nicely. She has issues with the New Frontier, which you learn about in a really smart and fun flashback, and more specifically David, Javier’s brother. She insists that you cannot trust him no matter how the scenario plays out. This keeps you constantly on the edge when it comes to fully trusting and interacting David even when it seems that you can, and seemingly should. Episode 3 also builds on the estranged relationship between Kate and David, and her desire to get away from him as soon as possible even after being separated for years due to the current state of the world from the outbreak. Telltale has done a good job of building Javier’s character by using family and how far you will go to protect them, all while leading to the inevitable fallout between David and Javier and ultimately who will end up with Kate. Unlike the last episode, this one tried to leave you with a big cliff hanger but didn’t quite hit a home run. I was actually caught off guard by how abrupt the ending came about. This didn’t kill the experience, but it defiantly left me saying “That’s it?” Again Telltale is in a good place to pick the story back up and hopefully will lift the curse of previous games and make episode 4 memorable and fun to play.

Overall this episode runs great and looks fantastic. I did not experience any of the usual Telltale engine slow downs, framerate drops, or chugs. In fact the episode ran smoothly and never crashed, which unfortunately is saying a lot. Graphically The New Frontier is a great looking game and the story to this point has held up quite nicely compared to previous Walking Dead games. Overall this episode was a little short but definitely delivered and left me wanting more even though it had a lack luster ending.

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The Walking Dead: Ties That Bind 1 & 2 Review

Reviewed on PS4

The Walking Dead represented a new direction in story telling for Telltale back in 2012. With an emotional and compelling story mixed with fantastic relatable characters, Telltale placed themselves in game of the year conversations across the globe and have become the standard of modern story telling in video games today. The Walking Dead Season three titled: A New Frontier, is now the forth installment in the Telltale Walking Dead series, and it does not disappoint in episodes one and two. To be fair, it is really hard to tell a story with the weight and gravity of the original season and after the third installment falling some what flat and not really progressing things in the Walking Dead universe, I went into this game with mild expectations. As a fan of the series and of Telltale’s work I was, and am still optimistic about the future of where they go with the Walking Dead.

In previous installments the game focuses on a little girl named Clementine who went from a helpless little girl to a strong and courageous character that has survived everything this post apocalyptic world has had to offer and then some. In A New Frontier, you follow a new protagonist named Javier, a professional baseball player, instead of Clementine from the previous two main line seasons. The first episode opens up with Javier rushing back home only to find his father Rafa has died and his family in mourning. Very early in the game the choices you are faced with already carry emotional weight and establishes the tone of the relationship with your brother. This theme continues throughout the first two episodes as you flash forward and Javi assumes leadership of the small group consisting of Kate, your brother’s second wife, and his two kids. Not long into the game you cross paths with a hostel group called The New Frontier (similar to the saviors from the main line Walking Dead comic and TV show), and protagonist Clementine. I was glad to see her introduced early on in the game and to my surprise she has been hardened from life in this world overrun by zombies and awful people alike.

Graphically this Walking Dead game is a great improvement to Telltale’s previous titles. The character design is still the graphic novel cell shaded style we know and expect, but the models are also more three dimensional and a little bit more realistic. Telltale has touted that they are using a new engine, but I have to be honest when I say do not be fooled their games still don’t run well. With characters popping in and out between scenes and the slight stutters when the action picks up just shows through and through that this is a Telltale game. As for my experience, none of this affected the gameplay, but one can only imagine what the rest of the episodes will look like. Seriously, Telltale, fix your engine! Sound design and voice acting are great as to be expected, but I just wish that overall the game would run a little smoother. However, it is still an improvement from past games.

The moment to moment gameplay in TWD was really tight and between the two episodes never left me board and ready for a change. The dialogue and relationships introduced so far have been great and the QTE has not been overbearing or broken. It definitely seems that Telltale has learned a few things from previous episodes ad seasons. There wasn’t any real slow downs to this point which made for great pacing. Also, as you progress throughout the two episodes there are flashbacks into what Clementine was doing in between seasons two and three. These flashbacks have been short and sweet and have continued to build an already fantastic character in Clementine. Javier is also very likable from early on and the same goes for most, if not all, of the characters introduced thus far.

All in all, this is shaping up to be a great game. New engine, new graphics, same great story telling and dialogue mixed with some new great characters and a fan favorite from the previous installments. As per usual, the twist and inevitable cliff hanger at the end of episode two was fantastic and completely unexpected. I am really enjoying where this story is going and truly cannot wait to get back into the next upcoming episodes. If you are a fan of the previous games, you will definitely like this one. If you were lukewarm towards them, I would still suggest this game as it is an improvement to an already great formula with the caveat that there are still some of the same engine issues as before. Granted they are better but still not perfect. As for first timers into the Telltale Walking Dead universe, this is still a great starting point as you follow Javier and his family closely while learning more about Clementine without being held back by not playing the first two games.

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Walking Dead Season 3 Coming December 20th

Telltale Games has announced the premiere date  for The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series – A New Frontier, the third season in the critically-acclaimed series.

The first of five episodes in The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series – A New Frontier will premiere digitally worldwide starting Tuesday December 20th on PC from the Telltale Online Store, Steam, and other digital distribution services, on the Xbox Games Store for Xbox One and Xbox 360, and on the PlayStation Network for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3. The episode will be available the same day for compatible iOS devices via the App Store, and for compatible Android-based devices via Google Play.

Beginning February 7th, the series will also be available for purchase on a special ‘Season Pass Disc’ for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles, which will include the premiere episode for the third season, as well as access to all subsequent episodes in the five episode season for download as they become available.

PlayStation 4 users can preorder the digital version by visiting the product page on the digital store. As a special bonus, PS4 digital preorders also receive a complementary copy of The Walking Dead: Season Two and The Walking Dead: Michonne.

Steam users can preorder the season by visiting the product page on Steam, with a savings of 10% for preordering.

When family is all you have left… how far will you go to protect it? Four years after society was ripped apart by undead hands, pockets of civilization emerge from the chaos. But at what cost? Can the living be trusted on this new frontier? As Javier, a young man determined to find the family taken from him, you meet a young girl who has experienced her own unimaginable loss. Her name is Clementine, and your fates are bound together in a story where every choice you make could be your last.

A special extended first look at the premiere episode will be revealed live on stage at The Game Awards on Thursday December 1st.

The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series – A New Frontier is expected to receive a rating of ‘M’ (Mature) from the ESRB.

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Rumor

Guardians Of The Galaxy Being Developed by Telltale Games

Almost two years after Telltale Games announced a Marvel game was in the making, it looks like the cat, or should should we say raccoon has gotten out of the bag. An image of a list of games still in development after the voice actor strike has made its way online. About halfway down the list, the title “Guardians Of The Galaxy a/k/a Blue Harvest”. Although the game is being credited to “O’Farrell Enterprises, LLC”,  the same company is listed with the third season of “The Walking Dead”, one of the most popular of the Telltale Franchises.

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When a Marvel game was announced to be in development, the game was set for a 2017 release date. With this year wrapping up quickly, expect more news on the upcoming title sooner rather than later.

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Batman- The Telltale Series, Episode 2: Children of Arkham Will Release On September 20th

Telltale has unveiled the gripping new trailer for BATMAN – The Telltale Series – Episode 2: Children of Arkham.

With Gotham City’s first family mired in corruption, and an old friend now a dangerous adversary, the life of the Dark Knight is turned upside down. What was Thomas Wayne entangled in, and why was he killed? Determined to learn the truth about his father, Bruce sets out to question those involved in Gotham’s criminal past. But which mask will he wear – The billionaire, or the bat? Huge decisions will forever change the Batman and the lives of those around him, as he meets the Children of Arkham.

 

The second of five episodes in the season, Episode 2: ‘Children of Arkham’ will be available digitally worldwide starting Tuesday September 20th on PC from the Telltale Online Store, Steam, and other digital distribution services, on the PlayStation®Network for PlayStation 4, and on the Xbox Games Store for Xbox One®. Release dates for additional platforms will be announced later in September.

The series is also available to purchase at retailers in North America now as a special Season Pass Disc, which includes the first of five episodes in the season, and will grant access to the subsequent four episodes as they become available for download via online updates. The series will also be available to purchase at retailers across Europe on September 16th.

Rendered to look like a living, breathing comic book, Telltale’s vision of Batman features an award-winning cast of talent, including Troy Baker in the role of Bruce Wayne, Travis Willingham as Harvey Dent, Erin Yvette as Vicki Vale, Enn Reitel as Alfred Pennyworth, Murphy Guyer as Lieutenant James Gordon, Richard McGonagle as Carmine Falcone, Jason Spisak as Oswald Cobblepot, and Laura Bailey as Selina Kyle. Additional cast and characters will be revealed as the season progresses.

 

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Podcasts Trophy Whores

Trophy Whores 250 – The Triumph of 250

The Trophy Whores have made it!  After 250 — official — episodes, and being cemented as borderline Internet celebrities, the Trophy Whores are still going strong, fueled by the adoration and support of their awesome listeners and fellow trophy hunters.  The guys can’t thank you enough for listening, as your support means the world to them.  In truth, Trophy Whores would not have made it this far without you.  Thank you!  The guys are already thinking about what to do for episode 500!

The Trophy Whores don’t talk about Microsoft often, but talk of cross-network play between the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 has the Four Whoresmen intrigued.  Donny is skeptical; however, Tricky, Iyield2no1, and Alex see the benefits of cross-network play between the rival platform holders.  Can you imagine Crash Bandicoot and Dr. Neo Cortex working together?  As you might imagine, the maniacal and hapless genius represents Sony’s rival.

Join the Trophy Whores as they discuss, among other things, Batman, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan.  Alex is looking forward to Mutants in Manhattan, as it reminds him of Turtles in Time, his favorite — absolute favorite — Ninja Turtles game.  If you were a kid and/or arcadegoer in the 1990s, then you probably spent pockets — and pockets — full of coins on the Turtles in Time arcade machine.

We appreciate your support (and your ears)!

Please subscribe to the Trophy Whores feed in iTunes or RSS and please leave a review. We won’t give you cookies, but it will help us make the show better.

You can find us on Twitter: @TrophyWhores  and @ProvenGamer

You can also email us at TrophyWhores.

If you wish, you can always download the show here – Trophy Whores 250 – The Triumph of 250.

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Opinions

TellTale Fatigue

I, along with countless others, love the Telltale games. They are king when it comes to storytelling and have spread across many different franchises while maintaining their charm. As the popularity of their titles has increased, so has their number of titles. So far we have received two seasons of The Walking Dead, a fantastic game in The Wolf Among Us, Tales from the Borderlands, and Game of Thrones. Telltale is currently releasing episodes of Minecraft: Story Mode and recent announcements revealed Telltale Batman and Marvel games in the works. The question is, are we receiving too much of a good thing?

 

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Telltale games used to be magical. They offered you an experience that you could only get from playing their titles. But, with so many games coming from their studio, I feel that Telltale is losing its magic.

Telltale’s The Walking Dead filled me with emotion and I loved The Wolf Among Us, it is probably my favorite game from them. When Game of Thrones was announced, I was absolutely stoked. But when it finally came out I was disappointed with the blandness of the story. The magic from previous titles was lost. Furthermore, the season took over took a year to come to a conclusion. By the time I reached the end I had already forgotten what happened in the beginning and didn’t have it in me to replay the earlier episodes.

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Telltale fatigue is also showing through the studio’s game engine. Season 1 of The Walking Dead was released in 2012 with a variety of bugs that took me out of the game. Three years later the engine is still broken, in my opinion. There are times when the games will just halt or slow down to the point that it is like watching a PowerPoint presentation.

Telltale has continued to churn out games without actually fixing these issues. Though you would think that the jump to next gen platforms seemed like the perfect time to put some time into optimizing their games, the issues of last gen seem to be worse on the newer systems. As a fan of their games and a consumer, I personally believe Telltale should take a year off and put some R&D into their tools. With some work Telltale should definitely be able to offer a smoother experience than we are getting now.

I think Telltale is great, don’t get me wrong. But they need to make us want their games. Games like Uncharted and Fallout are so special because we aren’t constantly having them shoved down our throats. Though I think Telltale games are just as good, we don’t are not getting the opportunity to yearn for more. Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing and I thing Telltale needs to learn this lesson.

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Minecraft: Story Mode Episode 1 Review

Telltale Games has had quite the busy year so far—they finished up their newest episodic story with Tales From The Borderlands while the upcoming season finale to Game of Thrones:A Telltale Games Series is coming this November. It seems that the team at Telltale is not done yet this year as we got the first of five episodes for Minecraft: Story Mode, which is their take on Mojang’s widely known and popular creative game. Unlike the previous games they have put out—which had characters, stories, and a world to use for source material—with Minecraft there is a free range to create a unique story with original characters we have never seen before.

Even so, Telltale definitely put themselves in a tough position when they picked up Minecraft to make an episodic game for. It’s tough to imagine how a game where you basically explore a world and build whatever you want to would transition into a five-part episodic story driven game where there aren’t any characters or places you can reference.

I will say that Minecraft: Story Mode does a good job with what it was trying to accomplish, the game features the iconic crafting table which allowed you to create items to help progress through the story, and while it wasn’t at the depth of crafting Minecraft itself has it was still nice to see it put in the game.

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Minecraft: Story Mode features Telltale’s bread and butter point and click gameplay while also including a good amount of quick time events and combat. The developer’s dialog and story options return as well, though this time around they are a bit more lighthearted. Minecraft: Story Mode is child friendly and without many decisions that might have you questioning yourself or getting too emotionally invested. The game’s simplistic gameplay allows anyone to jump in and enjoy the story and have fun which, at it’s core, is what Minecraft is about.

With that being said in Minecraft: Story Mode you take on the role of Jesse who, joined by with his friends and pet pig named Rueben, is trying to win the Endercon building competition with the hopes of meeting Gabriel the Warrior, a member of “The Order of the Stone.” Gabriel and his allies are the group of legendary heroes that defeated the Ender Dragon. Things go south and our ragtag group of unlikely heroes are on the quest of a lifetime to find the remaining members of The Order of the Stone so they can help save the world.

Minecraft: Story Mode also boasts a wealth of talented voice acting. If you picked a male character for Jesse the game’s lead voice actor is the hilarious Patton Oswalt while Catherine Taber voices the female version. With the supporting casting of comedian and actor Brian Posehn as Axel, I found myself enjoying any dialog sequences involving Patton and Brian. And just like in previous TT games there are, of course, various story related choices that can result in minor changes to the game’s outcome. From getting black eye to losing your stone sword and deciding who you team up with going into Episode 2, your choices matter. But, I’ll shy away from any details as to avoid spoilers for those of you who have yet to play the game yet.

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Review: Tales from the Borderlands Ep. 5: The Vault of the Traveler

In the final episode of Tales from the Borderlands, Telltale Games has managed to create one of their funniest, yet darkest episodes yet. The episode takes you on a roller coaster of emotions as you laugh, feel uncomfortable at times, and want to tear up at others. The game ties up loose ends, characters die, and other characters return. In the Vault of the Traveler, Telltale actually makes it feel like your choices from the previous episodes greatly impact the way your story ends. Characters react to you based on how you treated them in previous episodes, and there is even a choice that you make earlier in the series that can determine if one of your main characters lives or dies at the end. There are throwbacks galore to previous Borderland titles and Easter eggs that range from Power Rangers to Final Fantasy 7. Much like Telltale’s other games, episode 4 was a drag, but they always knock it out of the park with the finale. Telltale continues to finish strong.

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As always with Borderlands, comedy was one of the stronger parts of the game. Much like the main Borderlands games, I caught myself caring about the robot characters more than the human characters. Their innocent, yet comedic charm makes them more likable in my opinion. Loaderbot and Gortys speak to me much like Claptrap did in the previous games. That being said, a lot of the human characters came into their own in the finale. Characters I could care less about previously suddenly made me care, even Handsome Jack made me feel sorry for him.
The final boss battle of Tales from the Borderlands was phenomenal. There is a nod to the Power Rangers here that I thought was brilliant. The combat itself was a mix of the usual run of the mill Telltale combat that we are used to from previous games from the developer, but they have added in a fighting game style that reminds me of Street Fighter. Even the combat animations are nods to move from Chun Li as well as Ken and Ryu.

I do however have a couple of issues with the story. In times it felt too rushed. This is in part because Telltale left a lot of plot holes that needed to be tied up from previous installments. The game would have benefited from having more substance in Episode 4 to spread out the content instead of trying to fit the amount of content that they did in a mere two hours. This seems to be a recurring trend with Telltale games, as The Wolf Among Us and The Walking Dead season two suffered from the same criticisms.

Another recurring trend with Telltale games is the hiccups that the game engine seems to suffer from. In several spots of the game, frame-rates would drop, scenes would stutter and seem to skip. The company seems to be pushing out title after title, where they could really benefit from taking a little down time to optimize the game engine to make the game more enjoyable for their fans. I played the game on PS4, so I can only assume that the last gen versions of the games suffered from these issues more than I did.

The audio for the game was on point though. There were a couple of license tracks that really added to the experience, especially Retrograde from James Blake that plays during the title sequence of the episode. Voice acting wise, as always Telltale are at the top of their game. The characters voices fit them, the lines were delivered with meaning and were all around enjoyable to listen to.

Tales from the Borderlands Episode 5: The Vault of the Traveler gives the series an amazing conclusion, in what I believe is the best ending that Telltale has given us next to The Walking Dead Season 1 and definitely the strong episode of this series. All of the questions that loomed from previous episodes were answered and tied up nicely, as well as new questions to consider about that will in no doubt shape the future of Borderlands, such as is this a sneak preview of what Pandora will look like when we finally get Borderlands 3.