As a re-introduction into Telltale's Walking Dead world, A New Frontier does just about everything right.
Telltale Games' fresh approach to the world of the Dark Knight makes the first episode of Batman: The Telltale Series an mostly worthwhile escapade into the life of Bruce Wayne. Taking a radically different path from the likes of Rocksteady Studios in telling a Batman story not only gave some much needed perspective into the other half of Batman's life, but allowed Telltale to play to its strengths in narrative and dialogue. It's unfortunate then that the PC version of Batman: The Telltale Series is so marred by performance issues that it's a real drag to play, and a challenge to enjoy.
Telltale Games' Batman series came as a surprise to many of us when it was announced late last year. While Telltale's had its share of big licensed properties before, like Back to the Future and Jurassic Park, Batman just felt bigger than anything the company had done in the past merely in name alone. Now, a few months later we've gotten our first glimpse at Batman - The Telltale Series, which brings with it a number of enhancements to Telltale's signature game engine, as well as an all-new Batman universe to play with.
The first two chapters of The Walking Dead: Michonne took some time getting to the core of what made this mini-series special. Both "In Too Deep" and "No Shelter" had some great introspective moments for Michonne, but the story points driving them along weren't nearly as compelling as what was unfolding in Michonne's head. With the final episode, all of the elements finally pull together to deliver a haunting, gut-wrenching conclusion that gives Michonne more depth, and will have you wondering if we get what we deserve or we deserve what we get.
Exploring the tragic and mysterious history of The Walking Dead's Michonne sounded like a great idea when Telltale Games announced its mini-series. Finally, we'd get to see things from the perspective of one of the comics' most intriguing and deadly characters. However, the first episode of The Walking Dead: Michonne was fairly rudimentary and didn't quite break narrative ground in the way we'd hoped it would. Still, with two episodes remaining, there was hope Telltale had something new to say in this world and about this character. The Walking Dead: Michonne's second episode, "Give No Shelter," manages to give a bit more insight into our protagonist's past and motivations, even if it still feels like we've been down this road before.
Hearing that Telltale Games would be exploring Michonne's past in depth for the first time was exciting. Hints and small bits of her history have been dribbled out slowly in The Walking Dead comics, but the driving forces of Michonne's life have never really been dealt with the way they have with other characters. Though some new ground is tread, the first episode of The Walking Dead: Michonne doesn't bring much we didn't already know to the front. What's more, it spends so much time introducing new characters, there's hardly any time for Michonne to show off.
The finale to Telltale's Game of Thrones first season has been a long time coming. For months, we've been lying in wait for the moment when the Forresters would be able to exact their revenge, and stake the true claim to Ironrath. It's been an tumultuous journey to get to this point, to be sure, but no one person's story in Game of Thrones ever goes quite the way it was envisioned. In the past year, we've done everything we could to try and make sure the Forresters didn't meet a horrible fate, and to ensure things worked out for the family struck with incredible tragedies. But we forgot one crucial thing--there are no happy endings in Westeros.
Morality is a gray matter, a deep entity, and a thing that doesn't stop at the surface. It's also a subject that video games have played with constantly. Whether it was the evil Dragonlord presenting the hero with a choice to join his side at the end of Dragon Warrior in 1986 or Geralt choosing to sacrifice or save a dear friend in the more recent Witcher 3, video games have been attempting to capture the complexity of moral dilemma as a flexible mechanic for decades. The degree to which a game will go to accomplish that widely varies, but even the highest caliber releases supposedly punctuated by a choice-driven environment face a problem. Have games made choices truly matter? Can games capture the full effect of emotional baggage without sacrificing what makes a game fun? I’m not so sure they have yet.
The movies of the 1980s taught us many things, but in particular there were two key takeaways. One is that montages are awesome and make even the most mundane things cool when set to the right music. The other is that there is no greater adventure than the one you embark upon with your closest friends. Taking inspiration from the golden age of teen cinema, where movies like The Goonies, Explorers and Stand By Me ruled, Minecraft Story Mode sends you on a grand adventure through the voxel-based world. While putting a story to Minecraft might seem counterintuitive to the core game's design, the team at Telltale has proven they can make a great story out of anything. And yes, that now includes Minecraft.
This is heavy: Marty McFly and Dr. Emmett Brown are revving the DeLorean up for a remastered release of Telltale Games' Back to the Future series.