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

(Submitted by Mr. Andrew Peters…Thanks, Ho-rror Ho-mie! 🙂 xoxo)

Well, it’s been a long journey, but it’s finally come to end. The Walking Dead: A New Frontier wraps up in its final episode, From The Gallows, and along the way we’ve gotten to know the new protagonist, Javi, quite well. We’ve watched his relationships take shape with all the characters and if you’re like me, I chose for Javi to be caring and thoughtful towards others, especially those in his group. He’s been guiding Gabe on the right path as a father figure, even though for the most part, Gabe has been the prototypical angsty, brooding teenager with daddy issues. By this point, Gabe has actually matured past the point of annoying and is making some wise decisions and most importantly, sticking up for himself against David. I gotta hand it to my parenting skills.

From The Gallows is probably the most emotional and strongest episode of the game or at the very least on par with the first episode, including a moment that could be more emotional than Mariana’s death back in the first episode. Being the conclusion to A New Frontier, while not having the strongest plot in the series, does wrap things up in a more positive light (at least in my playthrough). Yes, no matter how bad things seemed to get in the faces of his adversaries, I never allowed Javi to walk down a dark path or allowed him to take revenge or act out of violence or become selfish no matter how hard he was pushed. In the event of an apocalypse, there needs to be some kind of hope, regardless of how far fetched or negative the situation may be and it was actually heart warming to see everything come together in a positive way. Usually, The Walking Dead games end on grim, depressing notes, but with A New Frontier there was a lot of hope and happiness. This episode isn’t without its choices, those moments you know aren’t going to end well or even having to make a decision between one thing or another, but for the most part, you’ll get the ending you that you set out to get.

For me, I just wanted to stop seeing cartoonishly portrayed power struggles, people versus people in a zombie apocalypse. It’s like all of a sudden during a catastrophe, people degrade to being brainless cavemen and begin hitting each other over the head with clubs for ownership of food and women. I dunno, maybe that’s accurate once they don’t have access to their Twitter accounts. Anyway, shit had really hit the fan in the previous episode if you recall. Tripp (or Ava depending on your decision) just got executed, Kate ran the truck into the wall which then caused Richmond to become overrun with zombies and Joan’s crew were in a firefight with Javi and his people. This makes an excellent way to open the episode, right in the middle of the action. Unfortunately, it’s about the only action in From The Gallows, but it’s memorable and manages to still be intense. Hell, it even manages to do an ol’ swaperoo. Remember how Kate ran that truck into the wall, as I just mentioned? Well, David and Javi spot a walker in the same clothes and are in total disbelief when all of a sudden, Kate comes out of nowhere and kills it. Gotcha! I was actually glad to see Kate alive, because even though they had finally admitted their feelings for each other and to tell David, they hadn’t yet and so I didn’t feel like that situation was yet a closed book.

The opportunity to tell David comes later, but for now our characters have to deal with Richmond being completely overrun with zombies. Sadly, that’s also the weakest part of this episode; whether or not to save Richmond or to bail. That’s primarily the focus here and the reason it doesn’t really work on an emotional level is because we don’t give a rat’s fuzzy ass (that’s something I heard my dad say when I was a kid when he was yelling at me and I started laughing) about anyone from Richmond. Everyone who we’ve encountered from there has been a total dickhead or a murderous sumbitch, so the actually feeling of wanting to save those people just isn’t there, but you know Javi. He’s the beacon of light in this mess or whatever, so of course my purpose is going to help these people. David, however, feels that they should all leave and I actually agreed with his reasoning. He has his family back, he’s now amended things with Clem, so why keep everyone at risk and just move on?

This also comes after Ava (if she’s still alive in your game) supposedly meets her end. They brush past it likes it’s nothing that I thought I should bring it up, because I’m not sure what I’m supposed to feel or what the game wanted me to take from it. After trying to cross a chasm and helping Javi, she’s pulled down by a zombie, but we never see her fall all the way or hit bottom. Everyone just goes, “aw, man… oh, well,” and moves on. She was such a cool character and for her to exit in such an underwhelming way, I realized she was really a missed opportunity. Something could’ve really been developed with her character, but I’ll never know.

 

This is where the game’s only real, but big choice comes in. This is where the big divide in your ending will be and we see who you’ve really become. You can flee with David or stay with Kate. Kate believes they should stay and help everyone, help clear out the zombies and seeing that I’ve been shaping Javi to be a decent person and to guide others to do the same, I agreed with her and the time finally came; the time to tell David about their feelings.Seeing as how he’s a brash and angry man, he didn’t take the news to well and begins to beat the shit out of Javi, but I, as Javi, made a promise that I would be the best man and take care of people. This is arguably the most emotional scene ever since we saw Mariana get shot in the head as you can continuously tell David that you love him no matter what as he continues to pummel you. Or you can fight back. Your choice. At the end, he takes off with Gabe and Clementine agrees to chase after them while you head back with Kate to save Richmond. That involves a bulldozer and pressing a random button to shoot zombies. It’s not very exciting.

And then literally like a knight in shining armor on a horse, Jesus reappears with his crew, cutting off the heads of zombies and helping the people of Richmond. A guy with long hair and a beard that sounds like Christian Slater doing an impression of Jack Nicholson coming back to save the people… seems like a pretty thin allegory. Not much really happens after that. Not that the episode wanders off or dwindles away, but at this point I guess everything that needed to said has been said. Final respects are paid, we catch up with the survivors in your group (including Conrad, who regardless of being shot in the head during the second episode seems to have made peace with the loss of his loved one). For me, it was nice to see Kate and Javi as a family with Gabe and plans to have another. They are finally feeling at home for the first time in a long time and are able to move on, because of your guidance. While not the strongest episode, it has very strong moments and seeing everything pay off was totally worth it. I thought the second season of The Walking Dead was alright, but I felt it fell into the the trap of pandering to the audience, aping the TV show and giving its audience exactly what they want and Michonne was just pointless and boring, so to have A New Frontier be entertaining, pretty emotional and have characters you cared about for the first time since the first season makes the game totally worth playing.

With Clem riding off into the sunset on her own mission, I can only hope she finds what she’s been looking for, but more importantly is able to finally able to settle down someplace and feel at home. I think we’ve seen the last of Javi, I feel like his story has already been told and things wrapped up rather nicely for him (well, as nice as they can in this situation). Another season (and I believe final) has been announced and I really, really hope that everything works out for poor Clementine. But I guess that’s up to me.

The Walking Dead A New Frontier Episode 4: Thicker Than Water Review

(Submitted by Mr. Andrew Peters…Thanks, Ho-rror Ho-mie! 🙂 xoxo)

If Above the Law, the third episode in The Walking Dead: A New Frontier series, left you feeling a little underwhelmed, then prepare to be totally blown away. Above the Law continued the story fine, but left me (the player) let down. I thought the story arc was fine and I did like how it had me questioning Clementine’s view of David, but it lacked any emotional punch or consequence to your choices and the action sequences were boiled down to repetitive button mashing. I’m not saying it was bad, I didn’t dislike it or anything. Thicker Than Water, the fourth episode, makes up for all of that. Maybe not necessarily make up, because I get the sneaky feeling Telltale planned on you letting your guard down, because there was nothing that could have prepared me for what happens.

Like all episodes, this one also starts with a flashback from Javi’s past, this time he’s with David at the batting cages shortly after the incident that got Javi kicked out from professional baseball. It’s never fully explored, but hinted at which I think is for the better and to be honest, it’s irrelevant to the main plot. The idea behind this little sequence is to allow you the opportunity to shape David and Javi’s relationship, but I have to tell you that not matter what you do, David is always gonna respond like an asshole, so I have no idea if I did good or bad. After that little trip down memory lane, we catch back up with the two in jail who bicker until Joan comes and takes David away and as Javi you get to explore the area to find a way to escape until Kate shows up and helps you escape where you meet back up with the group. Tripp and Eleanor are having a little spat and the weirdest of all things happened, at least in my game; Conrad showed up being all buddy buddy. This is weird, because back in the second episode I shot him in the head to save Clementine. Now, I’m not doctor or anything, but he looked pretty dead. Maybe I just shot him good enough to erase his memory of what happened… and apparently mine. Actually, I did research this and this is a glitch that was pretty common and the only way to fix it was to start over. Since I’m not doing that, I guess we will be seeing more of Conrad, although I feel like I missed out on his arch, so him being here really has no impact on me.

There are some really good bonding moments between Gabe and Javi as they set out to rescue David. Javi’s can lend Gabe some good advice on how to be a better person during a zombie apocalypse as you make your way inside a medical bay where you meet back up with Ava, who is happy or not happy to see you depending on whether or not you bailed on her in the previous episodes and if you did, don’t sweat. You can calm her down. Javi’s injured in a fight, but luckily the good, stoned Doctor is close by as if our pal, Clementine. Clem offers to patch up Javi and has to have an awkward conversation becoming how her bleeding means she’s becoming a woman. Ever think you’d get to be a part of that in a video game? Well, wonder no more. Of course, there’s another Clementine flashback, but this one is used to flesh out the relationship between Ava and Clem, so choose wisely. Me, I decided to be friendly, so I hope that works out. However, much more critical choices lie ahead, as well as some insight on what a good person David actually is.

n style=”font-weight: 400;”>Doctor Lingard awakens from his drugged state and spills the beans about Joan’s plan and that he doesn’t want to live anymore. He offers Clem and Javi the location of AJ if they give him an overdose or you can choose not to, well, that’s yet to be see. I was unsure of this decision when it happened. Seeing as I wasn’t expecting it, it totally threw me off guard and I had to think fast. I wanted to help Clem and get the location of AJ, but killing someone to do so seems like it was going against everything I was shaping Javi to be, so I opted not to. Looking back, I’m still not sure if I made the right decision.

Everyone’s back together and you help to devise a plan, so everything seems like it’s going good. In any incarnation of The Walking Dead, you know that’s not a good thing seeing as things go to shit equally as planned. You’re almost expecting what happens in the finale to come, but for the most part, I wasn’t prepared to deal with it. Sure, I knew this plan was going to go sour and it was sweet to see Javi and Kate decide they were gonna tell David about them and be happily ever after, but you know The Walking Dead can’t let things be like they are in fairy tales. I don’t want to say that these games don’t have happy endings, but rather end on a slight positive note. Unfortunately for the characters, that’s not how things go this time around. Let’s just say that ‘the shit hits the fan’ is putting it lightly.

There’s some minor action scenes here and there, enough to keep you entertained until the finale when all hell breaks loose. With David about to be publically executed, Javi attempts to talk their way out of it, to prove that people need to use words, not violence. Actually, he has a very strong, valid point, but Joan doesn’t see it that way. With two of Javi’s friends captured, you must decide who gets to live and which one gets to die and things only get far, far worse from there. David doesn’t keep his cool and makes matters worse and everything literally explodes out of a control. Then the episode just drops the mic right there.

I was entertained throughout the whole episode. I felt like a lot of things were coming together and we learned more about the all the characters, no matter how big or small their roles are. It made everything and everyone seem to come together and to watch it all quickly fall apart at the end was a sucker punch to face. You knew this was coming, but not to the extent of it. Things go out of control faster than you will be able to make a fully thought decision and you will undoubtedly be regretting the choice you made and second guessing yourself.

Thicker Than Water is a powerful episode, requiring you to think and act faster than you ever have. The consequences to your decisions and actions pack quite a wallop and at times even if you think you made the right call, something bad will happen. Just be emotionally prepared for it. With how great this episode was, I am both anticipating and fearing the next and final episode. I know there are going to be some tough calls to make and there are going to be some serious repercussions, but I can’t wait to see how it ends. Hopefully happy.

Ho-stess’s PS- On a Walking Dead-related note, this happened to me last night at the Saturn Awards. #TeamAbraham4Evah!!! 🙂 xoxoxo

 

Goon Review: The Walking Dead: A New Frontier: Above the Law

(Submitted by our Ho-rror Ho-mie, Mr. Andrew “Goon” Peters…Thanks, my freaky friend! 🙂 xoxo)

As I read the title for Episode 3 of The Walking Dead: A New Frontier, Above the Law, I shouted “LEEEWWWW-AHHHH,” like Armand Asante as Judge Rico from the Judge Dredd movie. Anyone else? No, just me? Anyway, we last left Javi and his group at the mercy of The New Frontier so that Kate, who was just shot in the belly, could get some medical attention and who should come storming out of the gate to meet them? Javi’s brother, David, who they thought to have been dead this whole time and I’m sure he’s thought the same of them. Welp, get ready for an awkward family reunion.

Javi and David are clearly shocked to see each other alive and although David barely notices Gabe, he’s still happy to give him a hug nonetheless and is able to immediately get Kate some medical attention while Javi and the rest of the group get tossed in a cell. Looks like a happy family reunion is gonna have to wait so that the crew can basically recap the story up until this point. I found it odd that this time was just spent rehashing everything we just saw instead of moving it forward, but eventually David shows up to take Javi to meet with the other council members that will determine whether or not Javi’s group can stay and become part of The New Frontier. Hmm, a council of elder like folks that determine the greater good of the people? That never ends with deception and betrayal. I don’t foresee one of them screwing everyone over for personal gain in their own agenda…

But first, it’s time to visit Kate and it plays out about as awkward as you would think. Kate fakes pain to have a moment alone with Javi and of course David walks in at an almost opportune time. I don’t understand why they just don’t talk about it already. Kate’s feelings for Javi and her disdain for David becomes evident when she asks you to bail on this place with her and Gabe. No goodbyes, no explaining anything to David, just up and run. Your response to Kate feels like the first time in this episode that something may shape what happens later. Unfortunately, the rest of the episode feels void of this feeling.

Now that you are finally in front of the council, it’s time to see if you will fit in, but first the leaders; There’s a drug addicted doctor named Paul Lingard who is seemingly spineless, Clint the farmer who also seems spineless, then you have David (who we know) and that leaves us with Joan who is like if Roseanne Barr wanted hair like Rogue from X-Men. She’s a total ball buster and seems to have a power over the others. This becomes more predictable as this scene plays out and identifying the puppet master becomes quite easy, but Max appears to throw a monkey wrench in the situation and your rivalry comes forward. It doesn’t seem like no matter what answers you choose, the outcome is going to be the same; you aren’t allowed to stay… except for Kate and Gabe who are more than welcome, so David sends you packing and the dude doesn’t even seem to care. It was at this point I was starting to notice that there wasn’t any dire choices this episode, the choices I made don’t seem to have any weight, but we’re only about halfway through the episode, so there’s plenty of time for things to completely flip around. David isn’t completely without feeling and sends Ava out to give you a care package complete with a baseball bat and a map that has a location marked on it, so the group agrees to head there.

Along the way you run into someone who’s been missing throughout half the episode, Clementine. En route to this mystery location, Clementine explains to Javi why she hates David so much, via flashback in which you learn the fate of baby AJ as well as a council members drug abuse. Although I can see from Clementine’s point of view and understand why she hates David, you can also see that why David made the decision he made and was only looking for what was in the best interest of the group. This is something I picked up at this point is that David may not be the awful person Clementine has led us to believe. He genuinely seems to care about the people in his group and although his anger leads him to make brash decisions, he doesn’t seem deceitful. This episode rightfully focuses on David’s character and exploring it and even though at times you aren’t sure of ‘did he’ or ‘didn’t he,’ you get the feeling there is a greater evil out there, which we are about to find out.

Seeing as this episode has lacked an action sequence, one get tossed at you that is primarily just button mashing while trying to get a shudder door open. There is a bit of puzzle solving, but I wouldn’t even call it a challenge, but instead a race against a time. It’s supposed to get your heart rate moving, but by this point it’s kind of stale. Once inside the shelter after that close call, David arrives and you have a choice to open the door or not. Regardless of what you choose, it will open and once again, doesn’t seem to have any real effect. Javi and the group notice that the supplies in the shelter are from the Prescott Airfield, where you were previously attacked by The New Frontier, along with other places. David is pressed about the matter, but swears he has no knowledge of this and that’s confirmed once Max, Badger and some other thug arrive and exposition dump the hell out the plot, revealing the true culprit. Wanting some revenge for Mariana’s death, the group attacks. This is another Quick Time Event that requires a quick response seeing that even a split second too late results in your death. But if you die, no big deal, you just start right back where you left off.

The finale of the confrontation leaves you with a wounded Badger who you have the option to kill, let Conrad kill (if you didn’t kill Conrad in the previous chapter) or left him turn. I chose the latter, because fuck that scumbag. I get a feeling this may come back to bite me in the ass later, but I feel at this point, Javi really needs to be showing Gabe that murder isn’t necessary… even though we just shot that guy in the gut in self defense. Again, even though I still felt like this decision may come back around to me, at the moment it feels like it bears no weight and that’s something this episode truly lacks; the intense split decision making and the consequences. Even though the QTE’s were somewhat panic inducing, there was never a feeling if I did something incorrectly or my timing was off, it would affect the outcome of the game. In fact, it just resulted in my death in which case I was allowed to try again.

With this new information, the group forms a plan and splits up while Jesus leaves the group in what is the saddest moment thus far. He was such an interesting character and a lot about who he is or what he knows, what a damaged soul he is, is merely hinted at, but my guess is Telltale wanted to save him for a spinoff on a rainy day. Javi and David eventually confront Joan who in classic vaudeville villain style pours herself a drink and sips from it as she reveals herself to be the mastermind and her plan! I know it was supposed to be a shocking moment, but with how predictable it was mixed with how classically evil the display was, I couldn’t help but laugh.

Above the Law is so far the weakest of the episodes with no feeling of dire consequences and boring, button mashing QTE action sequences that are few and far in between. It does however pull a few punches with David’s character, making him somewhat of a believable good guy who is trying to do the right thing. This does make siding with Clementine against David this episode a little difficult, but ultimately the looming baddie Joan is about as a subtle as a Disney villain and regardless of your choices, you know you’re going to end up in the same position. That position, however, looks like it’s going to be leading to some really difficult choices. Consider this the calm before the storm.

The Walking Dead: A New Frontier- Ties That Bind Part 2

(Submitted by Mr. Andrew Peters…Thank you, Ho-rror Ho-mie! xoxox)

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Part One of Ties That Bind, the first episode of Telltale’s newest season of The Walking Dead, introduced us to a new character named Javi, an ex-baseball player that was trying to reconnect with his family when the outbreak happened and is now on the road with his brother David’s wife, Kate, and her stepchildren Gabe and Mariana. Along the way, shit happens as they tend to do in post apocalyptic zombie stories (how else would you get the plot moving?) and Javi is separated from his group and meets up with Clementine. The two get into all sorts of trouble that ends with Mariana, Javi’s ten year old niece, getting shot in the head by a group of assailants. The first episode tried to play against your senses and against what you would expect, but The Walking Dead  has been pulling that trick for so long, you come to expect any happen moment to end in bloodshed. Still, it was great episode and we’re happy to see Clem back and the story is really taking shape.

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The second episode, Ties That Bind Part 2, picks up immediately where you left off depending on the choice you made. Since I decided to stick with Clementine and bail on my family, Javi awoke after the explosion, the attackers have ran away in defeat, Clem thanks you for sticking with her, so that leaves only one thing left to do; bury your dead niece. Yes, that’s a part of the game and I have to say that I never thought I’d be attending a child’s funeral in a videogame, but here we are. It actually works for some emotional impact and it’s heartbreaking to see Javi breaking down, but luckily with Clem at his side, he keeps it together and the two head back to Prescott to check on Javi’s family. Gabe is still being an annoying brat and Kate is… well, Kate has had better days. Doesn’t look like she’s going to be making it much longer by the sound of things, but at the moment that’s the least of their worries as those jerks who attacked them, the ones who call themselves The New Frontier, are rolling up to the gates and demanding justice! Having Conrad’s girlfriend, Francine, as a prisoner, they snip off one of her fingers to get Javi to come down, but an untrusting Clem opens fire and everything goes to shit once again.

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Seriously, The Walking Dead, enough with the finger cutting offing.

It was during this action sequence, I started to realize how much button mashing was in the particular episode. More specially, the Q button on my keyboard. It seems like every action scene that follows requires you to mash the shit out of the Q key and it grows stale pretty quick. Anyway, the group makes it out alive, well except for Francine, to which Conrad has some choice words to say to Javi. Gabe will raise his gun at Conrad and you have the choice to either talk him down or talk down to him. You might be noticing that this is the case most of the time when dealing with Gabe and I’m just realizing the game is wanting us to shape him into the man he will become. Will he becomes good natured like Javi (if you are playing him that way) or will he become hot headed and dangerous like David, his father? It’s an interesting way to take this character development, similar to what you could do with Clem in the previous Walking Dead seasons. The group decides to head to Richmond, VA, assuming that nothing but good things await them there.

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After the situation diffuses the group finds themselves at a jam, literally. A couple of wrecked cars block their path and now is where you get to do some puzzle solving, kinda like what you did in Telltale’s Batman, only this is much more straightforward, almost like it’s on a rail. That does suck the fun and exploration out of it and makes it feel like a time consuming chore. Wouldn’t you know it, zombies await behind the wreckage and the group has once again fudged things up, but thanks to their new friend Jesus, they are able to find a way through the sewers and breaks the sour news to the group that The New Frontier has overtaken Richmond. Uh-oh, probably shouldn’t have sent Kate and Eleanor ahead. Jesus is by far the best thing about the game so far. Nicknamed after the lord and savior, this simultaneously trustworthy and untrustworthy dude talks like Christian Slater doing an impression of Jack Nicholson and does some near Matrix level martial arts, as he demonstrates once the group yet again makes the worst decision possible and makes the situation worse. But it does get worse for them. Clem reveals to Javi her true connection between herself and The New Frontier to which Conrad overhears and once separated from the others, threatens her with a gun and tries to convince Javi to side with him, using Clem as a bargaining chip once they reach Richmond. To further convince Javi, he puts a gun to Gabe’s head and you have a choice to either shoot Conrad or side with him. Wasn’t a hard decision for me.

Having reached Richmond, the group quickly finds the car with Kate inside and Eleanor missing, they also quickly find the gate to The New Frontier’s headquarters and Javi has a new plan; beg. Yup, walk right up to the gate and beg them to let you in for medical attention for Kate. A familiar face greets you at the gate and has reservations about letting you in, so you are given the choice of acting like a dick to him or trying to appeal to senses. No matter which path you take, it ends with a group of Frontier-ers coming down to take you in when you are greeted by their leader. Someone you know, someone you thought was dead and all the cliched, predictable storytelling moments in this episode lead up to this and I gotta say, I really can’t wait to see where it’s gonna go.

Clearly with the reintroduction to the familiar face at the end, Javi is going to have to make some hard choices, especially if you want to keep Clem as your friend. I think there are also going to be challenges with convincing Gabe to do the right thing, which is gonna make for a cool light side or dark side of the force kind of story arc with him. Although Ties That Bind Part 2 was full of stupid people making stupid decisions to move the story along, once the story got to where it wanted (which was at the end), it kinda made up for it, although I can’t forgive the repetitive button mashing action sequences that quickly wore thin. Nethertheless, episode 3, Above The Law (no, not the Steven Segal movie… although, that would be an awesome tie-in), should be out in about a week – February 7th-ish – and you know things are only going to get a hell of a lot uglier.

Goon Review: The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series – A New Frontier Episode 1: Ties That Bind

(Thanks so much to Mr. Andrew Peters for this radass review…I love all of TT’s TWD tit-les, and I shall be checking this one mout posthaste!! 🙂 xoxo)

Before we get started on the review, doesn’t that episode sound familiar? Like we’ve heard it before. Was this a title for another Walking Dead game or a superhero game of some kind? Anyway, it’s irrelevant. So, the third season of The Walking Dead subtitled A New Frontier debuted not only it’s first episode, but its second one as well, although for now we will only be talking about the first which is called Ties That Bind Part 1 and it does have some relevance into what happens. Personally, I would love a second season of The Wolf Among Us or Tales From the Borderlands, but I do want to see some closure with Clementine’s character, if done justice.

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Being the fourth Walking Dead series from Telltale, I was worried about this season coming off as stale, seeing as how TWD: Michonne was so milquetoast, it may as well not have existed. Not only that, any incarnation of TWD seems to pander to an audience that only wants to see gore and zombies, shaping itself after the television show. Michonne really suffered from having too many characters that had no substance and you didn’t care about them, which was extremely disappointing seeing as that’s what these games are known for. However, we’ve grown with TWD’s main character Clementine over two seasons. We’ve watched the decaying world – both the state of humanity and the physical form of them – tear away at her as she has resisted to become anything less, but the end of the second season saw her and Jane being pushed to the limit by an old friend.

However, A New Frontier doesn’t throw us right into Clementine’s situation yet. We’re introduced to a new character, Javi. The game opens right as the outbreak is taking place, but people aren’t really aware of it, as we see Javi running to his brother David’s home and explains that he’s late because the highway was congested. His brother insults him, even hits him, because their father died and Javi, being the favorite son, should have been there, but we learn that Javi was never really around. We’re also introduced to other family members, like David’s son Gabe, David’s wife Kate, which the two seem to have a mutual interest in one another and there are various other family members, but the only other one that really matters is Mariana, Javi’s younger niece. Suddenly, Mariana is bringing her grandfather’s favorite drinking cup to him as the others tell her that he’s sleeping, to which she tells them he isn’t… dun dun DUN! Not the strongest opening the series has had, but it was really decent, maybe even a little chilling. Javi’s got some potential to be a good character, so let’s see what’s in store.

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As they check the room, zombie gramps bites grandma on the face and another on the hand. David takes them to the hospital and Javi looks after Kate, Mariana and Gabe. We cut to someone time later and the four seem to have been traveling in a van not down by the river, but all over looking for food, gas, maybe even a home. Gabe and Mariana are asleep in the back seat, giving us the players some time with Kate and Javi to get to know them as Kate lights up a phatty and your first big choice is to toke with her or not. Okay, TWD, I get it. Weed’s legal now. This wakes up the kids just in time as you find a junkyard and you decide to explore it. Before doing so, you get a little bonding time with Mariana, kinda like how Lee did with Clem back in the first season. It was a nice touch to call back to that subtly, even if it doesn’t seem as strong. It’ll make sense when you play it.

Things go sour quickly after the group finds a cache of food and Javi is jumped by a group that seems to share a similar mark on their body, like they were branded like cattle. Javi lies about the having others with him and is en route to their base when a tree falls in the middle of the road, blocking the way and crashing the truck. Upon exiting, you have the option to shoot the driver or let him go, but that all depends on how cold blooded you are. Turns out that tree falling was no coincidence as the little saboteur reveals themself as… get ready for it… CLEMENTINE! She’s back and she’s a little older and has a potty mouth and an attitude. Oh Clem, what made you this way? Well, this is something you should know if you are playing with saved games from Seasons One and Two. The game shapes her and her past after what choices you made during your gameplay, which is very, very cool. If you don’t have any previous game saves, the games creates her past at random, so on my PS4 playthrough, I saw what happened to Clem and Jane after the events of the second season and although it was predictable, it was very sad because I liked Jane’s character. On my playthrough on PC that you can watch, I had no saves, so one was created for me and it was just uneventful and only led to Clem missing a finger for no reason. Huh, okay then.

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Clem and Javi pitstop at a safe town where the people seem friendly and you’re even introduced to a few new characters and get a little insight into Javi’s past. Personally, I liked Tripp who’s basically a loveable oaf. It doesn’t take long before Clem causes some problems and lands you in one of their homemade holding cells, but the most interesting thing is that nobody really seems to care about what happened. You’re given the option of sticking up for Clem or throwing her under the bus and if you do that, then I must believe you have no soul. You’re also given the option of sneaking out at night with one of the characters you met or waiting in the morning for Tripp to take you to the junkyard. Now, believe it or not, your choices will seemingly have a vastly different outcome. First time, I chose to sneak out only to arrive at the junkyard with two of my family members dead, so I went back and played again, waited for Tripp and got a much happier outcome… for the moment.

This is where the game really starts to take off. Seeing as how the truck is destroyed, Javi manages to convince Clem to head back to the junkyard to find his family and depending on how you converse with her, you can build a nice budding friendship, which is what I’m doing. I’ve missed Clem and I can’t be mean to her, seeing as we’ve already been through so much and I know what she’s lost. Once you reach the junkyard, it looks as if it’s been turned over and lit on fire, but you quickly find your family and everything seems like it’s going to be alright… yeah, sure. If there is one thing The Walking Dead tries to do way too much, it’s lull you into a false sense of security. I do have to admit, it kinda worked here. As Javi’s relationship was building with one of the characters, it became more clear what was going to happen, seeing as The Walking Dead just can’t help itself from steering away from this one trope, but it kinda got to me, especially as graphic as it happens. Your final choice is to stay and fight your attackers with Clem or bail with your family.

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After a long, overdue wait, Clementine is finally back and it’s great to see her again (especially after the remarkably disappointing Michonne). As gamers, we’ve grown up with Clem and to see her as the teenager she’s grown into is both depressing and you’re proud of her at the same time for making it as far as she has and depending on your choices, you get hints that she’s still the same girl you’ve grown to love. I’m excited to see what else she’s been up to since she’s been gone and at the time I’m scared at what might happen to her. At first, I thought Javi was just gonna be a cliched character with nothing interesting going on and was only going to be a vehicle for Clementine, but he’s actually shaping up into a likeably guy. Even if you decide to be a dick to everyone with him, you’re making the choices, so you still root for him. Javi and Clem make a great pair and luckily it’s not a retread of the father-daughter dynamic Clem and Lee had, but it’s something new altogether. Survivors becoming friends and that’s what The Walking Dead is all about! Part Two of Ties That Bind is looking to be another great episode, so we’ll dive into that one soon.

Goon Review: Batman: The Telltale Series – Episode 5: City of Light

(Presenting the epic conclusion of Mr. Andrew Peters learned take on Telltale’s Batman…Gracious gratitude, your Goon-y Greatness. 😉 xoxo)

Well, here we are. As they say, all good things must come to an end and that they do in the final episode of Telltale’s Batman. Along this journey, we’ve had some ups and we’ve had some downs, but for the most part I would say most of them were up. The game has been really enjoyable and the story has been engaging and capturing of my attention, so it’s kind of bittersweet that this is the final chapter in the saga. For now, anyway. I look back fondly at the series and I think Telltale has done such an amazing job telling a different kind of Batman story, basing it early in his, erm, career (?).

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The choices for Batman haven’t been easy and being that this is the last chapter in this series, I can’t imagine they are going to get any easier. Some of the choices I have been given has caused me great panic and if I haven’t seen the consequences of some of them, I am sure to by now (unless they are holding out to have a choice pay off in the second season). I’m actually excited to see how the series wraps up based on the decisions I made. I already can’t help but feel I made the wrong decisions on some of the choices and that’s all part of the experience; there really isn’t a right or wrong unless you view it that way. Everything you do merely shapes the story, so hopefully you are making the story that you want to play.

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Okay, so we have a few loose ends to tie up, one being of that little shit weasel Oswald Cobblepot who is holed up in Cobblepot Park with some drones trying to lure out the Batman. For starters, I’m pretty sure by now everyone, including the police, are aware that Oswald Cobblepot is the Penguin, so why don’t they just seize his assets? Wayne Enterprises could immediately fire him as CEO and he would have no money or anything instantly, but hey, what do I know. I’m no billionaire like Bruce Wayne who decides (based on my decision, actually) to confront the turd, seeing as how Bruce no longer has any properly functioning tech. Guess he really should have thought about integrating everything into his computer or at least have had a fail safe incase somewhere were to ever break into it. Major oversight for the world’s greatest detective, but I digress. Bruce is only acting as a distraction so that Gordon can destroy the signal that controls the drones and then it’s off to the iron bar hotel for the Penguin.

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I get the feeling things aren’t quite over between Oswald and Bruce, especially seeing that he will remember the final thing you say to him, but we will have to wait and see if he returns for the second season. Speaking of returning – or to be determined, rather – is Catwoman. Trying to flee Gotham on a stolen Wayne Tech prototype bike (almost like she wants to be tracked), Bruce tracks her down to tell her his real feelings, which you can choose to lie about, but how could I? I let Selina know how I, as Bruce, really felt in hopes of it making a big effect on the second season. As far as I know, there is nothing you can do to prevent her from leaving, but it was interesting to see how everything Selina and I had went through played out and to see the results. I think for the most part I was happy with the choices and I can’t wait to see her again, but for now, we still have the matter of Lady Arkham, aka Vicki Vale, who appears to have broken into Wayne Manor and kidnapped Alfred.

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This cue’s the final detective sequences of the game, as you have to piece together the crime scene left behind. A room is destroyed, blood is sprawled across the room… just who in the hell is gonna clean up this mess? If only Bruce still had a butler… Luckily, Alfred is one tough old bastard and leaves subtle clues behind using his blood to let Bruce know where he was taken. As you’re completing these puzzles, you really feel some dread as Telltale tend to be a little unpredictable, so there were moments where I wasn’t sure whether or not Alfred would be alive. Once you solve the first batch of clues, Lucius Fox shows up and gives you access to an older suit seeing as how you have regained access to the Bat-computer, so now we can focus and solve more clues to find the whereabout of Alfred, who has left some rather clever hints that I found to be really fun. Once solved, you not only find the whereabout of Alfred, but you also learn about Vicki’s tortured past to which Bruce does share a connection with and how she turned out the way she did. This also justifies, in a way, her parents’ murder.

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Tracking her down to Arkham Asylum, Batman finds the place has been overtaken by the Children of Arkham, which was no surprise to me. I didn’t exactly expect to waltz in there and nab Vicki. First you gotta go through waves of thugs until you finally reach Vicki for a final showdown. Of course, she begins the fight with the upper hand, threatening to kill Alfred and you are left with a possible major choice to make; whether or not to reveal or identity to her. I chose to reveal myself as Bruce Wayne to her, because even against Alfred’s wishes, Bruce would have done so to save his friend. Plus, we all know that bitch is gonna die at the end of this episode… or will she? That’s the thing about these Telltale games. You’ll just have to wait until the next season to find out! Finally, you are left with one more decision, to visit Gordon as Batman or Bruce Wayne. I chose Bruce, because I felt this was more his story and he needed to publicly clear his name, which he does. All seems well, but we can’t end out the episode until we’ve had a little stinger that shows a familiar face, John Doe, watching him on TV at a bar and remarking that he needs to pay Bruce a visit for his favor that is owed.

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In the end, I thought this was a rather solid Batman story, even if it did take me about halfway through to come around to some elements, like the angle of the Penguin. You get so use to him as a chubby short guy with mob ties, you fail to see him any other way, but the way Oswald is presented in this story makes total sense. There were also some surprises along the way that even caught me off guard, like Carmine Falcone getting plugged! Didn’t see that coming, but it was (again) done in a way that made sense to the story and didn’t feel shoehorned in for violence. Even though I feel Batman was more of a passenger during this ride, I moreso enjoyed the Bruce Wayne parts of the game. Telltale did a fantastic job developing his character, especially his relationships with Selina and Harvey. Speaking of those two, the game offers at least another playthrough to see how your relationships would change with either or both of them depending on the choices you have made. The only real drawback I can actually complain about is that from time to time the detective segments felt a little too drawn out and I felt forced to finish them just to move to story along. This was a little torturous, because if I was bored by them the first time around, I sure as hell am not gonna want to sit through them a second time. It’s not a terrible thing, but hopefully in the second season these will be approved upon. There were also a few technical bugs, like entire persons missing and nothing but their teeth and eyes left behind floating in the air, but it wasn’t game crashing or anything like that. Just removed me from the game mentally as I had a good chuckle.

With a wonderful cast that brought these characters to life and actually made you care about them and excited to see where they were going, I can’t wait to see what Telltale brings in the second season.

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Goon Review: Batman: The Telltale Series Episode 4 – Guardian of Gotham

(Submitted by Andrew “Goon-y Goon” Peters…Thank you, ho-mie!! 🙂 xoxo)

I’d like to start off by mentioning that if we’re gonna keep talking about this game, I can’t do much to hold back on spoilers that have previously happened. Having said that, we’re gonna be jumping into some major ones right away, so consider that your only warning.

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Things are not looking good for Bruce Wayne. After having to resign and hand his company over to Oswald Cobblepot, he’s immediately drugged by Vicki Vale who reveals herself to be the notorious new villain that’s been causing panic all over the city, Lady Arkham. With a high dose of drugs in his veins, Bruce jumps Oswald Cobblepot, which is caught on the news and Harvey has him committed to Arkham Asylum, which is supposed to be ironic seeing as it’s where his father sent many others. Bruce awakens in a cell and is almost immediately jumped by a couple of inmates sent there by his father after they pay off a guard, but a rather unsuspecting… erm, ally comes to his aide. One with a smile and a grin that they call John Doe seeing as they don’t know his real name. I gotta say, at first I was worried about them working this specific character into the story, seeing as he tends to be a show stealer and this story needed to be about Bruce, but his introduction is short, serves a purpose and is really well done. Gotta give the writers major kudos for pulling that off and to the voice actor for not trying to do impressions of the previous actors that have portrayed this character and instead going with something like a James Woods impression that actually really works. Also wanted to point out the cameo by Arnold Wesker, aka the Ventriloquist.

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Bruce’s stay at Arkham isn’t exactly friendly, seeing as everyone from staff to inmates want to kill him, not to mention Lady Arkham and Penguin running amok and starting a war with Harvey, so it’s time to get out of here, but how? Well, you are given the decision to go along with John Doe’s plan when a fight breaks out, so you can stop that. To me, Bruce would always try to do the right thing, so I tried to stop the fight, which was a fun little action scene, but only landed me in a one on one with a doctor. Luckily, Alfred comes to the rescue and has you taken out of that miserable place, but John Doe reminds Bruce about paying a visit to the Vale residence, so off we go! Well, a quick stop by Wayne manor first to have a chat with Selina and Alfred and whether or not you should lose your shit on some bystanders blocking your car. There’s something I haven’t mentioned yet, something that is presented throughout all of Telltale’s games; you do have the option to say nothing at all and there are very rare times, like as I found with the latter, it’s best at times to remain silent.

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Onward to the Vale’s home and someone really should have tidied up the place, I mean, Batman is stopping by after all. Yes, someone has torn apart the Vale’s home and killed Mr. and Mrs. Vale, but who it could it be a I wonder? Who on Earth could have done this? It’s no secret who did it, but the why is the real mystery here. Once again, you dive back into detective mode as you piece together the puzzle and it’s much easier this time around and somehow less stale feeling. Either it was really starting to grow on me or maybe it was investigating a murder inside a home that made me feel more like a detective. Nonetheless, that cursed Cobblepot sends a drone to stop you, but Batman vs. a drone? C’mon, who do you think is gonna win? Well, turns out Batman’s gadgets don’t work on the drone, meaning Oswald has upgraded the drones and this Batman is basically defenseless. Note how I said “this Batman”. Throughout this game, I don’t think Batman has much of a presence. You spend a fair amount of time playing as him and, yes I am aware this is more of a Bruce Wayne game, but Batman is really… weak, for the lack of a better word. He doesn’t come off as threatening and you don’t get the impression that bad guys all over Gotham fear him. Maybe I’m in the minority here, but I feel like Telltale is making Batman the weakest link in his own game.

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Where one problem is solved, there’s always another to be solved, amirite? Harvey has gone totally bonkers at this point and is basically waging a war against the Children of Arkham, which I know sounds like a good thing, except he’s willing to do it at the expense of civilians or whoever just happens to be in the way. You’re presented with the choice of confronting him as Batman or as Bruce and personally, I chose Bruce, because I felt it’s something he would try to do; talk some sense into his friend. Of course, for me, it didn’t go so well and I found myself on the knees in the middle of an alley… hey, THAT’S not what was going to happen. I should backup. Harvey murders a whole bunch of innocent people by blowing up places he thinks Children of Arkham are operating and thinks of the old Tyler Durden saying, “if you wanna make an omelette, you gotta break a few eggs.” Bruce doesn’t agree and Harvey thinks he should die, so he sends a couple of cops to cap Bruce in the back of an alley, but luckily Bruce manages to buy some time with some suave talking and just in time for Gordon to save his neck. There are a lot of coincidental close calls in this game that I am doubting the intelligence and skill of both Bruce Wayne and Batman.

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Things were getting pretty intense and they show no signs of slowing down as you’re again thrown into a situation that you must choose between either stopping Harvey who has learned of Bruce’s escape and storming Wayne Manor or heading to Wayne Enterprises to stop Penguin from screwing with all your techy bat-shit. Once again acting as the moral police, I decided to do what I think Batman would really do and I headed back to Wayne Manor to save my buddy Alfred where I was treated to an action sequence that led to a final showdown with Harvey! I feel like this scene would have played out much cooler if I had let Penguin burn half his face off. This was the point where I noticed that all of these choices are playing out like I failed to save Harvey back at the debate and maybe should have never slept with Selina and saved her instead. But that’s what these games do to ya to get you back in saddle for another playthrough. Touche, Telltale.

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Since I opted to stop Harvey, Penguin is nearly about to breach the Bat-computer, comprising everything, so Batman himself chucks a bat-a-rang at the biggest wire in site and shuts it all down, because that’s how that works. Now all of his gear is offline, so I’m sure I just made the final episode real enjoyable. Great, no toys.
With Harvey now out of the picture, that leaves just Penguin and Lady Arkham herself, but more trouble is sure to get in the way. I have to say that even with all my gripes and nitpicks, I’m still really enjoying this game and I have to hand it to the writers at Telltale for telling a really gripping Batman story. Aside from the titular character himself, I find the characters to be absolutely compelling and really interesting, so hopefully we can see Batman act a little more competent in the final episode!

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Goon Review: Batman: The Telltale Series: Episode 3: New World Order

(Submitted by Mr. Andrew Peters…Thanks Kinky Ho-bot! 🙂 xoxo)

Oh man, we are in for a world of shit (a New World Order, amirite?). The third episode of Telltale’s Batman series entitled New World Order is all amount making some choices that seem like they are going to have some serious repercussions and lemme tell ya… they do. Oh, they do. I feel like I am saying this and going to continue saying this, but this episode has you making the biggest decisions yet, one of which is really gonna leave you feeling dirty if you do, but damned if you don’t.

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The third episode opens up with Harvey in the hospital and depending on if you attempted to save him or not, he’s either going to still look as sharp as ever or like half the man he used to be. I mentioned in the last review on Episode 2 that I felt Batman would have attempted to save Harvey and knew Selina could handle herself, so I acted on that. Harvey looks good and all, seems thankful, but something isn’t right with the guy. Seems like the drug he was giving may be resurfacing some old, violent feelings. This is immediately followed up with a seemingly tough decision to help either Officer Montoya who is in trouble with the Children of Arkham or Harvey who seems to be in a similar predicament. I say seemingly because it had no effect on what happens to any character this episode and Batman doesn’t seem any closer to finding anything out about this new villain.

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That’s enough about Batman, what about Bruce Wayne, who this game is really about? Giving the recent light about his family’s dealings with crime boss Carmine Falcone and how Thomas Wayne was pretty much a despicable scumbag, Bruce is being told he’s gotta step down as CEO of Wayne Enterprises, but not to worry as they have already found a perfect replacement; Oswald Cobblepot! Clearly, this stinks and I’m not talking about the fish in the room. Bruce knows he’s being setup and this interaction is actually quite a bit of fun as you can play on all different reactions Bruce would have, like from being apologetic and self loathing or the route I took, being a smug, sarcastic dick to Oz. Screw this guy. He’s already shown his intentions, so there is no reason to be nice to this guy. At the end of it is another decision that I hadn’t really noticed a major outcome of and that is to have Lucious Fox leave Wayne Enterprises with you or stay on board as your eyes and ears. As I said, I’m not sure what difference this would make, but I told him to stay put. Never hurts to have a spy on the inside.

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So, why would Wayne Enterprises appoint Oz, a criminal, as the new CEO? Well, not only has he wiped his background (I guess it’s that easy), but it also looks good for the company to appoint the guy whose mother was unjustly committed to Arkham by Thomas so he could steal her fortune. Told you this guy was a scumbag. Seriously, the more I hear about Thomas, the more I hate him and it somehow really changes the impact Batman’s origin has on you. Sure, he’s doing the right thing, but his dad kinda deserved what he got. Even Vicki Vale seems to think so and it’s up to Batman to try and set things straight with her in another interaction that, you guessed it, seemingly doesn’t have any consequence. For the first time in this game, maybe even a Telltale game, I’m beginning to feel like my actions don’t have any real weight to the world it’s shaping and maybe this – the game’s – outcome is predetermined. Maybe I’m jumping to conclusions.

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The game also has some more detective solving to do, but this time around, I gotta admit that it feels weak and I wasn’t fascinated with it. In fact, I found myself rushing through it just to get the story moving again, because that’s where the real interest is. I wanted to see what happens next. This time, the investigating takes place at a train depot where Batman attempts to further unravel the Children of Arkham’s plan, but when Catwoman shows up, things go to shit real quick and you’re treated with another fight sequence along with your first duel with this new bad guy. It’s not a tough brawl, but it is pretty fun. Batman and Catwoman escape back to her place and I think we all know what could happen if you play your cards right. And I did. And they do. Pow. I knew I shouldn’t have, because of Harvey’s feelings for her, but I can’t resist her or the real connection we (I mean Bruce, of course) have. Look at that babe. How could you not? Needless to say, Harvey shows up and attacks them both revealing his true self, big bad Harv. Bruce and Selina notice that he has a personality disorder and like good friends, you are forced to whoop his ass and once you are done, he leaves. Sure, I was feeling a little guilty, but that Selina Kyle… M’ROW!

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For the finale of this episode, Bruce needs to address the CEO change at Wayne Enterprises and is asked to read from the teleprompter or ad lib. I think I knew what we would all do. I slang mud at Oz, because once again, fuck that guy, dropped the mic and walked off stage. If you thought that was intense, brother, you ain’t seen nothing yet. While in the audience, Bruce is having a chat with a character we know and is well established who pricks him with a pen, injecting him with the same toxin Harvey was at the debate. This character then reveals themself to be the leader of the Children of Arkham! I won’t say who or even what the villain’s name is, because that would spoil it (although in later reviews I will have to, but for now you will be spared), but I have to admit that it got one over one me. I didn’t see it coming. Not in a long shot, so kudos to Telltale!

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All in all, New World Order seemed to have some very heavy decisions, but you notice quickly that they had absolutely no consequence… at first. Later, I started think about what if I had done something differently, like not snogged Selina. I couldn’t help but wonder if Harvey still would have gone ballistic if I had been there. Now that I think about it, most likely. I feel like the consequences in this episode are short lived, if at all and won’t have any effect in later episodes. They didn’t seem to have that much of an impact, but I do have to say the story here is really start to take noticeable shape and I’m beginning to really feel for Bruce. I don’t think he’s no longer an whiny emo kid, but rather a good guy on the fence about everything. Who his father is, what’s happening to his best friend, his feelings for a girl. All while some twit is taking your company out from under you when you know he’s up to no good and a new villain is causing problems. I gotta say, you really start to feel that pressure on every decision you make, so maybe they don’t have to have an impact, because they are making you worry that they will. It’s these kind of decisions that Telltale has cleverly inserted into the game so that you will want to play through a second or a third time.

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So even though the detective stuff wasn’t anything to write home about, there was some action that felt pretty good finally be able to do more as Batman, but it was this story where you really feel the characters becoming who they really are and that’s what made me hooked. I like these characters – including Oz, who I was unsure about for the first two episodes – and I can’t wait to see what happening next, especially since we now know who the villain is and Bruce has the drug in him! Shit’s about to get real!

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Batman: The Telltale Series, Episode 2- Children of Arkham Review

Submitted by Mr. Andrew Peters…Thanks for sharing your gameplay vids with us (see below), and for the super reminder that I need to freakin’ play this game already!!! 😉 xoxobatmanarWell, the first episode certainly left off on a “boom” kind of moment, didn’t it? Bruce Wayne’s dad, Thomas Wayne, a bad guy? Certainly seems like it, but Carmine Falcone could have been blowing smoke up the Bat’s butt, but something tells me that we have only begun to scratch the surface. Batman: The Telltale Series’s second episode entitled Children of Arkham picks up right where the last one left off, with Bruce and Alfred about to get into some serious words. Bruce is angry at Alfred for keeping the true nature of his parents a secret, so clearly some critical choices are about to be made…

Nope. Not yet, anyway.

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It’s actually after the fight, Bruce is in Crime Alley recalling the night his parents were murdered as Alfred is helping him recall the event to dig up any memories that Bruce may have locked away, maybe something he doesn’t want to remember and boy, does he. Turns out, he remembers hearing his father talk about Carmine Falcone, meaning that his parents’ death wasn’t just a random murder, but someone wanted and paid for them to be dead. The obvious person behind the hit would be Falcone, so off to the hospital to visit him and the first critical choice can be made here; whether you want to ease his pain or to end it! I chose to ease the pain, because I am taking the route that Bruce Wayne is not as sinister as his father as we are learning. After pressing Falcone hard for some information on his father, Bruce Wayne will finally be getting some answers… or at least he expected to. A gunman stops Falcone shockingly unexpectedly only to reveal a bigger plot element; they are being manipulated with a drug that makes a person free of any personal restrictions or fear. Hmm, sounds like the Scarecrow’s MO. Could he be making an appearance as well? A part of me feels doubtful, but we may see Telltale’s iteration of him possibly. Immediately afterwards is another key choice you have to make, either tell Vickie Vale who the gunman is or totally snub her. Vickie feels like an element that doesn’t quite work, but maybe because I’m deciding to work more closely with Jim Gordon and Harvey Dent. I’m sure based on the choices you can make, she could have a larger role, but in my game, she pops up and I have to make choices and then she’s gone and I’m not sure if there’s any real consequence.

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Perhaps I should slow down and take things as they come. After all, what just happened was kind of a huge shock, but this episode is only gonna pick up steam from here and the choices are not only going to become more difficult to make, but will also shape the rest of the game. Anyhow, Batman’s got himself a Penguin to catch! This leads him back to Falcone’s club where Oswald Cobblepot has started to make himself at home and seems to be taking over Falcone’s empire (again, much like the show, Gotham). They squabble for a bit and Penguin leaves you with a goon to go chase down Catwoman, so you get a fight scene which is good and all, but the real entertainment happens afterwards when Bruce tracks down Selina at a bar in an attempt to beat the thugs there and save her. And I do mean “beat”. What follows is by far the most fun I’ve had in the game so far; Bruce and Selina, not Batman and Catwoman, get into a massive bar brawl with some hipster thugs (on a side note, why are all of Penguin’s goons hipsters?) to a rock song. It’s all QTE, but that doesn’t mean it’s dull. I was enjoying myself watching these two team up to lay the smack down on them as their regular selves, but I think the greatest thing about it is the sense of relationship development between them, because immediately afterwards you’re left with a critical choice to either kiss Selina or resist, but how could I? She’s a pretty lady who can handle a bar full of scum. Sadly, she rejected me and reminded me about my loyalty to Harvey. Pour some ice cold water on that groin and move along.

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There’s been all this talk about Mayor Hill and it’s now that Bruce decides he needs to visit Gotham’s corrupt Mayor to get some answers about his parents, since their families are tied. Going into this, I knew I was going to have to make a choice I wasn’t comfortable with, even if it was the right one. Mayor Hill offers you the info, but only if you cut funding to Harvey’s campaign, but he’s my bro! Can’t do that, so I told Mayor Hill to take a hike and needless to say, he didn’t give me the scoop I needed. So much for that. Guess there’s always a different approach, but for now it’s time for the great debate; Dent Vs. Hill. But before that, a call from Harvey where he says he has to distance himself from you, publicly shame you, but he still wants your money. Hard, but important choice to make on whether or not you continue to back the twerp, but I’m a good friend, so I did. Anyway, the Penguin, having made threats on both candidates, crashes the party, but Batman enlists the help of Catwoman to stop him seeing as how the GCPD always seems useless. This finale to the episode brings you to the hardest decision you will probably have to make the entire game once the fighting begins. Everyone is scattered and being beaten, so Batman only has time to save one person in time, either Catwoman or Harvey. I chose to save Harvey seeing as how Catwoman can handle herself, so it felt like a very Batman thing to do. However, if you choose to save Catwoman, Harvey is scarred, thus creating Two-Face! Well, physically anyway, because even if you save him, Bruce comments that the event changed him and there will be some mental scarring. That goes double for Bruce as Penguin publicly leaks some rather intense footage of Bruce’s father being a scumbag. But behind all of this is the puppeteer. Some nameless, kinda a mix between Hot-Topic fetish gear and something from Death Note, villain that calls their group The Children of Arkham. It’s gonna get a whole lot darker from here, I feel.

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The second episode of Batman starts off slower, but purposely slow so that it may catch you off guard about halfway through when it constantly presents you with very important choices that are going to permanently shape the rest of the game based on your choices. I had a very hard time choosing most of these and maybe I made a few impulse choices, because I couldn’t decide, but I stuck to my gut and decided to protect Harvey. He’s Bruce’s friend and what’s best for Gotham and I felt that’s what Batman would have done. Of course, even though I know she’s “dating” Harvey, I couldn’t resist trying to kiss Selina, since you do feel the connection she and Bruce share and I can only feel that’s gonna escalate and come back to bite me on the ass, so bring it on, Episode Three!

Batman: A Telltale Game- Chapter One- Realm of Shadows Review

(Happy #SuperheroSunday, fiendbots!! This rockin’ review brought to you courtesy of Mr. Andrew Peters. Thanks, So Much More than Ho-rror Ho-mie!!! 😉 xoxo)

Over the years, no matter the media, we’ve seen a lot of different iterations of The Batman. From campy with nipples on his suit to somewhat serious and dark tone, everyone has their own idea what or how the Dark Knight should be represented. Telltale Games representation of the caped crusader seems to be a mish-mash of numerous Batman incarnations, like the Arkham series from Rocksteady, to the TV series Gotham and even a little bit of Tim Burton’s Batman. It’s actually a pretty good mix for the most part and although a few things bugged me, it’s overall really, really good.

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The game starts out with some action as Batman is taking down some seriously armed thugs and the game then cuts back and forth to a conversation with Alfred about Bruce pushing his limits. Sound familiar? Well it should, because Alfred went on and on about it in Batman Begins. In fact, another similarity it shares with that film is Batman is still relatively new to the scene. The cops have a task force specially designed to hunt him down, led by James Gordon, who is actually in cahoots with the Batman. The other cops don’t seem to know this as they will just open fire on the poor bastard. Anyway, after knocking out the thugs, Batman has his first run-in with Catwoman, rocking the Jim Lee style costume and black goth makeup. For a video game character, she looks pretty hot, as much as I hate using that word to describe looks. After a brief battle, she escapes and Bruce returns to the Batcave to analyze the data he found on the scene Catwoman was trying to steal. Of course, more lecturing from Alfred, Batman’s parents are still dead, blah, blah and now comes the oddest addition to the game. You ready for this?

telltale1 telltale2Oswald Cobblepot (you know, the Penguin?) is Bruce Wayne’s childhood friend. He’s looking a lot like David Tenant (“NICE!!!!!” -D.P.) and has a thing for crime. Clearly this is the major influence coming from the show Gotham, but it’s kind of… weird. I dunno, I didn’t hate this change, it just kinda threw me off and I can’t seem to get use to the idea. In any case, the two haven’t seen each other since they were kids, yet Bruce is able to recognize him right away (probably from keeping an eye on him) at his fancy party he’s throwing for Harvey Dent, who is running for mayor against the corrupt Mayor Hill, who I mostly remember as kind of a weenie from Batman: The Animated Series. Carmine Falcone crashes the party and tells Bruce and Harvey to play along or they’ll regret it. Of course being a Telltale Game, that option is very much up to you.

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After meeting up with Oswald, or “Oz” as Bruce calls him and Oz calls Bruce “Brucey” (just go with it), you learn the Cobblepot fortune is gone and he tells Bruce he plans on bringing Anarchy to Gotham and taking back what is his, clearly setting his character up very early. However that won’t be so easy with Carmine Falcone in the way, who Bruce knows he has to take down if Harvey is ever going to get elected and set the city straight once and for all. You finally get to be Batman once again and start solving crimes and taking down scumbags, but the game has plenty of surprises in it and one hell of a cliffhanger ending that will leave you in anticipation for the second episode.

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This is just as much of a Bruce Wayne game as it is a Batman game. Actually come to think of it, it’s more of a Bruce Wayne game. You spend a great deal as the billionaire playboy analyzing data or making important decisions. These decisions will come back to haunt you and will shape the game you play in later chapters. For instance, toward the end you have the option of giving the evidence against Falcone to either Jim Gordon or reporter Vicky Vale. I forgot to mention that talking to Vicky also has its consequences, but it all depends on how you approach her and one crucial bit where you can choose what kind of statement to give to the press, if you decide to leave one. As usual, all of the decisions have to be made in precise timing, each answer representing a different attitude and possibly affecting your future relationship with that character.

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Playing as Batman has a few different modes. Knowing it couldn’t be answering questions, this is where the game throws the QTEs (remember, that’s Quick Time Events) at you and they come at you real fast. I often found myself pressing the wrong buttons or not quick enough, yet there didn’t seem to be a real consequence for doing so. I noticed there was a little Batman meter in the lower left corner that filled up when you pressed a button correctly and decreased when you messed up. I never decreased it all the way, but I assume the game would end and you start at the checkpoint. The fight scenes are pretty satisfying, maybe more so than a button masher, but the real fun comes in the detective parts of the game. That’s right, you get to solve puzzles! Using different gadgets for a multitude of things, like tracking the trajectory of a bullet or figuring out how to take out a number of armed guards, the game leaves you to solve these clues using the devices they give you. There is a small number of these in the game, but that’s alright since it’s a really solid Batman story.

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I don’t think it’s Telltale’s greatest game (so far, I give that nod to A Wolf Among Us…Fuck yes, I LOVE that game!!!!“), but I can’t make the assessment yet, as this is only the first chapter and there are four more to go. Minus the whole weird Oswald Cobblepot thing (and even that could turn around), this is a really cool, really tense Batman story, even if it gets a little too melodramatic at times. I can’t wait to see where they go with Oz and to see Catwoman return and what her relationship with Bruce/Batman fleshes out into and if Harvey will become Two-Face… or if there are any surprise villains for future episodes? Guess we’ll have to tune in to the same Bat-channel when the second chapter is released. (On Sept. 20, if you were wondering. ;))