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Video Game Review: The Walking Dead — A New Frontier, Episode 3

April 5, 2017 | By Mike Chen | Comments Comments Off
Above the LawClementine rejoins Javi’s band of survivors in Above the Law.

Please note that since each episode of The Walking Dead — A New Frontier features the same graphics engine and control setup, those elements will not be repeated in our reviews for the final four episodes. To read our thoughts on that, refer to our review of Ties That Bind Part I.

In post-apocalyptic fiction, you can only rely on survival tropes for so long. After that, it’s gotta be about interesting characters and strong world-building — rebuilding the world is much more interesting than surviving it.

The best part of The Walking Dead — A New Frontier, Episode 3: Above the Law is that most of it deals with the inner workings of the Richmond community. You get to see its leadership, rules, and outliers, both directly and then flipped on itself, and that makes for an interesting story.

Javi and the sudden return of his jerk brother David power the narrative here, and while David borders on caricature a lot of the time, it presents itself as much more engaging than the first two episodes of the season.

Clementine returns, too, and while she’s really only half of the episode — including a standalone flashback segment — her story is probably the most engaging. We haven’t decided if that’s because we as players have a longer history with her or if because her stakes are higher. Perhaps both.

While Above the Law’s story is markedly better than the start of this season, it sings the best when Clementine is in the picture. We just hope that the bubbling conflict here doesn’t play into the tropes we’ve seen in all forms of Walking Dead media (AKA “people are horrible and violent forever and ever and ever”).

The flipside to this improved narrative is a seeming lack of choice. If you’ve played Telltale games long enough, it’s usually easy to tell when your choice makes a lasting impact on the branching path and when the developers make it an illusion that just funnels you along.

In the case of Above the Law, it’s more of the latter, other than the cumulative “This character will remember that” notification — and even that didn’t even come up that much. The ongoing joke about Telltale games is that they’ve transformed from adventure games to pure conversation simulators, and that seems to be the case here.

OVERALL (4/5)

While light on consequence, a markedly improved story powers Above the Law to a level surpassing the season’s first two episodes. Telltale still hasn’t matched the quality of the first two seasons (or the recent Batman series), but at least these walkers have found their stride.

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Blu-ray Review: Office Christmas Party

April 3, 2017 | By Herija Green | Comments Comments Off
There’s a lot of comedic talent here and plenty of quirky roles to showcase it. Rob Corddry, who is such a vital part of Ballers‘ success, is great as the salty office veteran that seems to find the downside of pretty much everything. Jillian Bell is a female pimp, and while she’s pretty much playing the same character she did in 22 Jump Street she’s still producing laughs.
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The Wire Troll: Sven Andrighetto Generating Avalanche of Offense

April 2, 2017 | By David Weightman | Comments Comments Off
Called up from the minors midway through the season, Weal has scored eight goals in just 20 games, including goals in each of the last four games, all of them wins for the Flyers. The team has moved him to the second line, and he is now on the second power play unit, which explains why his TOI has gone from 10 to nearly 17 minutes a game over the past few games. Weal has really delivered for the Flyers, and for our money he may have worked his way onto the team’s must-protect list for the upcoming expansion draft.
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The Wire Troll: Bismack Biyombo Getting a Bit More Burn in Orlando

April 1, 2017 | By RotoRob | Comments Comments Off
Hollis-Jefferson is on a roll, scoring at least 11 points in four straight games, putting up one double-double and three near misses. His PT is up, and he’s even contributing some blocks (four in the last three games). Three of Hollis-Jefferson’s five double-doubles this season occurred in March as he gets more action and establishes himself as a building block in Brooklyn. Pick him up in all formats to take advantage of his strong finish.
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Video Game Review: Everything

March 30, 2017 | By Mike Chen | Comments Comments Off
In Everything, control everything you see (and don’t see) in this image. The butterfly effect is the idea that small changes can effect big changes (also a terrible horror movie), and DoubleFine’s Everything is a game built around that idea. There’s no narrative or direction, but Everything does have scope — from the biggest of the [...]
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