Review – The Walking Dead: Michonne – A Telltale Miniseries – Episode 1

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Telltale Games’ “The Walking Dead: Michonne” (TWD: Michonne) brings depth and a whole new perspective to a familiar character.

The story takes place during Michonne’s absence from the comics, specifically between issues #126 and #139. Though the game takes place in the comic book universe, fans of the television series will be happy to know that both the writing and Samira Wiley’s (Orange is the New Black) performance honors Dani Gurira’s (The Walking Dead) portrayal of the character.

The prologue shows a wearied Michonne haunted by the loss of her daughters. The repressed memories bring Michonne to a breaking point where she plans to take her own life. Fast forward four months and the blade-wielding warrior has joined Pete – not to be confused with Pete from the second season – and his crew on the high seas. A distress signal leads Michonne and Pete to a ferry where the passengers and crew have all been slaughtered. The duo’s investigation lands them in some hot water.

This is the first time Telltale Games have given players control of a notable character from The Walking Dead franchise. Fans of the comic book and television series know Michonne as a tough, strong-willed and an often detached survivor. But the first episode, “In Too Deep” sails into uncharted waters (literally and metaphorically) by letting fans go beyond the hardened warrior’s tough exterior and experiencing her internal struggles firsthand.

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Click to enlarge.

The exploration of Michonne’s state of mind coupled with Telltale’s ability to deliver great character-driven stories should make for one hell of game, but the first episode is surprisingly straightforward. Granted it’s effectively an introduction to a new story and setting, but the game’s strongest moments are tied to Michonne and her hallucinations. The apparitions of her daughters pop out of nowhere, reminiscent of Alma from “F.E.A.R.”  The antagonists (at this point) are pretty much bad for the sake of being bad, and the characters outside of Michonne and Pete’s ship mates are as unlikable as Clementine’s group of survivors from season two.

The episode’s cliffhanger ending was a little anticlimactic, but given Telltale’s impressive track record for hard-hitting endings, they get the benefit of the doubt for now. Instead, the trouble comes from the slightly truncated format. They only have three episodes to do what they normally would in five. Hopefully a shorter arc results in a tighter story instead of an abrupt or rushed ending.

Telltale’s cel-shading animation continues to be on point, especially in the stylish opening credits. The band Dorothy provides the soundtrack with “Gun in My Hand” as panels from the comics are superimposed over Telltale’s signature aesthetic. It’s as if the “Breaking Bad” soundtrack collided with the “Jessica Jones” intro.

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Click to enlarge.

Similar to the previous games, TWD: Michonne remembers the choices you made throughout the chapter and alters the game accordingly. You do not need a previous saved game file from either of the prior titles. The mechanics of the game remain the same for the most part but are a bit more polished; combos are a new feature added to this game. It’s only used once, but it a neat addition to the button-mashing quick-time events.

Overall, “In Too Deep” is a good introduction to Telltale’s latest “The Walking Dead” title but with only two episodes left, they’ll need to pick up the pace in order to deliver a hard-hitting ending.

Side note: The aquatic setting could prove to be an interesting obstacle, which might provide player’s an idea of what to expect from the second season of “Fear the Walking Dead.”


Lawr_avThe writer of this piece is: Laurence Almalvez
Laurence tweets from @IL1511

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