I’ve loved pretty much every title Telltale Games have put out over the past few years. My favourite franchise by far though, remains The Walking Dead. Yes, there’s no denying that Tales from the Borderlands was damn stellar. I just find that there was something extra special about the two seasons of The Walking Dead. Both have stuck with me long after the credits rolled.
When Telltale announced a new miniseries, The Walking Dead: Michonne, you could say I was more than a little excited. It would provide more tough decision making in the zombie apocalypse, and instead of stepping into the shoes of unknown characters, we’d be taking the role of Michonne – the iconic, katana wielding badass. She’s a fascinating character, and one whose story I’d love to explore more of.
I’ve now gotten a taste of things to come now, thanks to the first episode of the show, ‘In Too Deep’. Is it any good? Well, yes and no…
The opening of The Walking Dead: Michonne does a fantastic job in setting up her character. Whether you know her from the source material or not, the first few minutes of the game will give you a perfect gist of what she’s been going through.
We find Michonne stumbling through the woods, alone. Within seconds, she’s having hallucinations of two children, her own, who she unintentionally left behind a long time ago at the outset of the zombie apocalypse. She’s been battling with this trauma for ages. Not knowing whether they are dead or alive (though the former almost seems guaranteed) has definitely taken a toll on her psyche, and piled atop all the other issues she has.
She ends up battling several walkers, all the while trying to keep her grip on reality. The first sequence plays out with the environment shifting between her own home, and the patch of woods she happens to be passing through, and my word, is it spectacular.
Those first few minutes are honestly stunning and breaktaking – a true Telltale masterpiece sequence. Right then and there, I was invested, and ready to get lost in this world yet again. Unfortunately though, as the game progresses, it begins to lose steam.
You see, Michonne is really the only thing that keeps the first episode together. As a character, she is genuinely interesting, and she carries this miniseries intro on her shoulders.
The others meanwhile, apart from maybe one or two, all seem to feel flat and lifeless. On top of this, as excited as I was to play as Michonne, I found that the magic of decision making got somewhat lost when I stepped into her shoes.
When I played as Lee and Clem in season 1 and 2 respectively, they were relatively new and unknown to me. Even Clem, though I grew to know her a lot in season 1, was still a child in season 2. Making decisions with her felt like I was making them myself – like I was moulding her into the character I wanted her to be.
Seeing as I’m almost up to date with the comics, I found it tricky to do the same with Michonne. Instead of making decisions myself, I sat and imagined what she would do given certain situations. I normally like to play Mr Nice Guy, but I found that very hard to do with her given that I’ve witnessed the sorts of horrors she’s been through.
This however, is something only I and certain others will experience. If you are coming into this franchise clean, you shouldn’t have the same issue.
Despite those criticisms, The Walking Dead: Michonne is still highly enjoyable. Telltale’s engine may be showing its age (seriously, they need to upgrade it or do something new at some stage), but their set pieces are still something to be admired.
Michonne is a master with blade weapons, and as a result, really skilled at close-quarters combat. Action sequences are deliciously brutal. They’re still QTE affairs however, but no matter – I loved every single one of them, and I really cannot wait to experience more of that fast paced goodness in episodes 2 and 3.
Other than the action, When she’s not chopping off limbs, Michonne spends the rest of her time wondering around and interacting with the environment and other characters, which, if you’ve played a Telltale game before, will feel immediately familiar. Those segments make for good fillers between all the dialogue and action taking place at any given time.
Overall, did I enjoy The Walking Dead: Michonne? Yes, as a big fan of the whole franchise, I certainly did. There’s no denying that there are flaws in the game though.
Michonne is a strong character, who’s just unfortunately, surrounded by others that I feel like we’ve seen before. They seem new and different on the surface, but really, they’re what we’ve seen before, just repacked into something new. The same can be said for the story to an extent. I just can’t shake the feeling that I’ve played this same game before.
Thankfully, these 90 minutes make up just the first episode. I’m sure, or rather, hope Telltale have a lot more in-store for Michonne and her friends in the coming content.
Last Updated: February 25, 2016