The premiere episode of The Walking Dead: Michonne provides a combat-filled experience that will please fans of both TellTale Games and The Walking Dead.
The three-episode series entitled The Walking: Dead Michonne will focus on Michonne’s traumatic past, detailing a period from the comic books in which the machete-wielding survivor sets off from Rick’s group in order to sort out her inner demons. Although The Walking Dead: Michonne is meant as a filler whilst the studio works on the third season of The Walking Dead, gamers should make no mistake: this miniseries kicks off to fantastic start, and is absolutely worth playing.
The first episode, In Too Deep, will start off shortly after Michonne has left the group from the comics, and officially takes place between issues 126 and 139 of the canon lore. The interim show is meant as a pick-me-up after season two of The Walking Dead slowed down the series’ momentum, and fans will be relieved to hear that things will definitely pick back up with Michonne at the helm.
The mechanics behind the game will be intimately familiar to anyone who has played a TellTale title before: there are plenty of quicktime events that involve directional controls, and a series of actions that require one or two button presses. As one might expect in a Michonne-based game, the first episode provides more combat than the average TellTale production, and players will find no shortage of gory machete kills, physical combat, and sequences involving multiple zombies getting in on the action.
When things slow down, players will become involved in various conversations that provide a limited time to respond from a list of choices. Players will once again be forced to pick sides as survivors find themselves at odds, and players will begin making choices that are sure to affect their experience in the second and third episodes. The writing behind In Too Deep introduces Michonne’s traumatic memories, and players will find themselves questioning who to trust as the episode progresses. Nothing is black and white here, as The Walking Dead is full of plenty of gray areas. Thankfully, the voice acting behind the main characters is done well, and all of the actors deliver consistently good performances.
In essence, TellTale Games has continued their impressive streak of creating great characters, crafting realistic dialogue, and fleshing out an overarching narrative. Halfway through the episode, Michonne will be able to express herself without the need for a vocal reply, and players will know exactly what her gestures mean. Likewise, the cast that present themselves in the first episode are all unique and interesting characters, and the game will place a lot of emphasis on which people to trust, and how far to let certain lies drag on. The narrative provides a strong backbone for the rest of the game to build from, and it leaves all the pieces in place for a gore-filled second episode.
Each setting from the game seems meticulously built all the way down to the finite and somber details, like the fact that the ship Michonne finds herself on in the game’s beginning has a World’s Best Mom & Dad combination mug, but the original owners are nowhere to seen. As Michonne weaves (and cleaves) her way through a series of walker-filled situations, fans of the original Robert Kirkman lore should be pleased to explore a world that ultimately does the series justice.
The signature cell-shaded graphics of a TellTale Games production are at their best here – gone are the overly-exaggerated reactions of prior games. The studio has managed to meet a middle ground between their classic comic book style and a detailed visual style, and those who struggled through the rough oil-painting styles of Game of Thrones will likely breath a big sigh of relief when the game starts. The game’s introduction scene is also done with some style, and its shadow play and imagery provide hugely nostalgic memories of True Detective.
The Walking Dead: Michonne marks the first appearance of character from The Walking Dead comics ever since Glenn and Herschel made an appearance all the way back in the first season of the series, and the advantage of having an established character is pretty clear: many fans will know her already, and some will at least have already heard about her combat prowess. Regardless of whether players are new to Michonne’s character or not, the miniseries is completely self-contained, and fans of the TellTale interactive narrative style should certainly take a gander at In Too Deep.
It’s unfortunate that TellTale Games opted not to introduce any fresh gameplay mechanics into the fold, as we had expected the blade-wielding warrior to bring some game-changers with her in regards to combat. In Too Deep is a great episode, but in order to truly set itself apart from other TellTale productions like Tales From The Borderlands or The Wolf Among Us, it needed to bring something new to the table. In the case of the first episode, the developers failed to do so.
Still, the premiere episode of The Walking Dead: Michonne has all the qualities of a stellar TellTale Games series: the combat is enjoyable, the narrative is engaging, the choice system presents difficult options, and the episode is entertaining from start to finish. While we had hoped the studio would have implemented some fresh combat mechanics into the mix, especially considering the reputation of the star character, In Too Deep ultimately delivers a thrilling experience for the entire duration, and we can’t wait until the second episode.
The Walking Dead: Michonne is available now for PC, Mac, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3, and PS4. Game Rant was provided a PC code for this review.