The Walking Dead: Michonne serves as a companion piece to the ongoing comic series. It’s meant to bridge the gap in the comic when the titular character, Michonne was away from the rest of the group, doing her own thing. Michonne first appeared in issues #126 – #139 in the comic, and has been featured character in AMC’s TV series since season 3. That being said, for the first time, I find the series retreading the same old zombie apocalypse cliches, and found myself a bit uninterested and at times … bored.
Episode One: In Too Deep, has Michonne setting sail with a group of fellow survivors when they stumble upon a bad situation while responding to a potential distress call. If this sounds familiar, well … it is. One of my problems with the The Walking Dead: Michonne is that the story it’s trying to tell is incredibly worn territory. Here’s the cycle:
- Quick Time Events
- Let’s investigate this area.
- Oh no, something bad happened here.
- A nice charming reprieve
- Ah! Crap has gone south
- Now it’s time to talk to these people so they can “remember that.”
- Uh oh, these characters are now in a life/death situation … will they all survive?
Now, the zombie apocalypse hasn’t done anything exciting in the narrative department as of late, but even The Walking Dead comic has had the capacity to surprise me in recent months. However, I never felt surprised while playing TWD: Michonne. It follows the same old formula that Telltale has hung their hats on for two seasons prior.
Michonne is a great character in the comic series, and the game flirts with the idea of telling her backstory, but doesn’t do too much with it in episode one, but i am hoping they dive down that rabbit hole a little more. I do like that Michonne is a badass. So compared to the other seasons of The Walking Dead, you’re dealing with someone who is capable of handling herself and doesn’t have to be morally “right” all the time, as opposed to a Lee or Clementine who felt vulnerable in the Zombie apocalypse.
The thing is, as a reader of the comics, I personally didn’t feel any sense of dread like I did when playing seasons one and two. I know the (current) fate of Michonne in the books, thus negating any ramifications I thought the game would have on her. This factored into specific sections of the episode when the choices were “them or me.” During these, I always chose myself because I knew I was safe. This thinking kind of lead to boring encounters throughout the course of the episode. Almost as though I was playing the game with “God Mode” on.
As for the other characters in TWD: Michonne; episode one hasn’t presented me with anyone who I really care about. It sticks to it’s tried and true formula of — here’s some characters, and now one of them is dead. Hope you didn’t like them? s1e1 did a good enough job introducing us to Doug/Carley and making it a tougher decision on who to save that I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t feel for any of the characters right off the bat as I have before.
I will say, Telltale is always trying to retool the formula for their quick time events, and TWD: Michonne continues that trend. It seems (at least in e1) that the — move the reticle to a specific position — quick time events are non existent. All told, it seems like the QTE’s are dumbed down compared to other Telltale games. Maybe the developers thought that because they were dealing with the comic IP, that more people who haven’t played their games previously would pick it up. I for one like this omission. I thought the QTE action sections in “In Too Deep” were very well done. While there’s only a handful, each one was tense and brought new situations into TWD universe.
I had a few performance issues during my time with the TWD: Michonne. There were a few times when the game’s frame rate became a bit choppy, and the load times between a few specific sections were egregiously long (we’re talking close to a minute). I will say though, Telltale continues to hone in on their Walking Dead style making it one best looking TWD game to date.
I don’t think The Walking Dead: Michonne episode one “In Too Deep” is a time waste. It’s certainly the weakest opening act from Telltale in a while. While I like the character, it’s hard for me to care about any of the supporting cast at the moment. I also feel that knowing the current fate of the character takes away a certain amount of suspense that these games are known for. I think the game could do some cool things narratively to flesh out Michonne’s backstory, and I am impressed at the streamlining of TT’s QTE system. All this being said, I felt like Telltale is sticking too familiarly to a formula that works for them, and it’s boring.
If you’re a fan of the comic, then definitely check out TWD: Michonne. However, if you’re someone who’s just looking for that deep narrative Telltale is known for; than TWD: Michonne might not be for you. I’m optimistic that the story might go in some cool places, especially with her backstory, but as for now, you might want to wait for the next two episodes before diving in.
A PS4 copy of The Walking Dead: Michonne was provided by the developer. To learn more about our score, read our review policy.