“The Walking Dead – Michonne, Episode 1: In Too Deep” Review
Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead franchise has provided many great characters, many of whom deserve their popularity. The common audience right now would probably put Daryl Dixon at the top of their lists, but a more holistic approach to the franchise may settle on one of the best: Michonne.
That’s what Telltale has done with their latest addition to The Walking Dead video game series–a miniseries based on Michonne.
What’s It About?
The Michonne miniseries is a very focused story. Rather than telling a general backstory for the character, the three episode arc actually connects to the comics in order to explain Michonne’s absence between Issues #126 and #139. She left her group, (so don’t expect any appearances from Rick Grimes or Ezekiel) and now finds herself among a new set of folks.
We’ll meet Michonne in an incredible mind-trip of a situation. She’s hallucinating between her actual situation and some background trauma but is taken in by Pete and a small group of others on a boat. A trading partner for Pete’s group isn’t found in their common meeting spot, leading the group to find a potential distress signal while searching for their friends.
Naturally, the search goes down the gutter and Michonne ends up in a camp unsure of who to trust, likely having to bank on her closed-off attitude to survive.
Why Should I Care?
After an incredibly strong first season and two great characters in Clementine and Lee, Telltale needed to have a strong lead for a full blown miniseries. Michonne is the perfect candidate and starts off strong. She’s been given strong arcs in both the comics and the television show, which offers Telltale a great opportunity to build on the depth of the character.
In Too Deep isn’t overly eventful with the exception of two fights at the start and middle, along with some intense interrogation moments near the final act. With only three episodes to the miniseries, I was expecting a bit more intensity and not quite as many slower moments or quick-to-end chapters. However, the episode does a great job bringing Michonne’s mind to life.
The type of issues she has make her a much different type of character than Lee or Clementine. She’s already a strong character, so she doesn’t need to be built like that. Rather, it’s about how she deals with so much guilt that has followed her around to this point. How does it allow her to fit into this new group? Can she be a leader quickly? As familiar of a character she is, especially for those who read the comics, she still brings a sort of mysterious element. For as tough as she is, there’s a sympathetic side to her produced mostly from family moments, but what exactly went on? We’ve seen hallucinations within the Walking Dead universe before, but it’s not clear how Michonne can hide it while fighting to survive. Perhaps more than what we’ve seen in other Telltale Walking Dead episodes, she’ll be tested more on how much of a human or monster she’ll need to be.
Mechanically, Telltale shows off some small strides with how to play the game. Michonne’s style can be described as beautifully brutal. Previous Walking Dead titles were typically short bursts of movements, considering you mostly had short range firearms or small blades. Game of Thrones stepped it up a notch with swords, but those felt punishing. Michonne‘s gameplay flows in a wider way that stops just short of elegant. Wielding a machete rather than a katana, you’ll handle it much like you would expect to handle a katana. Her movements seem to be much more ballet-like as well. The only stiff moments come with occasional button presses. I felt some of the reactions were delayed more so than other Telltale titles, which for some reason has seemed to be a lingering problem. It never becomes debilitating though, and there’s actually a single three-part combo that was (for lack of a better phrase) pretty damn cool, but the lag is certainly noticeable.
What Makes It Worth My Time and Money?
This Michonne miniseries brings to mind another Walking Dead game: Survival Instinct. It focused on the Dixon boys, placing you right into the shoes of Daryl. It could have been great. An awesome character from the show and en entire game to learn more about him? Unfortunately, it was junk. The game never told a story worth telling; never gave you a reason to care.
After just one episode, The Walking Dead: Michonne proves exactly why its titular character deserves her own game. She’s not a one-dimensional character. There’s a whole lot going on in her head, and she struggles to balance it with her stone cold exterior and a stretched-thin will to survive.
These first 90 minutes are enough to get you hooked on this journey of hers. It doesn’t seem to just be a hack and slash game, though it could use a bit more of that. In Too Deep sets up what could be a great trilogy arc for a character fans will want to learn more about.
|Title:||The Walking Dead - Michonne, Episode 1: In Too Deep|
|Platform:||Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC|
|Release Date:||February 23, 2016|
|Editor's Note:||A review code of the game was provided by Telltale. The review was written after the reviewer's first complete playthrough.|