TellTale’s episodic Walking Dead game returns with a Michonne-centric miniseries, explaining why the iconic, blade-wielding character left Rick’s group, and what ultimately brought her back to them. Haunted by her past and coping with unimaginable loss and regret, the story explores Michonne’s past across a three episode event.
The Walking Dead: Michonne is a standalone miniseries – which means no Lee, no Kenny and no Clem; the key players in Telltale’s previous Walking Dead titles. Season three is in development, although Telltale have their hands full with their take on Batman for the time being.
I feel the miniseries is a smart move on Telltale’s part – fans of The Walking Dead can relate to Michonne since she’s an integral part of both the comic books and the TV show. Michonne has always been a bit of an enigma; even though I watch The Walking Dead regularly I know very little of her backstory (I did read the comic books, but stopped midway through what became season two of the show). As this series only consists of three episodes, it gives you the opportunity to dip your toe in the water, especially if you’re new to Telltale’s franchise.
Episode One: In Too Deep begins with Michonne walking alone through the woods, where she soon stumbles across an abandoned camp-site. Michonne meets a friendly stranger named Pete, before passing out due to experiencing some harrowing visions.
Michonne wakes up on Pete’s ship, The Companion, which cruises the coast searching for survivors and supplies. When a desperate signal for help draws them to a scene of horrific massacre, Michonne and the crew are led further to the floating survivors’ colony of Monroe, which harbours the person responsible for the carnage. In Too Deep ends with a cliff hanger, followed by a teaser trailer for the remainder of the series. I’m already eager to see what comes next, having devoured the episode in one sitting.
The episode is broken down six chapters, and takes about two hours or so to complete. I have found that the episodes have become shorter since the original Season One episodes, as the recent Game Of Thrones episodes were of a comparable length to Michonne’s – episodes can feel longer if you decide to opt for the season pass and play them back to back.
Michonne is voiced by Orange Is The New Black’s award-winning actress Samira Wiley, an excellent casting choice; it’s hard to differentiate her voice from Danai Gurira, the actress who portrays Michonne in the show. The supporting cast also provide strong performances, although one of Pete’s crew has a decidedly dodgy English accent.
Graphically, the game looks similar to the previous seasons of The Walking Dead – cel shaded comic book style, albeit with a face lift due to the power of the current console generation. Subtle effects such as shading and lighting look much cleaner compared to The Walking Dead: Season Two. The animation is fluid, although that are a few moments of lag during some of the fight scenes. These delays may be down to last second decisions, rather than issues with the game itself.
Gameplay is the same as past Telltale titles; a heavily plot driven game with equal parts exploration, QTE events and dialogue decisions. The game reminds you that the story evolves based on the decisions you make in game. There really are no wrong choices as such, but your answers will influence how other characters perceive you. At the end of the episode, you’re given the opportunity to see whether you made the same decision, represented as a bar graph.
Telltale have made a few improvements to the QTE sections, with one section having a multiple button event. This threw me as I wasn’t expecting it and, as my brain didn’t process the on screen information in time, I ended up as zombie fodder.
I did find that I was inclined to make my decisions based on what Michonne would say or do, which could be interesting considering how the episode played out. Luckily the next episode, Give No Shelter, is due for release in March; with the miniseries concluding in April, so we won’t have long to wait.
My only other grumble is that the level of exploration in The Walking Dead: Michonne isn’t as high as it has been in the past. Locations in The Walking Dead: Seasons One seemed much more expansive, with lots more to interact with. Playing devil’s advocate, this could be due to the game classing itself as a miniseries, so may be the exploration elements have been sacrificed for the sake of pacing.
Based solely on this initial, The Walking Dead: Michonne is set to be an enjoyable experience and another win for Telltale. If you’re a fan of The Walking Dead, regardless of whether you’ve played previous games in the series or not, Michonne’s tale is well worth an evening or two of your time.