“I left so many people that I loved behind…but there are two I can never forget”. Everyone’s favourite sword wielding heroine takes centre stage in The Walking Dead: Michonne mini-series, where she slices walkers to pieces and struggles with PTSD within the same world that developer Telltale Games are well aware of.
Episode One: In Too Deep is the first of three planned spin-off episodes from the main Walking Dead series, which follows Michonne on a journey of self-discovery and bridges the space between issues #126 and #139 of the comic. It’s your standard Telltale fare, with dialogue options to personalise the experience and zombie slaying through quick-time-events. There is a lot more action in this episode than what I expected though. It’s some very stylish dismembering, taking full advantage of the title characters sword skills.
Episode 1 is short in length, running in at just over an hour. The problem with short episodes is that there isn’t enough time to establish both interesting characters and tell a compelling story. It feels like Telltale decided not to bother with either, instead focusing solely on a character fans of the series seem to love almost as much as Rick and Daryl (funny, then, that neither have had much of a say in any Telltale game so far).
The episode opens with a desperate Michonne, struggling to cope with the deaths of her daughters. This is the central theme that runs through the episode, and Michonne has visions of them, haunting her throughout her journey. This is the most interesting part of the story, providing our hero some much needed depth and it’s a nice change from the usual tropes of the popular zombie series.
Graphically, TWD: Michonne is the best looking Telltale game to date. It’s full of unique imagery (underwater zombies!) and the colour palette is much more vibrant than the bleak Walking Dead games that precede it. As usual, the voice acting is excellent. Samira Wiley (Orange Is the New Black) does a bang up job of portraying Michonne, although it feels like an odd choice not to go with Danai Gurira who plays Michonne on the TV series. It’s also worth noting that this was the first time I experienced no bugs or technical issues in a Telltale game.
In Too Deep felt more linear than other Telltale games. The episode didn’t feature any big choices that might have serious repercussions for episodes two and three. Michonne is a great character and she carries the entire episode, although it would have been nice to learn more about the supporting cast. It also feels like an odd choice to delve into her history and health issues so far into the series. At this point, the comics have been running for over a decade and Michonne’s past was dealt with quite recently on TV. The timeliness of this story feels off, unless it’s true purpose is to fill in the blanks for those not keen to read up or watch it themselves.
It’s impossible to a form a comprehensive opinion of the game from the first episode. There is simply not enough story or characterisation to give any indication of how the series will pan out. TWD: Michonne may also be a difficult entry point for those unfamiliar with the source material, so I suggest you go and start there. For those familiar with TWD, the good news is that you get all three episodes for one reasonable price.
Michael Vane is a freelance writer who sometimes wishes there was a zombie apocalypse just so he can get out of work. You can follow him on Twitter at @DrVane