Fans are crying out for Telltale’s season 3 of the popular Walking Dead game, definitely their finest work, but instead we have been given The Walking Dead: Michonne. Is that a bad thing? Only partly.
Telling the story of where popular comic book character Michonne went between issues 126 and 139 of the comic, the episode opens with a small sequence of action, before flashing forward to her on the boat that is the same she presumably returns in.
The initial doubt I was given is how the start of the episode is just… boring. Sure, it has action, but the downfall is that Michonne is already an established character within the Walking Dead universe. We already know her story, and how much emotion we may or may not feel towards her, unlike the original two seasons of the game, which handled character development to perfection, giving us a perfection morality argument. While some people may not be familiar with her, it doesn’t take long to figure out her personal issues; and armed with the knowledge she’s still alive in the comics, play as harshly as you possibly can.
This is what I went with. As I am a huge fan of Walking Dead in general, I know she literally cannot die. And since the other members of the boats crew never get much mention in the comics either (and the fact all but one of them are abandoned within five minutes of actually meeting them), it’s hard to care for them like you did a certain little girl I could mention.
Episode 1:In Too Deep for the most part, up until the leaving of the boat, is samey. It feels like Michonne herself, tired and bored of dealing with the same thing every day. The gameplay mechanics remain the same, with 4 options to pick during dialog, the same button clicks to interact with the things, and the occasional rapid tapping of buttons when things heat up. The only new mechanic visible is multiple taps of the main buttons when in combat, strung in a small sequence, instead of just a single press. This is nice, and does make you think on your feet a bit more; as if you were in the situation yourself.
Speaking of combat, the main thing that consistently frustrated me throughout In Too Deep, wasn’t even anything major. The two main things Michonne is recognised for is her katana, and her generally picking up a couple of “pet” walkers (zombies) attached to rope with their jaws and arms removed, acting as camouflage. While I wasn’t as fussed about the game missing out her pets, there is not even mention of her katana throughout the entire episode. Her key weapon, something that adds to her uniqueness, is not present at all.
Other than that, Telltale have done a fairly decent job at transferring the popular character into the game. The voice acting is done well by Samira Wiley (Orange Is The New Black), and she mixes cold tones with occasional moments of warmth, painting the vocal picture of Michonne perfectly. The introduction of the series likely villains, brother and sister Randall and Norma, is sudden, and you are thrust into the threat of them quickly, forcing you to adapt realistically. The pair aren’t as fearful as the baddies we have seen in the comics/show, but more than hold their own in terms of making you not like them. Then again, you yourself can be just as unlikable, which is exactly the option I went for! I spat in someone’s face, headbutted Randall, and betrayed people I had only just met to see the consequences.
Telltale’s major downfall for a first episode, especially one in only a three-part series instead of their usual five, is that I just don’t care for the characters that much. They have been presented well yes, but I felt no instant draw toward anyone apart from Michonne herself and a slight tug toward friend Pete. Other than that, it was difficult to form any emotional attachment to anyone, as was made quite easy in the original Walking Dead’s first episode. Yes, this was because you had to take care of a little girl, but it was easy to like and dislike others, a trait not really made clear here.
Since I love The Walking Dead, I see nothing wrong with this episode as a whole. But comparing to Telltale’s last zombie venture makes it seem insignificant, and it’s hard to draw any attachment on this new roster; something that should be done instantly in a 3 part series no matter what.
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