Published on March 24th, 2016 | by Chris Scott0
The Walking Dead: Michonne Review
Summary: The Walking Dead: Michonne feels like limbo.
Four years ago, Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead reinvigorated the adventure game genre and showed there was a place for strong, story-based games. Since then the developer has released numerous seasons based on a variety of different popular properties, but keeps coming back to their starting point for this brand of adventure game, The Walking Dead. And here we are at the outset of 2016 and Telltale has given us yet another Walking Dead game, in the form of a mini-series based on the fan favorite character from the comics and television series, Michonne.
The Walking Dead: Michonne takes place during the comic timeline where Michonne had left the main group to be on her own for a while. How it fits into the game timeline and the characters we’ve come to encounter from the other Telltale games is a question that is not answered here. Because of this, this mini-series comes across as very much a standalone adventure. Maybe in episodes two or three it will tie the two timelines together in a meaningful way but as it stands now, they remain independent of each other.
Standing alone isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Those of us that have played past games in the series will feel familiar with the basics of the game but it also puts us on equal footing with newcomers by introducing us to Michonne as a character. As someone that is current with The Walking Dead comic and the television series, I already know Michonne pretty well but the game manages to touch on aspects that the notoriously private character has kept locked away from us. It’s a nice touch and immediately put me on board with her as the protagonist.
In typical Walking Dead fashion, the opening is dark and depressing. While I won’t spoil it here, let’s just say Michonne has a lot on her plate here and it seems she will be dealing with some dark inner demons over the course of this mini-series. After her ship breaks down, things go from bad to worse to much worse in a very short period of time. A good portion of the beginning of the game has Michonne demonstrating how much of a badass she is. Yet, that is all a set-up as most of the rest of the game sees her in a position of vulnerability at the mercy of some seemingly twisted individuals.
It’s all pretty familiar though and rather safe. The characters are generally not memorable and mostly just play as one-note plot devices. Aside from the young girl Michonne is thrust into captivity with, Sam, I don’t remember any of the other character names. It’s not bad; it’s just kind of what is expected of The Walking Dead at this point. Telltale has found a formula that works but maybe they’ve mined it too far because nothing here seems special. When another character dies in the latter stages of the episode, I didn’t feel anything. I just wanted to put the creature down because I knew what was happening. This is in stark contrast to the emotional roller coaster the first season and even parts of the second had me on.
Another thing that is familiar is the technical deficiencies Telltale’s games exhibit. They are all on display here with this episode: hitchy movement, overall stuttering, awkward combat encounters, choices not really mattering. If you’ve had an issue with it in past Telltale games, it is sure to be here in The Walking Dead: Michonne. I’ve come to accept it but that doesn’t make it right.
And that might be the biggest problem here: my acceptance of these issues, in exchange for being told the stories that come with them, have told Telltale they aren’t important enough to worry about. Except what happens when the story that comes with the problems is just kind of OK, familiar, and safe? That’s where we are with The Walking Dead: Michonne. It feels like limbo.
This review was written with material provided by the publisher on the Xbox One console. For more on our review process, please read here.