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I am desperately craving The Walking Dead Season Three and I have no doubt that Telltale Games are working hard to deliver upon that. To keep us tied over, we’ve been gifted The Walking Dead: Michonne that will please yearning fans. This three-part story is an opportunity to delve into the personal tale of the katana-wielding heroine. Embodying Michonne is great but this tale is slightly underwhelming. Telltale Games have such a high standard for storytelling within their previous episodes; This makes In Too Deep feels lackluster in comparison.
In Too Deep begins in a scenario Michonne would be all too familiar with by now as she is ambushed by a horde of walkers. The biggest contrast you will witness in this miniseries is how fragile Michonne is compared to the composed character we see on screen. Whether you have seen her decapitate zombies on the TV show or in the comics, you will be aware of her distressing past. Unlike the television series, however, you’ve never before seen the effect her demons have on her psyche.
During the opening sequence, with what should be a routine slaughter, Michonne is distracted by her hallucinations. During a beautifully choreographed scene where you transport between her two realities, slicing and dicing in a way only Michonne could, you witness glimpses of her family during the outbreak. When the scene concludes, you are tasked with a daunting decision. The start of the episode begins extremely well with immensely high stakes but sadly, once the awesome opening credits finish, the remainder of the story lacks the same thrill.
The strangest aspect about In Too Deep is that there is little to no context is given as to Michonne’s predicament. From doing my own research, I’m aware that the tale resides at a time where Michonne has left Rick’s group but oddly this is never mentioned or elaborated upon. This may alienate fans of the TV show as this event occurs in the comic world, nevertheless, an explanation would have been welcomed.
After the first chapter, we catch up with Michonne residing on a boat with a band of survivors. An entirely new cast are introduced here, yet we never really become deeply acquainted with them. Pete is the captain of the vessel and there are some internal conflicts aboard the ship regarding his decision making. When the craft becomes unknowingly stranded, this tension grows. However once you leave the craft with Pete to salvage parts from a marooned vessel on the harbor, you never see these characters again.
In fact, during the one and a half hour episode, you are introduced to a handful of characters but you barely get an insight into any of their pasts or personalities. You spend most of your time with Pete who is a good Samaritan in this dark reality yet he offers little more than someone for Michonne to converse with. The lack of character development results in the usual impactful Telltale ultimatums feeling irrelevant as you are not invested in the outcome of the situation.
The Walking Dead: Michonne falls victim to how ambitious Telltale Games have been in the past. This sounds like a harsh complaint but I really felt as though this miniseries was a chance to tell a unique story as opposed to bridging the gap between the seasons. Other than the spike in tension at the beginning and finale, the content here feels relatively tame. When you reach promising moments of excitement, Telltale Games have already covered similar circumstances and previously portrayed it better.
During the episode, you are treated to some new scenarios such as how walkers adapt to water (they cope pretty well) and some truly awesome machete-wielding sequences. The tried and tested quick time events still control the unfolding action on screen and they have been adapted to fit seamlessly into the excitement. Decimating a horde of zombies single handily feels empowering and only playing as Michonne could this have been pulled off.
In truth, Michonne is the reason to play this miniseries. Having a lead character that is as commanding as Michonne is an invigorating experience. Until this point within the Walking Dead games, we have always felt vulnerable. Striving for survival was always the ultimate goal. Michonne flips this entire dynamic upside down as she, in this episode, at least, is in a dark place and death to her may not necessarily be such a bad thing. She is more than capable of dealing with a few walkers too which allows the narrative to focus, just as the other mediums do, on the real threat in the new world which is people.
We have seen cameos of recognizable Walking Dead characters in the past games but none feature as prominently as Michonne. Having played as the newly devised Lee and Clementine in previous stories, I was able to form their personalities. Michonne already has a persona that I am more than familiar with and this directed my choices. Be it a simple verbal response or an important decision, I would think “what would Michonne do?”.
Her internal complexity adds more terror to this episode than any of the supporting cast. You feel as though her instability could make a mundane situation still feel tense. The moment that frightened me the most was a haunting hallucination which speaks volumes for the world that is dominated by flesh-eating zombies and anarchy.
The Walking Dead: Michonne runs on the same engine as the previous outings and unfortunately the same issues arise. This is definitely the best-looking venture thus far but the frame rate drops still happen all too frequently. The series is available on almost every platform from PC’s to phones, however, whilst playing on a Xbox One, I would expect the game to perform seamlessly.
In Too Deep is the first in three episodes and I hope the next entry in the saga surprises us more. It is a daunting task for Telltale Games to keep us charmed as they have produced some of the most memorable gaming moments in recent years. I still have faith though as In Too Deep is not a bad game, but without the luxury of a typical five episode season, the pressure is on to deliver exciting content in a shorter space of time. Michonne is a fan favorite character for a reason though and I am still looking forward to seeing where this story takes her next.
- Gameplay: Decision Making and Quick Time Events
- Graphics: Beautiful Comic Book Aesthetic, Gory
- Sound: Compelling Voice Work, Zombies
- Presentation: Bad Frame Rate At Times, Integrated Quick Time Events
- Brilliant Writing
- Action Scenes
- Tame Narrative
- Lack Of Interesting Characters
- No Context For TV Fans