The Walking Dead: Michonne – Review
PC, Xbox One, PS4
The phenomenon that is The Walking Dead continues to shamble on. The popular zombie franchise was a hit thanks to its graphic novel series, one that continues to rivet fans. It then branched out to television where it’s currently six seasons deep and continues to set ratings records across the world. The TV series has also spawned a spin-off series, but of most importance to this particular audience is that it has also became a video game franchise. Telltale Games rose to incredible prominence thanks in large part to their release of The Walking Dead Season 1 and haven’t looked back since. Riding on the wave of excitement that the first season had generated, the follow-up season took the emotion driven intensity to all new heights.
It has been a few years since we last caught up with Clementine, and while we’ll be waiting a bit longer, Telltale have given us something to satiate the appetite before the inevitable third season. The Walking Dead: Michonne has arrived and promises to rivet us by entering us into the story of one of the franchise’s most iconic characters. While things get off to a rocky start, Michonne’s story ultimately proves itself to be a worthwhile addition to The Walking Dead narrative.
Three episodes are all you’ll have with Michonne in this latest The Walking Dead story. Designed to tie into Telltale’s previous two seasons and the impending third season, you’ll follow Michonne, a woman haunted by the deaths of her two daughters. Michonne had joined a crew on a boat, but it’s not long before the boat receives a signal which they track until they discover another group of survivors. As anyone who has had anything to do with The Walking Dead franchise knows, this spells trouble, and then things naturally begin to escalate. Everything culminates into conflict as you would expect, but the face of the scenario continually changes leaving you in a constant state of insecurity as to what will happen next.
It’s certainly worth noting that the first of the three episodes, while important in setting up the narrative, is also quite slow and forgettable, but the two that follow it possess the same rollicking momentum of most Telltale games. You won’t be standing still for particularly long, and despite some awful deaths taking place, you won’t ever get long to mourn before the next threat approaches.
While the action continues to hurtle along as frenetic pace, and I was riveted by the developments and the choices that I made, I didn’t feel as strongly for the cast. Michonne, as well as some of those she meets along the way, failed to really resonate with me – their plights were genuine, but their personal stories, and the way they conducted themselves were just a bit bland. It’s quite a shame given that Telltale has done such an excellent job in recent years in finding the best talent but in the case of this spin-off they just feel dry and lacking in personality.
Choice is a major part of any Telltale game, and their Walking Dead series has been typically choc full of pivotal choices and consequences that resonate well after the moment has passed. Why possessing a couple of these moments, some successfully wrestling with my ethics before forcing me to choose, but the majority of these moments failed to take a hold as I would expect. Deaths of key characters didn’t have an impact, while Michonne’s internal struggle with her deceased children spawned the simplest of decisions at the game’s conclusion, and left a sour taste in the mouth when all was said and done.
Telltale’s engine is yet to have been significantly upgraded, so the look of the game is reminiscent of what we’ve seen in previous seasons of Telltale’s Walking Dead franchise. While Telltale has leaned on their artistic style to mask their technical deficiencies, this mini-series marked the first time where I was noticing the rough edges. The voice-actors don’t have the strongest lines to work with but they deliver them sufficiently well, to the point where they sometimes disguise the lack of action transpiring.
The Walking Dead: Michonne is one of the weaker Telltale Games releases that we’ve seen in the post The Walking Dead Season 1 era, but there’s enough redeeming features present to ensure that the game is still worth experiencing for those who love The Walking Dead. It’s not clear yet how Michonne’s story will tie into the upcoming third season, but there’s a solid 4-5hours of action to enjoy here. The Walking Dead: Michonne is a serviceable addition to the franchise, but not one you need to rush and download either.