It’s really hard for me to give The Walking Dead: Michonne – In Too Deep a final score of 65. Not only have I been a big Telltale fan since their first season of The Walking Dead, but I love Robert Kirkman’s comics and to a lesser extent, AMC’s show. When I heard there was going to be at least one season based around Michonne, I had mixed emotions of anticipation and fear. She’s an interesting character, but can she stand on her own two feet?
Since there are two mediums to follow with similar but ever so slightly different storylines, I’ll try to tread carefully around spoilers. Be warned though: skip the rest of this paragraph if you want to go into The Walking Dead universe blind, be it the show or the comics. The events of this series take place between comic issues #126 and #139, which are roughly a full season ahead of where we are now in the show. Michonne has fled the then-peaceful life of the group she travelled with for so long, striking out on her own once again. In Too Deep starts with her struggling to survive, and slipping back into madness. She’s saved by Pete, and we flash forward to her life sailing along the coast.
While I’m happy to play as Michonne, when this series was first announced I was really hoping it would be more of an origin story. Her past does play a large role in this episode and will likely continue to do so, but there’s just something about this time-frame that didn’t click for me. As a comic reader, I have a general understanding of where she’s going to end up. When you know a big part of the ending, there isn’t much long-term tension. At least if the focus had been on her past we could go through struggles where she isn’t already a defined badass. Instead, you take control of a character who fans will likely feel can take care of herself in nearly any situation.
As far as gameplay goes, if you’ve played anything by Telltale then you know what to expect: a story-driven game filled with dialogue choices, quick time events, and a bit of exploration. Michonne is no different, and frankly I was a tad disappointed by that. While it should stay true to its Walking Dead roots, I was really hoping for Telltale to up the ante in terms of combat with this experience to suit the character. There was an instance where instead of the typical single-button QTE, a three button combo was displayed on screen and it felt great! But then you finish the episode and realize it only happened once… I know, it’s a Telltale game, but each series needs some sort of defining feature and enhancing the combat even just a tad could have really made Michonne stand out from the crowd. I’m sure we’ll see more in future episodes, but one combo per episode isn’t really going to hold anyone’s attention.
“As far as gameplay goes, if you’ve played anything by Telltale then you know what to expect: a story-driven game filled with dialogue choices, quick time events, and a bit of exploration.”
Visually, it looks great if you like the cell-shaded art style. Michonne herself could maybe use a bit of work – something about her face just seems slightly off – but that’s probably just me mentally comparing her to Danai Gurira. Other than that, expect more of what you may have already seen in the first two seasons of Telltale’s The Walking Dead. Hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
So aside from the not bad but not great combat, why isn’t Michonne faring as well as other Telltale titles? Well, maybe it’s because you’re playing as a character who can typically be a bit colder than others, but I just personally felt no connection to the rest of the cast. You basically get to choose between being ruthless or sympathetic, and I went ruthless all the way. The illusion of choice that Telltale is known for just kind of flew out the window here and I felt like none of my decisions mattered. If none of it matters, why not have some fun with it and go for the throat?
What the writing team has done well however, is pose a lot of questions regarding the heroine’s daughters and what sort of role they might play in the future. You see them a few times and they’re placed well, popping up when you least expect and really changing the current situation. I’m excited to see the mental resolution, and I think if the writers can give us the player some options to make Michonne deal with her past in multiple ways, then this series can absolutely overcome the rocky start.
I don’t know, maybe the classic Telltale formula is just starting to lose its magic for me. In Too Deep isn’t by any means terrible, it just doesn’t feel as original or as interesting as it should. It’s also quite possible that I’m simply over-saturated with The Walking Dead in general right now. Regardless, the next episode, Give No Shelter, releases later this month and hopefully can distinguish itself from the rest of the pack. For now, I’ll stick to the comics and AMC’s sixth season.
***An Xbox One review code was provided by the publisher***
- Fan-favorite Character
- Gorgeous Art Style
- Fits Well With The Comics
- Lacks A Diversifying Quality
- Uninteresting Cast