The Walking Dead Michonne: Episode 1 Review – In Too Deep

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Telltale Games has just released The Walking Dead Michonne. Does it live up to the rest of the series or is it dead on arrival?

Back in 2012 Telltale Games released their first entry into The Walking Dead franchise, an episodic title that sparked a multi-seasoned take on the world created by Robert Kirkman. While the series has always been set in the same universe, the main characters and events have always been unique to themselves, creating a story that gave fans a whole new set of protagonists to care for, and worry about. Now, Telltale Games have sidestepped that story arc for a mini-series based off of the fan favorite character Michonne in The Walking Dead Michonne: A Telltale Miniseries.

As an avid reader of the comic series and viewer of the TV-show, it is both an interesting and slightly concerning decision that they based this mini-series based off of an already established character whose future is already set in stone. This level of knowledge sadly does creep in during tense moments, as one of the biggest draws for the franchise as a whole is the unknown. Each character, even a loved protagonist, generally has the potential to have their story cut at any point, or at the culmination of the story, but we know what the future entails. This makes it difficult to always feel the full weight of the situations that play out in episode one, In Too Deep.

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Of course, this is also something that might be a bit too early to state as this is only the first act of a three part mini-series that could take things in directions we may never see coming. This is the biggest issue when it comes to reviewing episodic content before the culmination, as sometimes the path taken is more important the destination you arrive in and Telltale Games have yet to disappoint me when it comes to making the journey a memorable one.

Having gone through the first act in just around an hour and a half I do feel that there is enough content here to set the stage for the upcoming episodes, but this short time frame in-which the game unfolds does treat many of the supporting cast as blips. As there simply isn’t enough time to know why you should care about them, making them seem almost like casualties of a world you were just dropped in, with little to no responsibility. This, of course, will differ between each player as some gamers may connect faster than others, but in my case, I felt like a this act could have benefited from a tad more exposition from the start. Hopefully as the series goes on, we have the time to really connect with those around us and the game understands that we these people around us are complete strangers to the player.

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None of this is to say that In Too Deep as a first act falls flat, as it is filled with a number of difficult decisions and a cast that leaves you second guessing every decision you make. The voice work is stupendous across the board, and Samira Wiley does a fantastic job filling the shoes of Michonne. She is a fighter, a character pushing out demons, someone whose past fuels her to momentum, not the forced faux swordsman from the show. This is the comic Michonne, and I could not be happier about it.

On a production standpoint, Telltale Games have been knocking games out of the park over the last few years and they don’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. In Too Deep is another fine example of how the Quick-Time Event (QTE) mechanic can really help drive cinematic experiences forward while never removing players from the drivers seat. Icons are easily understood and responsive, while also never feeling like they pull the player outside of the experience to remind them that this is a video game. It simply works and does it, very, very well.

As I have already stated, a review for the first act in a three part episodic series needs to be taken with a bit of salt, as it works off of only a fragment of understanding of the events that are sure to unfold. But, as a start, In Too Deep is an OK beginning to a trilogy that had a number of hurdles to overcome before getting out of the gate. While it could easily have benefited from a bit more introduction to the supporting cast, it does set a pace that keeps players interested in the whirlwind of chaos that is expected from The Walking Dead franchise. So, I will be definitely interested to see how things move forward from here.

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