Before we get down to talking about The Walking Dead: Michonne, the latest mini-series in Telltale Games’ TWD adventure game series, let it be known to all and sundry that I am a cherry-picker when it comes to Robert Kirkman’s take on the zombie apocalypse. I read the comics religiously, and I’ve done the best I can to guide Clementine through the end of the world in seasons one and two of TTG’s main TWD series. I am no fan of the TV series, though; I enjoyed it at first, but now I want nothing to do with it for various reasons. Just so we’re clear where I’m coming from.
Thankfully, TWD: Michonne continues TTG’s tradition of basing their stories in the world of the comics. This mini-series is set during Michonne’s absence between issues 127 and 136, and looks to provide fans some answers as to what she was doing during that time, and why she finally came back.
Some spoilers may follow.
Opening some time after her exit from Rick’s group following the battle with Negan and the Saviors, Michonne finds the titular zombie slayer wandering aimlessly through the woods. We quickly realize that she is on the verge of a mental breakdown, as she is hallucinating about an apartment in the time before the outbreak as well as two little girls, over whom Michonne feels intensely guilty. These initial hallucinations, naturally, offer more questions than answers, though the identity of the little girls is, apparently, cleared up in short order.
This is my first potential issue with the story of TWD: Michonne: if those little girls are who they’re suggested to be, then the game is retconning Michonne’s backstory as told in the TWD: Michonne comic book published in October 2012. But I shall keep my knickers un-knotted for now: there’s two more episodes to go, and red herrings are part of any self-respecting mystery.
Just as the situation is becoming unbearable, Michonne is rescued by another group of survivors who live on a decrepit sailboat, and the story gets underway. I realize the first episode of a Telltale series is used largely for exposition and setup, but the setup of this first episode is The Walking Dead by the numbers. There are the arguments about how best to survive, the unfortunate turn of events that forces our group to a course of action, and most importantly, the group of Bad People Who Do Bad Things. Again, I realize this is only the first episode, but I really hope there are some surprises in store in the two remaining episodes. So far, there’s nothing here I haven’t seen before. We don’t even learn why Michonne left Rick’s group; fans of the comic will recall her departure was the definition of unceremonious. She’s there in one frame, she’s gone in the next. I’m hoping for a lot of answers from this story, and I’m afraid we won’t get them.
In terms of presentation, the high standards that TTG has set with their recent projects such as Tales from the Borderlands and Game of Thrones is maintained here. The voice casting is well done, and the pacing keeps the story, such as it is, moving along to the expected cliffhanger. They’ve picked another great song for the opening with Gun in my Hand by Dorothy, and while the QTE inputs deviate not at all from what TTG fans are used to, the input indicators are arranged to fit in with the action happening on the screen, as opposed to simply layering over it. It’s a nice stylistic touch.
While TTG seems to have gotten its act together with releasing episodes on time with the the recent Minecraft Story Mode, history suggests it’s still anyone’s guess when we’ll see the second episode of this three-parter. I hope the ball gets rolling with the next episode, whenever it gets released, and TTG is able to make me care about these characters as it has done with so many others.
The Walking Dead: Michonne is available now for Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Windows, Mac, iOS, Kindle and Android.
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