Telltale Games has already shown it knows how to tell a compelling original story within Robert Kirkman’s “The Walking Dead” universe. But what about crafting a game around a well-established and beloved character?
If the debut episode of “The Walking Dead: Michonne” is any indication, the developer is up to the challenge.
From the first moments of “In Too Deep,” the first chapter of a three-episode miniseries, we find Michonne battling threats both real and imagined. Fighting off actual walkers while reliving a traumatic event from Michonne’s past served as a powerful introduction to a character that is as emotionally scarred and damaged as any in world of “The Walking Dead.” It also sets a distinct tone for the remainder of the first episode and, hopefully, the series.
This is unquestionably Michonne’s story, and the characters we meet along the way serve only to help shape her during this chapter of her life. Perhaps it’s because Michonne resonates so strongly that those supporting characters failed to leave much of a lasting impact, at least during the course of the two hours it took to reach the episode’s conclusion.
As is often the case in “The Walking Dead,” the most dangerous threats here weren’t walkers, but rather the other survivors you encounter on your journey. We’ve experienced this before in Telltale’s previous works, so a narrative curveball or two would be a welcome change.
The actual gameplay should be instantly familiar to anyone who has experienced Telltale’s prior games, as the point-and-click exploration, quick-time combat and choice-driven storytelling return. It’s a tried-and-true formula, but it would have been nice to see some fresh gameplay mechanics introduced.
With so much familiarity on display, it would be easy to write off “The Walking Dead: Michonne” as merely more of the same. But the focus on Michonne and her inner struggles stand to set this series apart. I’m already looking forward to seeing where Telltale takes the character next.
“The Walking Dead: Michonne Episode 1”
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Available for: Multiple platforms ($15)
Rating: M for mature