The Walking Dead: Michonne - Episode One Review

The Walking Dead: Michonne Episode One was reviewed on PS4. A copy was purchased in order to write this review. 

The Walking Dead’s first two seasons hold – and will always hold – a special place in my heart. Specifically season one is an emotionally-driven rollercoaster with an almost unparalleled story – and, quite frankly, if you haven’t played that you really are missing out. With that in mind, going into the first episode of the Michonne mini-series, I was extremely excited.

Imagine my disappointment, then, as I begin to review the first episode with a somewhat sour taste in my mouth as I reflect and try to pin-point exactly what went wrong.

Now, let me be clear – Telltale’s Michonne series’ first instalment is not – in any way – bad – it just isn’t quite on par with what’s come before in the Walking Dead main series of episodic games.

Notice the word “main”; remember that stop-gap between the end of season one and the beginning of two? It was called “400 Days” and was (technically) DLC for the first season, that explored a new way of telling a story in the Walking Dead universe, while also setting up characters for the next season. I felt very similarly about that as I do about this.
The main problem for me, with both instances, is that I really don’t (and didn’t in 400 Days) care about the characters. They don’t feel fleshed out, and, more importantly, their stories don’t interest me whatsoever. This has nothing to do with the voice-acting – which, as always in The Walking Dead, is top notch – and also doesn’t impact my love of the character of Michonne. In the months since I last wrote a Walking Dead related piece, I’ve caught up with the TV show to the end of season four, and started to read the comic-book. In that time I’ve come to really love Michonne – and be really interested in finding out more about her motivations and past. Although the stories in the show and comic books are slightly different, and the game follows (or has seemed to follow so far) the story from the comics, the principle still remains.

In addition to my enjoyment in seeing a little more of Michonne’s back-story, I’m also really interested in seeing what the motivation behind the bad-guys in the story is – that kind of seed being sewn is exactly what I loved about the first two seasons, and is what really made me want to come back for more.

However – that was just a small nugget of goodness in an otherwise fairly boring and mediocre story that really didn’t succeed in grabbing me overall. But, it wasn’t just that the story was dull, the whole thing feels a little played out, and as though it’s all been done before: something I'm also really worried about happening in the next “main” season – not having something exciting and new to watch unfold. I remember writing that the first season was against the walkers, and the second against other people – so what can the third possibly see the characters face?

Elsewhere, the “combat” was OK – apart from a slightly strange Uncharted 1-like button combination - and the engine was rather shaky with – in one instance – a random walker appearing next to Michonne on a boat where they definitely weren’t meant to be.

I still love the art style, the music was excellent but – still – I find myself wishing for something more: more than another simple stop-gap between seasons of the main game, more than something that lacks the quality of those first two seasons. I want the heart and soul back, but I don’t know if that’s ever going to happen.   

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