The Walking Dead: Michonne (2016)
PS4 / Rated M
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
The Walking Dead games are what put Telltale Games on the map. Okay, maybe that’s not entirely true but they have definitely given the company the most success. Both season one and season two of their episodic adventure games based on the comic books were critically acclaimed and set the company on the right direction. With Telltale’s latest installment in the franchise, The Walking Dead: Michonne, they decided to take a different direction in more ways than one, but some of these directions don’t pay off in the end.
Unlike the previous two adventures, The Walking Dead: Michonne hones in on the story of Michonne, a protagonist from the comics. She’s a stoic figure who doesn’t really talk much unless she needs to. She’s also dealing with some psychological demons involving her two dead daughters, which is the aspect of her character that the story focuses the most on. For those wondering, the story takes place between the comic’s issues 126 and 139. (I haven’t read the comics myself, or seen the show for that matter, so I wouldn’t know.)
Another thing that Telltale does differently with Michonne is its three-episode format, unlike the normal five-six-episode format that most are used to. There’s nothing wrong with going down the short-form adventure route, but it makes developing a meaningful and impactful story pretty difficult. It can be done, but it’s tough to do. Unfortunately, Michonne falls short of giving us an impactful story, which is due in part to the short time we have with the characters. I grew attached to Michonne, as she was the main protagonist, but all of the other side characters and antagonists meant nothing to me really. They had their moments, sure, but I wanted to spend more time with them in the end. Just like the previous games, there will be deaths and tough decisions to make, but they ultimately didn’t matter to me in the end. It also doesn’t help that the episodes were short in comparison. I just didn’t feel that attached to what was going on onscreen.
Speaking of decisions, the game plays just as you’d expect. Telltale hasn’t reinvented the wheel with Michonne, giving you an all-too-familiar gameplay experience. You will participate in quick time events. You will pick dialogue choices. You will walk around small little environments. You will make some pivotal decisions. These decisions don’t really have consequence however. The decisions also weren’t that hard to make either. It almost felt like Telltale was just laboring through the motions, pumping out a paint-by-the-numbers experience similar to their other games without really putting any thought into what they were doing.
This is all a shame because The Walking Dead: Michonne has a gripping drama in its hands. Michonne has a tough and quiet exterior, but on the inside there is a bevy of bottled up guilt and sadness that literally haunt her as she moves along. During her travels she comes across a friendly crew of sailors as well as a small band of vicious and deadly survivors. How she deals with these new people, as well as the situations she is thrust into, are by far the most enticing aspect the game has to offer. Telltale has an interesting story to tell, it’s just too bad its brought down by some of the more technical facets of the game.
If you were a fan of the previous Walking Dead installments by Telltale (which most probably are) then this might warrant a look. There’s some cool stuff the game brings to the table, but just know what you’re getting into. Wane your expectations. If your new to the series, then it’s hard to justify a play through of The Walking Dead: Michonne. I would recommend the previous two installments, but that’s about it.
Also available on PC, Mac, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, iPhone, iPad, and Android.