Telltale Games has returned to the franchise that put them in the forefront of story-driven adventures games with The Walking Dead: Michonne. The first season of The Walking Dead put a spotlight of sorts on the developer and they’ve had their share of hits (Tales From The Borderlands, The Wolf Among Us) and misses (Minecraft: Story Mode) since then. Episode One, entitled “In Too Deep,” shows promise that Michonne could end up being another solid entry in their lineup. Unfortunately, the story setup in Michonne’s first episode is awfully familiar to previous seasons of The Walking Dead and because of this, “In Too Deep” doesn’t approach the greatness seen in previous Season One or even Season Two episodes of the series.
“In Too Deep” starts off with a look into Michonne’s state of mind. As she is remembering some of the people she has lost along the way, she is fighting PTSD alongside hordes of Walkers. With all that’s happened to her, you might say she has nothing to live for. But because Michonne takes place between issues #126 and #139 of the comic book, we already know that she does survive. She becomes stronger, both physically and mentally, and “In Too Deep” is the beginning to that story.
After a very emotionally exhausting beginning, Michonne ends up with a new group of survivors. We meet Pete, the optimistic Captain of Michonne’s new home, The Companion. When they head to an old trading route to get some supplies, something is not right. A distress signal is heard and Michonne and Pete make the decision to investigate its source so they can figure out what happened to Pete’s old trading partners.
This is all buildup to yet another confrontation with hostile leaders of a thrown-together, makeshift community. Because this has all been done before in The Walking Dead, it all just comes across as a little too much of a “been there, done that” situation. Thankfully, the person who is being set up as the Big Bad of the series is reminiscent to a character from Justified Season 2. Should be interesting to see how that character develops going forward.
The loveable jankiness that accompanies every Telltale Games release is back in Michonne. Unfortunatey, the stuttering and freezing was at an all-time high during my playthrough. While occasional stuttering is not a deal breaker (and at this point is almost expected ) for a Telltale game, Michonne downright froze for several seconds during key moments of my hour and a half experience. Just as the action was ramping up and Walkers were filling the screen, all tension would be lost while waiting for the game to unfreeze and continue. For a game about zombies and survival, tension is a key component to not only the atmosphere, but also for the story. It’s unfortunate that these hiccups completely take the player out of the experience and poison the atmosphere that Telltale is trying so hard to create.
The QTE fight/action sequences you’ve come to expect from a Telltale game are also back in “In Too Deep.” Thankfully, Michonne’s skill with her trademark machete and just overall fighting ability help these sequences immensely. The combos and animations you trigger move fluidly and look great. You would expect nothing else from Michonne, as her fighting skills in The Walking Dead universe are second to none.
“In Too Deep,” does a good enough job of setting up the action and drama for the rest of the series but isn’t exactly original by The Walking Dead standards. Once again humans are just as dangerous, and even more so, then the undead hordes of Walkers that populate the Earth. Thankfully Michonne, as a character, is unlike any other protagonist we’ve seen in a Telltale series (except maybe Bigby); extremely capable, strong and an all-around badass. So while “In Too Deep” might not be the best episode we’ve ever gotten from Telltale, Michonne’s skills end up making Episode One feel unique and they provide hope that the rest of the series will continue to improve.
SCORE: 7.5 OUT OF 10
A code for The Walking Dead: Michonne – Episode One: In Too Deep was provided to Pixel Related for review.