The Walking Dead: Michonne’s first episode is a mixed bag. Michonne is the very first character from the show to be featured in Telltale’s adventure game series. Sure, we came across Herschel out on the family farm, and later Glenn, but neither of these encounters put you in control of those characters. Enter Michonne, you know, the gal that enjoys decapitating the undead with her trusty samurai sword and taking pairs of zombies for long walks in the park.
The game is set somewhere between “Richonne” and the current place in the comics. Michonne has, for unknown reasons, been separated from the pack. She is fighting severe post-traumatic stress and experiencing flashbacks that illustrate the loss she has suffered. The intense encounters with the walkers are frightening because Michonne is not fully tuned into the real world. She is seeing the ghosts of her loved ones. This conjures feelings of sadness and desperation. You truly get the sense that she is at her breaking point.
The story is told through a series of point and click events to investigate your surroundings, with an occasional bout with a batch of walkers or a group of untrusting foes. These battles are handled through a series of quick time events until the situation comes to a head. The fights are wonderfully choreographed if you are a fan of Michonnes’ brand of mayhem from the television series. She does gain some new allies, such as Pete (who is far too optimistic given the circumstances) but I found these characters to be uninteresting and particularly unhelpful. By episodes’ end, however, I found myself feeling something. Feeling hatred for the situation I had found myself in. I truly want the head of the leader of the group aboard the ship as a trophy piece, and I can make that happen with one slice of the Katana.
If you have played Telltale’s prior Walking Dead seasons’ then you will feel right at home. The gameplay is the same found in Telltale’s prior work. The engine could use an overhaul to take advantage of PC and current gen hardware, but the games work well enough. There were many times where I experience slowdown when in combat, and that is running on a fairly high-end PC. That doesn’t distract too much from the action but certainly makes you wonder if the true potential of the series is being met.
Walking Dead: Michonne does what it set out to do. It demonstrates her struggle with PTSD, it weaves a story that seems hopeless, and it puts you in control of one of the series most beloved characters. Michonne is the star here, no doubt. After the cliffhanger ending, the story has no choice but to pick up from here. And it appears things are about to get very, very bloody.