Review by WhatTheDeuce92
A decent story for die-hard Walking Dead fans, but not much more than that.
While Telltale Games has delivered a fantastic storytelling experience with its two games centered in The Walking Dead universe, up to this point their games have mostly steered clear of ties to the comic and TV show. That now changes with The Walking Dead: Michonne, which centers all around fan-favorite character Michonne (obviously). Since this is a miniseries, however, you play as Michonne only in a three-episode story arc, rather than a full five-episode season.
The Walking Dead: Michonne isn't totally unwelcoming to newcomers, but unlike Telltale's main Walking Dead series, I think Michonne might be a bit hard to jump into if you're not familiar with the source material. And when I say source material, I mean the comic, as even fans of the TV series might be confused on what's going on in this game. See, the game takes place during a time in the comic that hasn't been adapted for the TV show yet, and this time period finds Michonne out on her own to try and run away from her problems and deal with her guilt. In the process, she winds up getting caught in some other people's problems, and in true Walking Dead fashion, winds up having to fight for her survival from an enemy group. As a fan of the comic, I was really excited to see this portion of Michonne's arc being covered, but I can see how it might not mean much to someone that's not familiar with her. Still, I think the story does have a decent amount of intrigue to it for everyone. It's not the best Walking Dead story out there by any means, but by the end of the three episodes everything does get a pretty good payoff.
If you're already familiar with Telltale Games, this is mostly all you need to know, as their formula remains the same with Michonne. That is, gameplay is broken up into three types. The first type of gameplay is the most common, and that's where you're simply watching a scene play out and choose what dialogue options you want Michonne to say. The second type involves quick-time events for action sequences, while the third type involves "walking around" segments where you'll look around an area to find what you're looking for and progress the game. If you're at all familiar with point and click style games, this should be nothing new to you. While it might be formulaic, it still works in my opinion.
Unfortunately, Telltale also continues their style of games that don't seem to ever run smoothly. There are times when the game will lag during its scenes, and this can be distracting. I also personally had a time where the game stopped working for me at one point, which has never happened to me before with their games. The game has a great art style and great visuals, but it runs pretty poorly.
However, the sound department doesn't seem to suffer with any of this. The game maintains the caliber of music and sound effects that you would come to expect from this kind of game. I will say I was also impressed with the voice acting. Samira Wiley voices Michonne, who isn't the actress from the TV show, so I thought it might sound a little weird without Danai Gurira's voice, but Wiley actually does a great job with Michonne. Everyone else does a good job too, with everyone having very distinct personalities due to some great voice acting.
One problem I have with the game that others might as well is that the whole affair is really short. I remember how the first Walking Dead game had five three-hour long episodes. Here in Michonne, we get three episodes that are all just over an hour long. That's a much shorter experience, and the result just feels like there's very little content that's just stretched out over the course of three episodes. What you do get isn't that bad, it's just that you barely get anything for your money. One could argue that replayability could extend game time through picking different choices, but none of the choices presented in the game really feel like there would be a huge difference by picking other options.
I don't find The Walking Dead: Michonne to be a bad game by any means, I simply just don't think it was anything all that special. There's a fairly decent story here for die-hard Walking Dead fans, but other than that you could spend your money in much better ways. The short story does have a nice payoff in the end, but a lot of the moments in between just make this experience add up to be nothing special.
Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Product Release: The Walking Dead: Michonne - A Telltale Miniseries (Season Pass) (US, 04/26/16)
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