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The Walking Dead: Michonne: Episode 1 - In Too Deep

Score: 78%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action/ Survival Horror/ Themed

Graphics & Sound:

Following in the visual and audio footsteps of its predecessors in Telltale Gamesí outstanding The Walking Dead series, The Walking Dead: Michonne: Episode 1 - In Too Deep lets fans take the perspective of fan-favorite Michonne.

The graphical style of the game is exactly the same as past games, with an iconic graphic novel look to it that helps enhance things from a comic book fanís perspective. Once again, animations and facial reactions are appropriate in most cases and help drive the storyline, although at times, they may not be fully in sync with the action or dialogue. Lead character Michonne looks great, but keep in mind that this isnít necessarily an exact copy of actress Danai Gurira (although there is a strong resemblance). However, since the games follow the comic more closely, this makes sense. Environments once again have the same distinct look, and help keep the entire universe together in the Telltale series to date.

Audio is a strong part of any horror or suspense title, whether that is in the form of radio, movies, or as we are discussing here, a video game. The great thing here is that the voice acting in The Walking Dead: Michonne is actually pretty good. Michonne is voice-acted by Samira Wiley of Orange is the New Black fame and she does a spectacular job. A lot of times things can be hit or miss, but this time around I didnít find myself disconnected with the acting. That said, a persistent problem in these games is in timing, as camera cuts and longer-than-expected pauses between characters does happen. Environmental effects are there too, although nothing really stood out this time around as amazing or that truly helped drive the storyline.


Gameplay:

In the same way that all of the previous Telltale Walking Dead games have played, The Walking Dead: Michonne takes on story-driven gameplay rather than the constant action one may expect from a zombie game. In fact, TWD: Michonne is ultimately a pretty slow-paced title, which is a bit contradictory from what you may expect based on the character from the TV series. Honestly, it is a bit too slow-paced, as I too, expected more.

The story, without throwing too many spoilers out there, is set to help fill in the gap when Michonne is absent from the comic books between episodes 126 and 139, while she was away from the main group led by Rick Grimes. While I canít speak for the comics because I have no experience with them, I can say that the story begins with a critical point in Michonneís life where she is about to make a life or death decision following the abandonment of her children. From here, the video game adventure begins with the first in a trilogy of episodes specifically tailored to this high-energy character.

With that said, being a huge fan of the Walking Dead games as a whole, I was a bit disappointed with the premiere episode of The Walking Dead: Michonne. While there are a few action sequences, they didnít feel like they really had much weight to them, and as far as I can tell, there really doesnít feel like there are severe repercussions for the choices made, unlike others in the series as a whole.


Difficulty:

The Walking Dead: Michonne: Episode 1 - In Too Deep plays exactly the same as other titles in Telltaleís Walking Dead titles, so those familiar with the former will understand exactly how this one plays and how difficult it is. For those looking to enter the series at this point (and you can, as TWD: Michonne requires no previous episodes to complete the story), the pick-up-and play nature of the game is about as easy as it can be.

Even within the confines of the world created by Telltale, The Walking Dead: Michonne falls on the easy side of navigation and story progression, as well as choices made. As mentioned earlier, this title didnít feel like choices mattered as much, but only time will tell as Episodes 2 and 3 are released in the future. For the time being, however, if you are familiar with the basics of the Xbox One controller, the game will be simple to play.


Game Mechanics:

When all is said and done, The Walking Dead: Michonne: Episode 1 - In Too Deep, like its predecessors, really is just a story-driven interactive movie with a comic book flavor. As such, the only controls that are necessary to play the game are the Face Buttons (A, B, X, Y) and the D-pad or Left Analog Stick. Exploration of the environments is pretty straightforward, using the Right Analog Stick to point a cursor at interactable objects. When conversations get started, it is easy to choose your answer, and there really is plenty of time to do so (I almost wish there was less in some spontaneous cases). Likewise, during action sequences, simple button presses equate to escaping and slashing the undead with Michonneís weapon of choice in the game, her machete.

In all, The Walking Dead: Michonne is enjoyable if you are into this style of game or if you enjoyed previous Telltale Walking Dead titles. In fact, I would suggest playing through Seasons 1 & 2 for the most bang for your buck and then come back to this and any other standalone episodes because otherwise, Iíd be afraid many newcomers may take The Walking Dead: Michonne as the standard and not give the others a chance afterward. Donít expect an epic beginning to the Michonne series, but as with Telltaleís others, I suspect the story will gain power in the next episode.


-Woody, GameVortex Communications
AKA Shane Wodele

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