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

Score: 88%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure

Graphics & Sound:

While The Walking Dead: Michonne will only be a three-episode adventure, what Episode 1 - In Too Deep shows is the possibility of a good, action-packed mini-series that puts the player in control of one of the main characters for the first time.

The Walking Dead: Michonne fits the same visual style that was so well-established back in the first season of the Telltale game series. This look does a great job of conveying the comic-book feel of the source material, and given that this particular set of episodes so closely follows a major character from the comics, getting the correct look and feel of The Walking Dead is all the more important. So, of course, Michonne herself looks like her graphic novel counterpart, but the characters and world around her also capture that same style.

Telltale has always done a great job of capturing the look of the source material, but they don't slack off when it comes to the audio aspects of their games either. Michonne is voiced by Samira Wiley (Orange is the New Black), and while it would have been great to hear Danai Gurira play the same role she does in The Walking Dead TV Series, Wiley does an excellent job of taking over the part. What is great is that Wiley isn't trying to do an impression of Gurira as Michonne, but instead making the part her own. In a way, this helps to remind players that The Walking Dead games are more closely tied to the graphic novels than they are the AMC TV series.


The Walking Dead: Michonne: Episode 1 - In Too Deep takes place in the time between issues 126 and 139 of the comic books. During this time, Michonne has left the main group and it is in this game that we get insight into what happened while she was gone and why she returned to Rick and her friends.

At the start of the episode, it is clear that Michonne is having some serious trouble dealing with the losses she has accrued since the Walker Apocalypse started. She does seem to find a bit of peace though when she joins a small group on a boat that travels the coast of the Chesapeake Bay. Taking everything one day at a time seems to be helping Michonne, but when the boat gets stuck in the water and the crew has to split up, she soon finds herself having to decide who to trust and who might be willing to fight her.

While this first episode, In Too Deep, seems to end rather quickly, it does introduce a lot of new characters and it puts Michonne in some situations that we really haven't seen in this series before. Sure there are all the standard dialogue choices that really helped to define Telltale's unique adventure gameplay style, but what Michonne provides that past TWD games lacked, was a lot of action.

Not only is Michonne a well-established character in the franchise, but unlike Lee and Clementine, Michonne is an all-out fighter. Where past games were only sprinkled with combat, In Too Deep shows you just how much of a badass Michonne is with a blade. In fact, there were several occasions where I felt like I was playing The Wolf Among Us rather than The Walking Dead, and that's not a bad thing at all.


Even with the added amount of action though, The Walking Dead: Michonne: Episode 1 - In Too Deep isn't a hard game. The quick-time events that make up a Telltale action sequence aren't all that hard to work through, and while this game didn't feel quite as forgiving as Minecraft: Story Mode, it still doesn't take much dexterity to hack and slash your way through the Walkers that confront Michonne and her new friends.

Most of the time though, the difficulty of a Telltale game isn't in surviving the action, it's in the decisions you are forced to make. While there are a few prominent choices to be made in this episode, none of them felt to be as paramount or pressing as seen in past The Walking Dead games. I'm not sure if the danger doesn't feel as imminent since you know Michonne eventually makes it back to the main storyline, or if the choices simply aren't as gritty as they have been in the past. Hopefully this will get better in the remaining two episodes.

Game Mechanics:

As said earlier, The Walking Dead: Michonne: Episode 1 - In Too Deep seems to have a bit more action in it when compared to past games in this line. While that action is carried out in the same way most Telltale games work, there is something more visceral feeling about dealing out the damage with a blade while controlling Michonne. Even though you are simply pressing arrow and keyboard keys at the right time in order to progress the fight just a little more, you still get the feeling that you are working with the sword-fighting character in her fight for survival. Sure, a game with more direct control over the fighter would get you that much closer to the nitty-gritty, but this is an adventure game, not a shooter or hack-n-slash. Given that a vast majority of adventure games don't even have combat, much less a way to die, means that In Too Deep, and most Telltale games, convey at least a part of that danger to their players.

While the episode felt short, the fact that The Walking Dead: Michonne is a mini-series and not just a one-off like 400 Days means there is still room for more action and more build-up before we return to the regular seasons of the game. Here is hoping that Episode 2 - Give No Shelter adds a bit more oomph to the game's decisions to help bring that side of the story to the same height as the action.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows XP Service Pack 3, Core 2 Duo 2GHz processor, 3 GB RAM, ATI or NVIDIA graphics card w/512 MB RAM, DirectX Version 9.0, 3 GB available hard drive space, Direct X 9.0c sound device. Not Recommended for Intel integrated graphics

Test System:

Windows 8.1 64-bit, Intel i7-4770K 3.5GHz, 8 GB RAM, Radeon HD 5870 Graphics Card, DirectX 11

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Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated