The Walking Dead: Michonne Episode 1 Review (PS4)

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Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games

Main Review

Review Context: I am a huge Walking Dead fan; I keep up with the tv show, the comics, and I have even played the past Telltale games’ rendition of the comics. I have been fortunate enough to play numerous critically acclaimed interactive adventure games like Heavy Rain, Beyond: Two Souls, Life Is Strange, The Wolf Among Us, and Until Dawn.
Date of Playthrough: February 25, 2016

The good folks at Telltale Games are at it again. This time with a three episode Walking Dead miniseries, centered around my personal favorite character, Michonne. So, needless to say, I was excited to learn more about my favorite character’s backstory and see things more from her perspective. Telltale Games has a great track record and has not let me down yet. So is the first episode a solid head start, or do they need to go back to the drawing board?

TheWalkingDeadMichonneScreen01

Let’s start with the story; It takes place at a point in time where Michonne was separated from her main crew and pretty much was trying to cope with her own personal trauma. When the zombie apocalypse first began, she lost two relatives close to her and blames herself for not being able to save them. While traversing the woods, she comes across this man named Pete, who enlists her as part of his crew. The story and characters were surprisingly underwhelming. Aside from Michonne and this young girl named Sam, no one really stood out to me and pretty much seemed one dimensional. Because of the uninteresting characters, I had difficulty investing myself in the story. Fortunately, things started picking up around ‘crunch time’ and I definitely want to see where the story goes from there.

Gameplay in this episode is fairly simplistic; You engage in dialogue, quick time events, explore your environment and inspect items. I found the dialogue a little too predictable in this episode, and I did not feel like my choices had much impact, but I did appreciate the moments where Michonne struggled to distinguish her illusions from reality. It highlights just how much her trauma is still affecting her and more importantly, showcases her humanity. The quick time events are more or less what we have come to expect from Telltale games. While I do mot mind them, I think it’s time for the developer to get out of their comfort zone, and get more crafty with these sequences. I did highly enjoy the zombie slashing moments though; seeing Michonne go full on ‘beast mode’ and decapitate the undead like only she can, is always a sight to behold. Also, there was a sequence where I had to input a three button combo, which I found invigorating. I want to see more of this going forward.

TheWalkingDeadMichonneScreen02

I am right at home with the cel-shaded graphics, reminiscent of the comic books. The visuals really pop and look great on the Playstation 4. The game also performs remarkably well. I did not come across any screen tearing, frame dips, or anything else major that hindered my experience. As far as the sound goes, I really have no complaint here. The stellar voice acting brings these characters to life, and the music, when it’s there, really captured that cinematic feel. I would highly recommend cranking up the volume while playing this game.

It may seem like I’m being a tad bit too harsh on this episode, but I put this game on a high pedestal due to the amazing games that came before it. I actually did find this episode to be enjoyable. I like Michonne’s portrayal, the pacing was superb, the action sequences were well done, and the story did start picking up around fifty-five minutes in. My gripes with the game mainly have to do with the lack of compelling characters and story. This episode is roughly about an hour and a half long. It should not take fifty minutes for me to get invested and actually start caring about the story. Nevertheless, the last thirty minutes or so were impressive and I cannot wait to see how the second episode holds up. As it stands right now, this episode shows that this series shows a lot of promise, but it’s not quite there yet.

Similar Games Liked:
Life Is Strange (PS4)
Until Dawn (PS4)
The Wolf Among Us (PS4)
The Walking Dead: Season 1(PS4)

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