The Walking Dead: Michonne (Season One) Review
The Walking Dead: Michonne was published and developed by Telltale Games. Episode one was released for Xbox One on February 23rd, with the following two episodes releasing on March 29th and April 26th. The price for these episodes individually is £3.99/$4.99 or you can buy a season pass for £11.99/$14.99. The game is also available on Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Playstation4 and Steam. A press review copy was provided for The Hidden Levels.
Playing The Walking Dead series on my Xbox 360 and again later on my Xbox One was a great experience that sincerely developed my love for episodic titles. When I heard that Telltale was planning to bring out a new release featuring one of my favorite characters from the TV show I was beyond excited. Apart from a few technical issues Telltale has once again managed to deliver a gripping story that stays true to The Walking Dead brand.
What I enjoyed:
Trimming the fat – The Walking Dead: Michonne starts at a frantic pace that rarely relents throughout the three episodes. The episodes all weigh in at around an hour of play time which initially sounds a little underwhelming, but actually it works in its favor as it cuts out a lot of the aimless wandering that previous Telltale games suffered with. Each episode manages to keep that feeling of escalating tension even when the action does subside. The character development is a little underwhelming and some of the cast are literally there for a couple of minutes before either meeting a gruesome end or fading into obscurity, but overall I much prefer the leaner episodes we’ve been given in this package.
Mean, lean, killing machine – Playing as Michonne is a very different experience from playing as Lee or Clementine in the other Walking Dead games; and seems to operate a kill first ask questions later approach to things. Anyone who has seen the TV show or read the comic books will know that Michonne is more than partial to a bit of bloodletting, and she certainly doesn’t disappoint here. The sword she carries that has become synonymous with her is used in a variety of inventive ways to dismember zombies and other foes that stand in her way. It’s nice to play as a character that is more than capable of handling herself yet still is able to show their vulnerable side at the same time. Some of the standout scenes are found in the flashback segments that pop up sporadically throughout all three episodes. These scenes mainly involve Michonne being tormented by memories of her children, and although Telltale has relied a little too heavily on some dated designs (faceless shadowy figures are nothing new that’s for sure) they still manage to leave you feeling slightly haunted by them. My only disappointment with Michonne was that she wasn’t voiced by Danai Gurira (who plays the role in the TV series).
Punctual release schedule – Minecraft: Story Mode tried and failed to deliver on its initial promise to have all five episodes released within a particular time frame so when I saw the release schedule for The Walking Dead: Michonne I was more than a little dubious. To their credit though they managed to stick to precisely what they said with all three episodes having released within just a couple of months. To me it is important this become more of a trend as I find it really difficult to want to buy these episodic titles when there are gaps of half a year or more between each episode.
What I disliked:
T-t-t-t-typical Telltale – If you’ve come across any of the Telltale game reviews I’ve written you’ll know that one of my biggest criticisms relates to the various technical issues that plague their games. Unfortunately it is something that rears its ugly head again with some awful audio issues that only serve to break the immersive qualities. On numerous occasions there are visual stutters that take several seconds to resolve themselves and can lead to the audio being out of alignment with the video making it look like a badly dubbed Japanese martial arts movie. This is something that really needs to be fixed as it seems to be a feature in pretty much every game that they release now. I also noticed a couple of occasions where they must have skimmed over the proofreading of the in-game text, as I have never seen the word surviving spelled “surving” until now. It again shows that a little more attention to detail could have been used to bring everything up to the required standard.
The Walking Dead: Michonne is a welcome return to the world of the undead that manages to perfectly bridge the gap until season three releases later in the year. If you come into this looking for innovation you’ll be disappointed as there is nothing here that isn’t done in every other Telltale game. If you can look past that you’ll find a great story full of wonderful set pieces that manages to captivate you while it lasts.
Score: Buy it now.
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