The Walking Dead: Michonne, Episode 1: In Too Deep on Xbox One
It’s nigh impossible to play The Walking Dead: Michonne without directly comparing it to Telltale’s previous offerings on the franchise, which makes sense as they both fit canonically in the comic book world Robert Kirkman crafted. This doesn’t exactly do Michonne any favors since the bar was set so high by the first two seasons of The Walking Dead.
Perhaps one reason why those seasons have been so successful is that they introduced us to completely new characters in wholly unknown and brand new situations, where the audience never quite knew what to expect. In addition to this, most Telltale titles are essentially interactive movies, but the developers usually do an excellent job at making you feel like you’re really making weighty, impactful decisions that will affect the outcome of the game. Michonne, however, doesn’t have these luxuries.
Our titular heroine is a well-established character who many have been following for over ten years now in the comic world. We know where she was before the game, and we know where she’s going at the end. This presents the problem of immortality. While in previous seasons you may not want to upset someone for fear that they’ll show up a couple episodes down the line and take you down, the audience knows that Michonne makes it through this tussle, no worse for wear.
What makes it a bit more interesting is that because Michonne has a personality that fans are already familiar with, you may find yourself making choices aligned with her existing character. For instance, Lee and Clementine required you essentially craft them into your own vision, so I almost never selected the silent, “…” option with so many interesting things to be said. In Michonne, though, I stayed silent for nearly half of the dialogue options, because that felt like a very Michonne thing to do in those instances. Playing the game as a specific, well-known character brings a neat new dynamic in that regard.
At any rate, Michonne isn’t the only one who can’t die. Fans of the comic will recognize a number of other faces known to make it through whatever hardships this mini-series presents to them. This also presents the opposite problem: If you’re not one of these unkillable characters, you’re probably not important enough to care too deeply about. There are several interesting new characters who have great potential for development in upcoming episodes, but it’s tough to be too invested in them if you’ve read the comic. Interestingly enough, and most unexpectedly, this may well be a game more enjoyed by people who aren’t too familiar with the source material.
Of course, you’re not supposed to be as invested in their stories; this game is called The Walking Dead: Michonne, not The Walking Dead: Everyone Else. Though a highly popular character, she tends to keep to herself and rarely lets any nugget of information regarding her past before the outbreak leak to even her most trusted of allies. While she may not talk about her family and life from before the outbreak, the topic always weighs heavy on her mind. The mini-series attempts to give some more depth to this aloof woman, offering the player a more intimate look inside her head and what she’s thinking; things she worries about while staying stone-faced.