One of the most popular characters in The Walking Dead is Michonne, who initially shows up in the comics as a lone wanderer with a katana and two neutered pet zombies that she keeps around for protection from the hordes of undead in the wilderness of the post-apocalyptic world. She’s an absolute badass and continues to become more interesting as more of her past is revealed (though a major arc in the comics, featuring the cartoonishly evil Governor, goes way too far in its brutal treatment of her – it’s truly vile, and turned me off the comics entirely for quite a long time).
So it’s perhaps no surprise that Michonne was chosen as the only previously established character to get her own Telltale game. Though other characters from the comics do make appearances in the games (Hershel, Glenn and Jesus, as a few examples), Michonne gets the spotlight all to herself for an entire three episode series.
It’s a brief delve into Michonne’s story which isn’t covered by the comics, taking place during a ten issue stretch where she’s left Rick’s group. Here, it’s revealed that she’s saved from suicide by boat captain Pete, who allows her to join his small crew of misfits. Still haunted by her past, can Michonne hold herself together for long enough to save her new friends when they run into a new group of very dangerous, ruthless survivors who’ve built a community around their own vessel?
Though Michonne’s series is short, it’s got a great sense of style – adapting the visual touches seen in later seasons of the mainline Walking Dead games; retaining the comic book feel, but also integrating the quick time button prompts into the environment during the brilliantly choreographed action scenes. It’s got the trademark Telltale agonising choices and often devastating consequences, but interestingly also features several flashbacks to a very traumatic event in Michonne’s past, which pop up and bleed into the present at times. It’s well handled and very emotional, though I felt the series as a whole lacked the impact that many of the other Walking Dead games had on me. Perhaps this is because I already knew Michonne’s fate from the comics; it certainly reduces a lot of the dramatic tension if you’re already aware of Michonne’s situation, though the same can’t be said of the supporting cast of course.
They don’t skimp on the gore in Michonne – and its good to take part in the zombie neutering at one point. I don’t know if it was because I was embodying Michonne or just that I’d been hardened by my time in Robert Kirkman’s universe via the other Walking Dead games, but I felt that I made choices a lot more ruthlessly and less empathetically this time around. I think I’d perhaps been burned by being sympathetic or merciful far too many times before.
The voice acting is as strong as ever, as is the rather cinematic direction – the title sequence and accompanying theme song is a particular highlight here. Though Michonne feels like a slightly inessential addition to the Telltale Walking Dead series due to it being entirely separate from the Clementine narrative, as well as the need to fit into a very specific timeframe of the comic continuity, it still satisfies as a story in its own right – and shows that Telltale really did know what they were doing in terms of narrative pace, escalation and cliffhangers. Given its brevity, if you enjoyed the other games in the series, you may as well spare the few hours it’ll take for you to complete Michonne’s story too, in any case.
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