The first episode of The Walking Dead: Michonne, "In Too Deep," does its job but doesn’t go above or beyond to bring a memorable opener in the same way as seen in previous Telltale games.

The Walking Dead: Michonne is a three-part miniseries by Telltale Games that fleshes out some of the titular character’s past that is not explored in the TV series or comics. Although the first episode doesn’t pack any crazy Telltale punches, it does sufficiently introduce Michonne’s untold tale.

The miniseries explains what Michonne does during her absence between issues No. 126 and No. 139 of The Walking Dead comic series, although the sequence has been omitted entirely from the TV series.

The game’s first episode launched Feb. 23 and takes between one and one-and-a-half hours to complete. Titled “In Too Deep,” the first episode introduces Michonne to the player as a character dealing with serious mental insecurity, largely because of her two missing daughters.

The game opens in a dream state in which Michonne fends off a horde of zombies and eventually has the player decide if she should take her own life or not before finally waking up. It’s pretty obvious to the player that Michonne is dreaming, so the decision doesn’t feature a whole lot of levity. Even so, it does remind the player that he or she is up for some tough punches later on.

The intro also shows off a satisfying QTE combat sequence. Most situations in previous Walking Dead games involve players escaping rather than fighting, so having Michonne show off her skills with a blade is an immediate and welcomed change of pace. There are a handful of combat scenarios within the episode, and they feel fluid and satisfying to execute.

After the intro, Michonne and her seafaring crew answer what sounds like a distress call on their shortwave radio. What happens as a result is based on how the player speaks and acts, leaving it somewhat in the player’s hands. Compared to previous Walking Dead games, Michonne is very linear. It provides the player fewer ways to interact with people and objects outside of storyline progression. Although this keeps the story flowing, it also prevents the player from really getting to know Michonne if he or she is unfamiliar with the character in other media.

This is a shame because the script and voice acting (Orange is the New Black actress Samira Wiley voices Michonne) are otherwise top notch as usual. One standout example is when Michonne is dealing with a hostage situation. How she handles the situation is largely up to the player, and trying to smooth-talk through the situation feels strategic and important. Of course, staying silent and seeing what happens is a valid option as well. In any case, the scenario is definitely one of the more engaging conversations in a Telltale game.

The episode brings tension throughout but never offers a specific moment in which it culminates in the typical Telltale fashion, such as with a tragic death or emotional outburst. It comes across as a run-of-the-mill story until the last few minutes when it does manage to shake things up. “In Too Deep” ends on a solid cliffhanger that will leave players in suspense until the next episode drops in March.

All in all, “In Too Deep” does its job but doesn’t go above or beyond to bring a memorable opener in the same way as some previous Telltale games. With any luck, the action and emotions will be taken up a notch in episode two, as the miniseries does show promise. But to become great, The Walking Dead: Michonne needs to help the player connect with the characters in the remaining two episodes.

The Walking Dead: Michonne is available on PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC, iOS and Android.

Score: 3.5/5

@GS_Matt

ms153614@ohio.edu