The Walking Dead: Michonne
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Genre: Graphic Adventure
Release Dates: 23 Feb, 2016 (EU & NA)
The Walking Dead: Michonne serves as the spin-off origin story of Michonne, the character we all know from the TV show and comics, in a more lite version of Telltale's The Walking Dead, leaving Clementine's story aside and instead focusing one a short plot that might dig deeper into Michonne's origins, but fails to deliver a fully fledged plot due to its limited run time and a couple of weak points. The story follows Michonne and her friends Pete, Saddiq, Oak and Berto and her newly found friends: Samantha, Alex, James and Paige as they meet up on an abandoned ship scouting for supplies. From there onward the plot revolves around the newly formed group starting a conflict with a nearby village ran by Randall and his sister Norma, but since the entire game is made up of only three episodes, lesser than any Telltale game previously released, you never get the chance to get attached to any of the characters and understand the reasons behind their actions.
Combined with the present day action, Michonne will occasionally experience flashbacks about her lost family, but even something that was meant to be an important point in the plot falls short due to the same issues. There are a few moments that might surprise you along the way, but at the end of your playthrough, The Walking Dead: Michonne will probably leave a lesser mark on you than Clementine's story and the game will become just another forgotten experience in your library.
If you have played the main games in Telltale's The Walking Dead series you know what to expect here, as Michonne looks, feels and plays the same as any previous games made by Telltale in the past few years, combining dialogue with quick time events and occasional exploration sections, but compared to other areas in the other games where you had the freedom to roam around a small village or a town, TWD: Michonne restricts those areas to small rooms with only a few objects that you can interact with placed around you, most of them which will only trigger a small observation from Michonne.
In the same manner, dialogue has less impact on the story, as only a few answers and decisions will change the outcome of an event and most of those will take place in the final chapter, making dialogue feel more like a chore in the rest of the game, as too often the outcome of an event will be the same no matter your choice. There's also an overall lack of variety as even the occasional puzzles are absent and there's really nothing else to look forward to apart from the previously mentioned mechanics, that we have seen a million times before in graphic adventure games and that are getting pretty old and repetitive by now.
Just like I mentioned in my The Walking Dead: A New Frontier review, Telltale's engine is really starting to show its age, especially if you play on a larger display like a 4K TV, where the flaws of this decade old engine are pretty obvious. The animation and lip sync are pretty much the same as in any other Telltale game, but that doesn't say much, since all of them could use some improvements. Where TWD: Michonne looks even worse than A New Frontier is in its visual glitches that occur more often than usual and can be quite an immersion breaker.
Unfortunately, Danai Gurira, the actress who plays Michonne in the TV show isn't voicing the character in the game, as Telltale instead gave the job to Samira Wiley, who is probably most known for her work on Orange Is the New Black, but she does a great job and unless you pay close attention you probably won't even notice the voice difference. The supporting cast includes Malik Yoba as Pete, Cissy Jones as Norma and Devery Jacobs as Sam among others, and while they do a great job voicing the characters, some of the dialogue feels poorly written compared to the main series.
The entire game can be finished in less than four hours and aside from that there's nothing else, nor is there any reason to replay the game since the finale will be mostly the same no matter what, so considering the 14.99€ price tag you might consider waiting for a sale before buying this one.
The Walking Dead: Michonne is a decent origin story to a well-beloved character in The Walking Dead universe, but due to technical issues, a short running time, occasional poorly written and cheesy dialogue and of course the limitations of the Telltale engine, it never reaches the high point of the other The Walking Dead games.