When you make a game that covers well-known territory, you have certain advantages and disadvantages. The Walking Dead: Michonne - Episode 1: In Too Deep has all of those on display, and while it is by no means a poor effort, the chapter does very little to distinguish itself either.
I will say that this is one of the more action packed episodes in any of the Walking Dead games, with Michonne an undeniable badass. Things get off to a great start as we see the world through Michonne's fractured psyche, envisioning the start of the zombie outbreak and juxtaposing it against her current day, immediate struggles. The seeds to some interesting questions get planted, which is always a good sign as well.
However, whenever you are dealing with a property and character that are well known, two things tend to happen. One, you lower the bar and make it easier for fans to get into it. There is no need for knowledge from the prior two seasons of the video game series. This has so far simply been a standalone arc with a recognizable character from the television series. I do wonder however, how much flexibility they will have to grow this with relation to the well-established source material.
One of the most interesting aspects to Michonne's character (aside from her skill with a weapon) is her unstable state of mind. She is tormented by the loss of her daughters and early on, it was an overwhelming theme for her. As the chapter progressed, I almost forgot about that aspect of her personality until her mind seemed to stray from the path of sanity. It was a brief moment, but also effective and chilling - promising some interesting character development down the road.
I also really enjoyed Pete, a new character to The Walking Dead. He is a little self-depreciating, and somehow in this world where everything has literally rotted away and fallen apart, managed to keep a sense of humor about himself. We saw more of this in the first season of Telltale's The Walking Dead, when the zombie apocalypse was fresh and people had some hope before understanding the true scale of what was happening. Season 2 of the game series was incredibly bleak, with no real sign of happiness or hope. Pete serves as almost an anchor to the way people used to be, and is a good compliment to Michonne's incredibly serious personality. Of course with a game like this, it is likely only a matter of time until Pete winds up dead, but in the meantime I am enjoying his inclusion.
On a technical level, the episode ran really well. I was playing on a PlayStation 4, and anyone who has read my prior reviews knows I spent a lot of time playing most of the Telltale Games on either a PlayStation 3 or an Xbox 360. Technical hiccups abounded on those platforms, but I can say that there was only one notable hiccup on the PlayStation 4. It was not even all that bad, but the video got just slightly out of sync with the audio for a matter of seconds - it was just enough for me to pause and think: huh, actually the performance on this episode has been really good. Anyone who tries to immerse themselves into these Telltale Games knows that the narrative is paramount, and when those glitches show up, they can damage the experience by ripping you out of it. That only happened once, and incredibly briefly here.
The Walking Dead is probably the series that Telltale Games is best known for at this point. I do find myself wondering however, just how far they can take this series as a game. The source material is so well-known, that I question just how far it can grow. I worry that the series might stagnate, but it is too soon to tell. I actually enjoyed The Walking Dead: Michonne - Episode 1: In Too Deep. The first episode in most of these series is often one of the two weakest (with the penultimate often disappointing as well). This episode has set the stage for more tough choices - but I can see it veering in dramatic fashion in either direction from here for better or for worse.
Xbox One / 360
Article by Nick