I started reading The Walking Dead comic after I received the first 5 volumes as a gift during Christmas 2012. I had already given up on the AMC show but I heard the comics were good. I read up through All Out War Part 2 which is volume 28 (issues 121-126). There are now 28 volumes (168 issues) which I have failed to keep up with. I felt like the series had gotten stale and after the battle with the Negan character I decided to bow out and return to the series when it was over.
The Telltale Michonne mini-series which released in early 2016, follows the events of Michonne who left the main cast for issues 126-139. I have only read up to the point where she departed the group and vaguely remember her emotional departure after the death of Ezekiel.
As a fan of the series I was excited to hear Telltale announce the mini-series at E3 2015. I remember the spokesman stating the game would be DLC to Season 2 and would be free to those who had already purchased Season 2. I didn’t follow the game much after the initial announcement, and when it was released I was looking forward to playing free content. The game wasn’t free, it became a $20 standalone title.
The Walking Dead: Michonne mini-series lives up to its “mini” classification. It spans 3 short episodes covering two major events. A depressed Michonne struggling with the guilt of not being able to save her two daughters, attempts suicide. A boater named Pete stops her and recruits her to join his crew on his sail boat. After several weeks on the boat Pete discovers a transmission of a female voice asking for help. Being a nice guy trying to help as many people as he could (the sister boat to his mini fleet had also gone missing) Pete followed the transmission to attempt to save the people. They discover a broken down ferry in a port which he and Michonne investigate. On the ferry they discover a horrifying execution site of many people including young children.
They find stolen goods which were taken by a brother and Sister named Greg and Sarah. A third group of people lead by a douche bag named Randal enters the ferry, accuses them all of stealing and takes them prisoner. Pete, Michonne, Greg, and Sarah are all taken back to the boat town and community called Monroe. Only Pete, Michonne, and Sarah escape the town after burning it down in their escape. They go to Sarah’s secluded home in the woods for safety as Randal and his crew chase them down.
They take Randal hostage after he kills Sarah’s father and Norma (the leader of Monroe and Randal’s sister) takes Pete’s crew hostage. A massive shoot out takes place at the home in a botched hostage trade attempt. Pete, Michonne, Sarah (along with her friend and two little brothers) survive the attack and continue on with their lives.
That series of events might make one long episode in a normal telltale game, but I liked the tight and concise story.
This mini-series was the best looking, and performing (still plagued by various Telltale bugs) Telltale game at the time. It was the first Walking Dead game that had a TV like intro which added to the episodic nature of the game. The quick time events were placed on the screen in a more cinematic nature revealing the influence bigger budget games like Heavy Rain had on the creators. Even the pause menu looked polished and dynamic compared to the other titles.
My favorite aspect of the Michonne mini-series is the dialogue options. Through reading the comic and experience the early characterization of Michonne in this game, I know she is a quiet, complex person. When asked questions or given and option to talk, I often chose the silence option as I felt it was fitting towards her personality. Silence has always been an option in the previous games but when I stayed quiet it was often met with an awkward response like “what, cat got your tongue?” or “speak up!”
In this game when I chose the silent option the reaction from the other characters felt more seamless. When I was interrogated by Norma, I didn’t say anything and it pissed off Norma in a satisfying way.
Michonne is struggling with the psychological trauma of not knowing what happened to her two little girls. She keeps seeing their shadowy figures in the distance and frequently blends in reality with her memories of the first night of the zombie outbreak. This added a new element to the game and provided a unique look on the popular character of Michonne. It was more than her just killing dudes with her machete like a bad ass.
The ending of the game (the huge shoot out) had a lot of moving parts and could have been a giant mess if it wasn’t choreographed well. The game performed well with all of the moving parts and it provided a satisfying conclusion to the conflict of the game.
Better than the ending of the game was the intro. Right away the player is tasked with killing a lot of zombies as Michonne as she tries to follow the shadowy figures of her daughters. The player is introduced to the scene of Michonne’s apartment on day 1 of the outbreak and her crippling psycolgoical issues. The game forces the player to load the Michonne’s revolver before she cocks it and puts it to her temple. The first decision the player encounters in the game is to pull the trigger or to put the gun down. That is fucking heavy and is a perfect way to set the tone for a game such as this one.
The Walking Dead: Michonne is a short but refreshing experience in the world of The Walking Dead.