With hindsight, it's weird that I even bothered; it's not the sort of comic I would've usually picked up. Black and white. Independently published. A genre that has been done to un-death.
But I like post-apocalyptic stuff - frankly, a virtually empty world populated with zombies who want to eat us, is considerably more appealing than what we currently have. At least the zombies know what's motivating them to behave like dicks.
So, I somehow stuck with TWD beyond the first issue. And I'm glad I did, because it got better and better.
It's sometimes an exercise in the amount of character misery the reader can tolerate - not to mention how much storytelling filler you can endure (anyone who's familiar with the TV show will attest to that), but there are few comics I've been so loyal to. Especially without being able to say I actively "enjoy" its relentlessly depressing portrayal of post-apocalyptic life.
Episode one of Michonne: The Game is the best and worst of The Walking Dead in a nutshell.
This first episode in this series - there are two more to come - fills a gap in MIchonne's timeline, from the comics.
<SPOILER> You see, the comics jump ahead two years at one point - by which time, Michonne is missing. Seven or so issues later, it's revealed she's been off having a solo adventure on a boat. <SPOILER ENDS>
In the Telltale series we're going to learn what she was up to in that time. It also pays lip service to the character's backstory - she's haunted by the ghosts of her dead children - while treating players to the sort of katana-wielding badassery that has made her such a fan favourite.
As a character, she's sometimes at odds with the more gritty tone of the world as established - someone who could only have come from comics, almost a super-hero, slicing through deadheads as if everyone involved has forgotten they still have skeletons inside them.
It also adheres to the formula of other Telltale adventures, putting story first - but breaking it up with some slightly unnecessary quick-time events. And if you've played the other The Walking Dead adventures, read the comics, or watched the TV show, you'll be familiar with the moral ambiguity of the characters you'll encounter along the way. It's all pretty standard fare.
Now here's a thing. Telltale has a following. People love their games.
While I might be able to appreciate the writing, most of them have left me cold. It's something to do with the disconnect between what are relatively cartoon-y visuals, and grown-up storytelling. I never feel a part of the story.
I get that there are branching narratives, dependent on the player's decisions, but it never feels that interactive an experience. I'm always left wondering why they didn't just make a cartoon... rather than a poorly-animated cartoon where the viewer has to faff around in order to make the story progress.
For all the clunky quick-time they're essentially old school point-and-click adventures, and Michonne, sadly, is no different. I'd much rather a Michonne adventure told with the artistry of a Firewatch than what we get here: I'd likely feel far more involved.
It's also doubly hampered by a plot that feels it's just repeating the sorts of things we've seen in other branches of The Walking Dead's multimedia world. Whereas the first Walking Dead games - starring Lee and Clem - had the virtue of newness on their side (not to mention some real heart at its core), Michonne feels like it's just ticking boxes.
You'll meet a band of survivors, who will probably end up trying to kill you. Or end up getting eaten by zombies. And that's about it, really.
For all its lip service to character development, it's slight, the new characters difficult to warm to, and even Michonne herself - who only really came into her own as she started to be fleshed out - is an aloof and cold protagonist, despite the glimpses into her psychological trauma.
It's a game for fans of the character first and foremost, but even they might be disappointed by what amounts to a pacy, if mostly lacklustre and slight, story, starring everyone's damaged zombie-slicing samurai.
SUMMARY: Walk on.
SCORE: 6 Samurai out of 10 Samurai.
REVIEW: FIREWATCH (PC, PS4, MAC)
REVIEW: OXENFREE (PC/MAC)
REVIEW: THAT DRAGON, CANCER (PC/MAC)