“Gun In My Hand”
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Format: iOS, Android, PC, Mac, PS3, PS4 (reviewed), Xbox 360, Xbox One
Released: February 23, 2016
Coming off the heals of the fantastic Tales From the Borderlands and the subpar Minecraft: Story Mode, Telltale returns to their mature branch of storytelling with The Walking Dead: Michonne, a miniseries starring the blade wielding heroine. Taking place within the canon universe of Robert Kirkman’s brilliant and savagely brutal comics, the debut episode follows Michonne during her time away from the group after a complicated debacle. The whole episode aligns closely with the tone and presentation of past seasons of Telltale’s take on The Walking Dead, putting a focus on characters and the hardships they endure. What’s different with this miniseries, versus past seasons, is its prerequisite of having read the comics into the high issues to get exactly what’s going on. Those not caught up, will surely be lost in the details driving the episode. That said, fans who are up to speed will find their knowledge base rewarded as In Too Deep shows promise in filling in the blanks of an integral timeline within the source material. Beginning on an excellently orchestrated and heavy note, we’re first introduced to Michonne as she struggles with her past, wandering about in the woods. In a series of hallucinations mixed with reality, Michonne desperately cuts her way through groups of walkers, while fighting back haunting images from her past. It’s an intense way to kick things off, heightened by the act of Michonne dropping to her knees and loading a pistol to raise to her head. These opening moments act as proof that there’s something excellent to be tapped into with this twisting and ultimately emotional narrative. While the premiere fails to capture those highs again, it proves it has the spirit to tackle these complex and dire scenarios that the world of The Walking Dead is all about. We’re thrown a lot of characters, but none truly shine beyond that of Michonne. None are overtly bad, they’re just aren’t allowed the proper time to come into their own. The closest exception to that is the array of villains shown toward the end of episode. Conflict comes to a head in some well-written scenes here, yet the episode concludes just as the plot finally gets going.
There are lot of questions swirling about and a tangible lack of trust between the members of the cast; a dilemma which could turn into one of the season’s most interesting aspects. Aside from some smartly handled situational batter and actions, there weren’t really any character revelations that enhanced Michonne as a leading protagonist, rather than that of flashbacks in which rely on the source material to make sense. I can appreciate the narrative trusting the knowledge of its player, however, that doesn’t give this miniseries a pass in terms of further developing Michonne. From what we’ve seen of foreshadowing and whatnot, the chances of seeing some sort of meaningful arc are there, though time isn’t on the short season’s side. With only two episodes left, presumably around the same length, it’s crucial they can’t waste time meandering around the point of the core story. To the detriment of the premiere, it takes its time adjusting to the characters and plot, prolonging the wait in getting to the tension filled sections. Nonetheless, once it gets there, In Too Deep gains traction and continues to build suspense all the way up to its aggressive and weighty final moments.Conclusion: In Too Deep is a fair opening for Telltale’s newest miniseries, showing signs of strong potential beneath it’s slow to get going central narrative and interesting characters. Michonne, herself, is the episode’s biggest strength, acting as a capable and layered protagonist to lead the story. Looking at the premiere specifically, it lacks the merits early on to make this episode feel important as a standalone slice of narrative. Perhaps as a jumping off point, In Too Deep works better than it does now, but we’ll have to wait until next time to see if its slow build a lots to anything of substance.
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