"The dip in the storytelling department emphasizes the game's poor performance"
I am a big fan of the episodic Walking Dead games, so I was very pumped to hear that it was coming back. It was a little weird hearing that it was going to focus so closely on a character from the comic book and show since I do not read or watch either of them, and especially as we are in the middle of an agonizing wait to see what is happening with Clementine, the heroine of previous Walking Dead games, but I was happy to give this one a try.
My previous Walking Dead reviews on my old blog were very repetitive. I would always say that the interactive storytelling was some of the very best in gaming, but that technical problems mar the experience. The Walking Dead: Michonne certainly kept the technical problems in full force, but unfortunately the storytelling did not live up to the pedigree.
First, the storytelling. It's not bad, and there are several intriguing angles, but it's nowhere near as good as the fresh and interesting ideas in previous Walking Dead games. There are several moments where instead of being sucked into the story, I was thinking “I've seen this before.” There is a lot of Walking Dead story out there, not to mention an unbelievable amount of other zombie fiction, and the tropes show through a little too much in this edition. But not horribly. I came into this game knowing very, very little about Michonne, but she does seem to be an interesting character and I am hopeful that this story will get better. The game did present some moral quandries I haven't seen before, but overall the scenario felt a bit on the stale side.
Now for a minor rant on the technical side. Telltale should be embarrassed at how this game runs. It skips and stutters, even at key emotional moments and during actions scenes, detracting big time from the experience. They've made a million episodes of their games and there is no excuse for their newest one running like garbage. The game is about 90 minutes long, and has about 10 or so hangs ups and frame skips, including one part where it totally froze for so long I thought it had crashed (I'm playing on PS3, FYI). There are also a small handful of lazy graphical glitches in the animation, such as Michonne putting a machete into a sheath after missing the hole by a mile and very clearly clipping the entire blade into the whole length of the sheath. I just don't get how these games get through QA. With every new episode of the Walking Dead, I hold out hope that the technical problems will clear up, but they haven't yet. Here's hoping the next episode runs better.
One more little negative, there are some poor musical choices, such as a pretty laughable end credits song that feels really pretentious. Also, seeing stats regarding your choices compared to what other people are choosing is usually the cherry on top of the episodic game experience, but I was disappointed to see that you now cannot view your stats when you are offline. I don't have regular internet access, so I'm not going to get to see my stats, which is really disappointing since previous versions would just use the stats from the last update to the game.
Previous episodes of The Walking Dead were so engrossing that you could overlook the annoying technical problems and really enjoy yourself, but this newest venture takes a dip in the storytelling department that really emphasizes the game's poor performance. The game's narrative is quite a few rungs below it predecessors. That said, a few rungs down from “nearly perfect” is still “pretty good,” and I did enjoy this episode. I'm hoping the next episode throws in more original scenarios and ideas and strays further from zombie fiction tropes, and that Telltale will polish it's game engine up. This episode is a 3 out of 5.
Community review by Robotic_Attack (March 19, 2016)
Robotic Attack reviews every game he plays... almost.
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