[Episodic game reviews may ‘spoil’ details of previous episodes. Specifics about this episode will be discussed in broad and/or generic terms.]
|Publisher||Developer||Reviewed On||Release Date|
|Telltale Games||Telltale Games||PlayStation 4||March 29, 2016|
Give No Shelter
The Walking Dead: Michonne’s second episode, titled Give No Shelter, continues where Episode 1 left off: still leaving it up to Michonne to carry the story, still relying on common Walking Dead tropes, still vague about Michonne’s past, but most importantly, still a good experience despite being extremely short.
No time to talk
The plot of Give No Shelter is Norma’s Monroe community giving chase to an escaped Michonne and company. This presented a more action-oriented focus when compared to Episode 1’s character driven approach. There’s no time to stand about talking to people on a ship this time around. Instead, being on the run gave ample opportunity for QTE interactions like stealing a boat to escape Monroe, or climbing a rickety tower while dodging gunfire. A fun stealth sequence near the end was a standout moment for the series. Stuck in a bad spot, Michonne has a couple options available to fight her way back. The freedom, though limited, made me feel like I was in more control of the story versus just going along for the ride.
One woman show
The mayhem is engaging, but one downside to giving it the spotlight is that it provides little room for character or plot developing dialogue. We explore Michonne’s backstory just a little deeper in Episode 2, but the events shown don’t match the comics. Perhaps the third installment will show us the tragic fate her daughters met, or if it is simply the lingering question that haunts Michonne. Unfortunately, outside of our lead there still isn’t much to care about. We’re now past the halfway point in the miniseries and Michonne alone is carrying the narrative. I somewhat expect this, given the name of this miniseries, but it’d be nice to have a stronger supporting cast. As it stands now, I don’t really care about any other characters. There’s a family on the receiving end of terrible misfortune in Give No Shelter, but ultimately these is no reason to invest in them other than “isn’t it terrible the kids have to go through this?”
Past Walking Dead games have taught me that even when I am making decisions, I’m rarely in full control. If given an option to convince another character to stay or leave, I expect Telltale has already determined the result. Give No Shelter, on the other hand, flips the script in that regard and instead offers an early choice that impacts the entire rest of the chapter. Even more so than the stealth sequence, I feel a real command of the narrative that is not always present in other titles.
A character dies in a very “Walking Dead” manner. In fact, it’s quite similar to the way a certain woman on the television series went out recently. Here, however, the person made such a stupid decision to facilitate the death that it is frustrating to watch unfold. I won’t spoil it here, but this character performs an action in the least safe way imaginable. Seconds later, not at all to my surprise, the person catches a bullet to the head. Yes, bad decisions are an easy way to die in a zombie apocalypse, but this particular individual had every motivation to not behave in the manner shown. Set up as the big shocker of Episode 2, this moment fell flat because it was so telegraphed.
Not even an hour of walkers
Episode 2 is short. When a game takes longer to download than it does to complete, that’s a problem. All of my gameplay clips combined, which encompass an entire complete playthrough, add up to under an hour. I did not at all rush, but chapters were completing, along with the trophy notifications that let you know you’re moving on, within five minutes of each other. Granted, players could go back and replay the chapter to see how different decisions pan out, but when I play these games *my* decisions are *my* story. If I’m really curious about how something may have changed, and usually the differences are inconsequential to the greater story, I can hop on Reddit or watch a YouTube video. At this rate, the entire miniseries will take about three to four hours to complete.
Give No Shelter is another good-enough entry of The Walking Dead: Michonne. Fans of everything The Walking Dead will find a lot to love here. Although much too short and still over reliant on Walking Dead tropes, Episode 2 sets the table well enough that a strong conclusive episode featuring a showdown between Michonne and Norma could elevate the miniseries to something greater than the sum of its parts.
Score: 6.5/10 – Okay
The Walking Dead: Michonne – Episode 2: Give No Shelter was reviewed on PlayStation 4 using a review copy provided by Telltale Games.