The Walking Dead: Michonne Episode 2 - Give No Shelter (PC) - ReviewDan Carreras , posted on 03 April 2016 / 4,075 Views
Given my tepid review of last month's first episode of The Walking Dead: Michonne, I came into the second episode wary. I usually enjoy Telltale games, primarily for their strong story-telling and sense of character development, but the first episode of The Walking Dead: Michonne had neither of these. So the big question for me heading into the second episode was: does Give No Shelter rectify this? Unfortunately no, it does not.
The episode starts inauspiciously by ignoring decisions made in the first episode, which makes the narrative interchangeable from one playthrough to the next. In the first episode, for example, I had done my best to avoid a character that TellTale had been trying to push heavily to the forefront (Amy), choosing instead any option that would make her ill-disposed towards me. However, in Episode 2 you have to immediately rescue her; an act that was not only inconsistent with my choices in the first episode but one which I also wanted nothing to do with.
Upon saving Amy, you’re introduced to her family, which is yet another example of Telltale throwing so many new characters into the mix in this mini-series that it means you barely care about any of them. It’s telling that, towards the end of the episode when one of the new characters gives up the ghost, you don’t really mind one way or the other; you simply carry on as if nothing much has happened.
Every decision is meant to have consequences in Telltale games, but due to the very nature of this series being a short spin-off, the consequences of your actions are never really felt. The “Amy will remember that” text notifications still continue to pop up occasionally, but given the short run-time and lack of character development you could be forgiven for frankly not caring how she (or anyone else in the game) feels about what you say or do.
There is some brief downtime in this episode - a section where you actually get to walk around and interact more casually with characters, learning more about them - but it's short lived. And that's a shame, because these sections are often examples of Telltale at their best, typically containing rich stories and plots that help to flesh the world and its characters out. In fact this section in some respects works against the episode, its brevity making the whole sequence feel forced and inauthentic.
The main upside to the mini-series concept is the short spell between episodes. With previous Telltale series there would often be such a huge gap between episodes that you’d forget some of the characters and their stories, or at least not feel as engaged with them when a new episode landed. Thankfully this doesn’t happen in The Walking Dead: Michonne, so you can jump headfirst into a new episode without having to try and get your bearings.
The presentation continues to be a strongpoint of The Walking Dead: Michonne as well. The character models and even the walkers look just as detailed as ever, helping to drive home the truly gory parts of the episode. And blood, guts, and gore is a genuine strength of this mini-series, which is not something I thought I'd ever praise in all my years of playing adventure games.
But while the presentation continues to go from strength to strength, almost everything else falls spectacularly flat. The story continues to be dull and barely worth experiencing, new characters are thrown onto the screen with regularity but never make their mark, and player decisions are all too often irrelevant. Given how this mini-series has been progressing so far, I don't hold out much hope for a spectacular finale, but I do at least hope that Telltale learns from these missteps and avoids making them again in future.
This review is based on a digital copy of The Walking Dead: Michonne Episode 2 - Give No Shelter for the PC