In the my review of the first episode in this series, I had concerns that the writers were too constricted by an established character to really let loose and do what they wanted to. Some of those same fears surface yet again in The Walking Dead: Michonne - Episode 2: Give No Shelter. I did enjoy this episode slightly more, and can appreciate the direction it is going, but I find myself questioning whether or not it will reach a satisfying conclusion.
The first episode was all over the place for me. It lacked a sense of direction and purpose by and large. Here there is certainly more motivation for what characters are doing, but it feels akin to an episode used to set things up for later. That works if you have several episodes to work with, but given the mini-series nature of this arc, the pacing begins to suffer at the end as things begin to feel rushed. The Walking Dead largely succeeds because it has a sort of slow burn quality to its narrative that is being pushed along here a little too quickly.
That is not to say the circumstances are not interesting, and I am holding out hope that more of the questions around the story so far get answered. I am just concerned that it will feel rushed in the next episode. Thankfully what is here works more often than not. We get more insight to Michonne, and while those parts of the story work well, because this is an established character fans of the show are familiar with, I know I personally felt slightly disconnected from her story. Certainly I am making some decisions, and there is a narrative being put out there for my consumption, but there is less ownership on my part than say Clementine's story in the earlier Walking Dead games.
One of the aspects I have enjoyed is that there is more action to the Michonne series. She is a certifiable badass when it comes to the action, where as in many Telltale games the characters you control are somewhat more 'average' on that front. It amounts to the same thing with directional swipes and button presses, but the action feels more important here. With every swing of the cleaver and dodge behind cover, Michonne's presence and the context around these actions feel more like an action game when they occur than previous Telltale titles.
For those who are looking for tough decisions and occasionally brutal, even somewhat gross scenes, this episode certainly delivers that. The Telltale engine is starting to look a little long in the tooth, with occasional technical hiccups and an art style that lends itself better to some games than others (for example, I love the bright, more cartoony style for Tales From the Borderlands, but it has never felt quite as at home with The Walking Dead for me personally). By and large the flow of the game is similar to any other title in the series, where you are more or less guided on rails from one scene to the next, interacting with people and the environment until you trigger the next scene, and that works given the narrative heavy nature of the game.
By and large The Walking Dead: Michonne - Episode 2: Give No Shelter works well enough, but with only one episode left in this mini-series, I am concerned that the last episode will feel rushed when things are said and done. Neither of the first two episodes came across as an overly lengthy, meaty one and I suspect that we will see more of the same with the last episode. The actual story and action are pretty entertaining here, even if I cannot seem to personally connect with Michonne as a character I control as many other Telltale games. Usually the last episode in these series is the best, and I am crossing my fingers that trend remains the same.
Article by Nick