Frustratingly Dead On The Inside – The Walking Dead: Michonne Episode 2 Review (PC)
The Walking Dead can seemingly do no wrong in the eyes of many. While the show continues to drag on, with glimpses of quality, the demand for more Zombie fused soap drama grows ever stronger. After a rather underwhelming first outing, The Walking Dead: Michonne returns, complete with its own batch of problems.
Episode One failed to establish any other character beyond Michonne, relegating everyone else to background shadows. Interactions felt fruitless, mere vehicles for the title character to push forward in a style both TV and comic had already established. Typical tropes found in the show have made their appearance, marking people out for oh so very predicable deaths. Nothing has really changed in Episode Two: Give No Shelter.
Characters mostly remain as husks that act as plot devices for Michonne. There’s no sense of connection between anyone character that evolves past snarling or bizarrely intimate. Each dialogue option only ever serves to force the plot forward, rarely allowing for characters to settle or grow. Two episodes in and we’re still not sure why Michonne gives a crap about her male companion, he’s just there and provides reasons for her to do things.
To TellTale’s credit, episode 2 has its moments. There’s a handful of scenes which engage the player, enhancing the desired feeling of threat. Michonne works best in stressful situations, her steely nature adds urgency and a genuine quality to the dialogue. Away from the more intense sections, things feel flat and uninspired. Much like the first episode, Give No Shelter indulges in flash backs.
Exploring the back story of Michonne (or in content of the game, the back back story) should be interesting. Why is she so cold and machine like? What moulded her into what she became? Why are these flash backs so boring? It’s clear Telltale wanted to create some sense of emotion, appealing to those with children. Unfortunately these flash backs offer nothing but a nuisance. They interfere with the episode’s core plot, braking up the ebb and flow of the story.
Towards the end of the episode, quality takes a nose dive. New characters are thrown into the equation with next to no development. Instead of letting the player get to know these characters, they’re instead spoon fed facts about them. Here’s a son, here’s a daughter and here’s a father, that’s pretty much where it starts and ends. Fans of the show will know this means one thing, death.
A chain of events form towards the closing act of the episode, all of which completely ignore previous conversations between characters. It’s frustrating and feels beyond slopply, even more so from the likes of Telltale. Events that are meant to emotionally engage the player only happen due to character’s stupidity and disregard towards conversations had mere moments prior. It leaves a bitter taste in the mouth by the time the credits begin to roll.
At this point in time, TellTale’s game engine is performing as roughly as it looks. Never before has a Telltale game looked so below par and played so poorly. Regular frame rate drops, wooden animation and visible amounts of texture overlay plague Episode 2, from beginning to end. Emotional scenes are turned humorous by the stiff facial expressions displayed by characters. It’s hard to invest into a narrative when everything looks so unnaturally robotic.
Voice acting ranges from perfectly fine to cheesy. Episode Two’s villain spits out insults and slurs non-stop. The first three minutes provide entertainment, then it just becomes silly. You can only hear how many times you’re going to die before the threat loses its edge. A more subtle issues comes in the shape of the music. When the tone of the scene changes, the music cuts out cold and completely changes. It’s jarring, at times, hilarious.
The Walking Dead: Michonne Episode 2 – Give No Shelter is another stumble in the mini series. Brief flashes of quality fail to trump the abundance of annoyances. It all feels too predictable. The failures of the first episode are still largely present when it comes to character development. There’s no reason to care about any of cast, we know Michonne is not at risk and there’s no reason to care about anyone else. Deaths are meaningless, only serving to force the plot forward. Flash backs kill the game’s momentum, technical issues halts player immersion.
Clocking in at under two hours, its mini-series format does the game no favours. TellTale may have been better severed by releasing The Walking Dead: Michonne as a complete product. Each episode has so far highlighted every little problem they respectively host. Episode One was forgettable, episode two is simply frustrating.