The Walking Dead: Michonne, Episode Two: Give No Shelter Review
The Walking Dead: Michonne, Episode Two: Give No Shelter Review
The Positives - Samira Wiley's complex portrayal of Michonne. The Negatives - Everything Else
Posted: 04/03/16 | Category: Review | Developer: Telltale Games | Publisher: Telltale Games | Platform: Android, Ios, Xbox one, Playstation 4, Windows, Mac

Genre: Point-And-Click Adventure
Release date: March 29, 2016
Review Platform: PS4

In my review of Episode One: In Too Deep I mentioned that despite the various problems with the game, the series could still succeed if the narrative developed into the engrossing story that Michonne deserves. The good news is that I had a lot of fun playing Episode Two: Give No Shelter; the bad news is that any therapist worth his weight in salt would probably say that my enjoyment was a symptom of some kind of auto-masochistic disorder. Between game-breaking bugs and a narrative so dismal that it’s essentially begging you to feel anything, Give No Shelter is a step backward for a series that was already losing the race.

Warning: Even though the episode is already rotten there are still light spoilers below.

The Worst Part: Story
 

Michonne is such an amazing character that the cognitive dissonance between what the story could be and what the story actually is can be quite painful at times. Much like the first episode, the brief moments of flashbacks/hallucinations continue to be the narrative highlights. Michonne’s struggle with depression and the guilt over the deaths of her daughters is a potent story that feels too much like a sidenote amongst the primary storyline.

So how about that primary storyline? Stormin’ Norma’s back, everyone! She and her boys are out to kill because that’s what bad people do, and this time Norma brought “Terrible Character Development” to the party.

Think the villain is a bad guy? No worries. Right before you begin torturing him he tosses out a half-assed, “My daddy beat me” line that’s been placed to establish the depth of his character. Childhood abuse is no laughing matter and can certainly be utilized to develop a morally questionable character. On AMC’s The Walking Dead, Merle Dixon discussed the abuse he suffered at the hands of his father and it added layers to an already complicated character. But in this instance it comes across as a retroactive attempt at characterizing a flat caricature.

Did you like that bonding moment between Michonne and a brand new character? That’s too bad. After opening the main gate and awkwardly loitering around during his monologue, that dude meets a very quick end. This is ham-fisted storytelling at its greatest, and I truly hope the writer of that scene didn't  think he was creating tension. In fact, this episode of Michonne plays out like a bizarre B Horror movie.

The ridiculous attempts at shocking the audience are only undone when you realize that you’re supposed to take it seriously.

I won’t even pretend that I have any hope for the third and final episode. One of the greatest sins of Episode Two was its unrelenting desire to set up what appears to be an action-filled final battle. Unfortunately for us, the conflict between Michonne and Stormin’ Norma has consistently disappointed .

The Bad: Gameplay
 

At one point in Give No Shelter, I was given three dialogue options that all amounted to the same terrible outcome. So, knowing that silence is an option, I opted not to speak.

It broke the game.

And it was the funniest part of the episode. The camera zoomed in on one of the villains while he creepily smiled straight into my soul. I couldn’t pause; I couldn’t back out; I couldn’t proceed forward. The game wasn’t even actually frozen. The guy kept moving his head back and forth and blinking at me like a snake waiting for the punchline of a joke.

The brief joy that I experienced from Episode One’s intense action sequences is largely absent here as well. The game starts off with an acceptable escape scene but quickly devolves into rote banality that isn’t even attempting innovation.

Starting with Telltale’s Batman series in Summer 2016, they will be utilizing a “very much upgraded” game engine. Let’s just say that it’s about time.

The Concession: Graphics and Voice Acting
 

If you’re looking for silver linings, you can find them in Samira Wiley’s portrayal of Michonne. Though the Internet was initially disappointed that Danai Gurira wouldn’t be portraying Michonne in all media, Samira Wiley has proven to be a more than capable Michonne. She brings an emotional complexity to a game that is consistently flat. Unfortunately, the colossal burden of carrying the game on her shoulders only serves to further diminish the characters struggling around her.

Conclusion
 

The miniscule runtime—just an hour long—is a double-edged sword: you’ll be thrilled that it’s over, yet still feel like you deserved a more robust game. Give No Shelter failed to build on the meager momentum established in the first episode, and the audience—much like Michonne herself—will find itself suffocating for lack of meaning in this trite adventure.

Grade: D
Samira Wiley's complex portrayal of Michonne
 
Everything else
 Logo
 
 
Trailer:
 
 
 
System Requirements
 
MINIMUM PC:
OS: Windows XP Service Pack 3
Processor: Core 2 Duo 2GHz or equivalent
Memory: 3 GB RAM
Graphics: ATI or NVIDIA card w/512 MB RAM
DirectX: Version 9.0
Storage: 3 GB available space
Sound Card: Direct X 9.0c sound device
Additional Notes: Not Recommended for Intel integrated graphics
 
MINIMUM Mac:
OS: Lion (10.7.X)
Processor: 2.3 Ghz Intel
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Graphics: 512 MB NVIDIA or ATI graphics card
Hard Drive: 3 GB available space
Additional Notes: Not recommended for Intel integrated graphics or Mac Minis or early-generation MacBook
 
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