It took TellTale Games only about a month after dropping the first episode, to release The Walking Dead: Michonne – Episode 2: Give No Shelter. As an episodic adventure game mini-series, the title is a bit of an oddity for the developer. Michonne is, however, a popular character from both the comic books and the AMC television series, and an easy choice for a spotlight. As long as the finale follows in short order, the formula might prove to be an effective one for future titles as well. Now that TellTale has licensed Batman, there are plenty of other characters that could receive a similar treatment.
I’ve covered the limitations of TellTale’s aging proprietary TellTale Game Engine, and its mechanical limitations extensively, in the past. I’ve also long been a critic of what seems like a continuous shortening of TellTale’s episodes, and Episode 2: Give No Shelter, for me, is much too short. It literally goes nowhere. From where the first episode left off, Michonne and her companion don’t cover much physical distance, in the game world, at all. This would be fine if there were more content, but there is actually less material here than there is a The Walking Dead television episode.
It’s not just the fact that less content brings up a pricing issue, it’s that the narrative suffers for it. The is particularly true with TellTale’s Michonne. While the story tries hard to be impactful, the lack of time with the various characters renders the situations meaningless. In the first episode, the game starts off with the titular character contemplating suicide. While that’s a terrible situation, it’s hard for the player to sympathize with her when there’s no context to place it in. This same lack of exposition also significantly reduces the impact of Michonne’s flashbacks and hallucinations.
TellTale’s The Walking Dead: Season One and The Wolf Among Us are touted as the pinnacles of the developer’s efforts for a reason. The reason is that TellTale actually took the time to put you in the characters’ shoes for more than a minute or two, and you actual felt invested in the characters. In the series since, the episodes have gotten shorter at the expense of the storytelling. It really doesn’t matter how many people die in the episode, if you don’t really know them anyway. The other serious problem with Michonne’s abbreviated episodes is that the villains are reduced to caricatures, again compromising the overall narrative.
TellTale’s The Walking Dead: Michonne – Episode 2: Give No Shelter does little more than introduce a handful of new characters to kill off. Credit needs to be given to Samira Wiley and the rest of the voice cast needs to be given credit. There is so little character to work with, the fact they are able to deliver their lines so well, is pretty remarkable. I would really love to learn more about the Michonne character, but there is really so little here. Maybe the final episode will make the whole thing worth it, but I won’t hold my breath.
The Walking Dead: Michonne is rated M (Mature) by the ESRB for Intense Violence, Blood and Gore, Sexual Themes, and Strong Language This game can also be found on: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.