The Walking Dead: Michonne – Episode 2: Give No Shelter
At an accelerated pace, Telltale Games is preparing us for the third season of their own The Walking Dead. Episodes of the Michonne mini-series are released every month, but this is not the result of a hacky approach: it’s just that the episodes are half the standard, and the season consists of only three of them. At the end of March we got to the second one.
The continuation of Michonne’s story is, surprisingly, three-quarters action. The number of dull pixel-hunting fragments traditional for a series, where a character wanders around an empty location for a quarter of an hour and examines unremarkable places, has been reduced to one. The rest of the time – escape, parkour, killing, stealth and very little dialogue. You will even be able to personally participate in the creation of the famous “Michon’s walking team”, with which the heroine first appeared on the pages of the original comics, and then in the series.
The frantic dynamics of what is happening is beneficial to everything except the duration. The episode is shorter than the previous one and runs in less than an hour. It is not clear how to treat such an approach. On the one hand, you kind of paid for a full-fledged game, and not for a quick run from point A to point B without much plot development. On the other hand, when Telltale stops the action in The Walking Dead, some nonsense often happens, so it’s better for the characters to run than stand and chat about nothing.
So let’s move on to the second problem. There are no interesting QTEs here, hints of which appeared in the first episode. No combos, no complex sequences, everything is terribly primitive, and dying from not having time to press a button has become much more difficult. Considering that the meaning of the second episode lies in the action, and Telltale’s it almost entirely consists of QTE, then the authors should have definitely focused on this gameplay part. But no, everything is too simple, too predictable and too ordinary.
So let’s talk about non-linearity, which was not actually there in the first episode. Here she hatched a little, but limited herself to exactly one choice: whether to allow Michonne’s friend to sacrifice himself. Make him stay and Pete will be with you until the very end, even taking part in some action scenes. But the authors clearly did not really count on such a development of events, so when Michonne has to drag a dying person on his shoulders, her muscular comrade will walk beside him, not even thinking of helping. I remember the female version of Shepard from Mass Effect, which also regretted the unique animation – even though the budget was clearly higher there.
And what do we end up with? Short duration, fast dynamics, a slight interspersing of honest non-linearity, which we no longer dreamed of, and the standard abundance of false and ostentatious non-linearity. The two released episodes differ from each other both in pace and in structure, as if with their mini-series the authors are testing the ground and asking the players what they actually need. It will be great if Telltale draws the right conclusions and uses them to create a really worthwhile third season. But for now, it’s just a dream.