As “The Walking Dead” television show gets increasingly disappointing, more and more fans might turn to the video game series of the same name. Unfortunately, the latest episode of “The Walking Dead: Michonne,” titled, “Give No Shelter,” may be just as mediocre as the show.
My experience with “Shelter” got off to a rocky start when the game crashed during the “previously on” portion. The opening cutscenes, which feature a good amount of action and explosions, also caused a significant amount of slowdown, making it borderline unwatchable. Just for good measure, the game crashed again right after I gained control of the character.
After a technically atrocious opening, the game does get a lot better. One of the main characters tries to sacrifice themselves, but there’s actually an option to talk him out of it, which might be one of the first really meaningful choices I’ve seen in a Telltale game in a while. Michonne also goes full on samurai mode when she cuts down half a dozen people, and it’s gratifying to see a scene where a character will cut another to pieces without needing to bemoan taking another life.
From there, Michonne and company flee their captors from the last episode through the swamps of the American South, which features some great scenes. One climbing section in particular is thrilling and compelling, giving Michonne some of the zombie apocalypse cred she lacked in the last episode.
Telltale also uses this episode to take advantage of the lack of details surrounding Michonne’s life before the apocalypse. I’m on the record as a huge fan of nightmare sequences, and one such sequence in this episode goes a long way to make me feel more sympathetic toward Michonne, not to mention create some interesting twists.
If you like dark, morbid comedy, then this episode might be funnier than “Tales from the Borderlands.” One dialogue about whether a character has anything left to live for will end with them being shot in the head, an ironic but unexpected turn that reminded me of the best days of the television show, when a main character could die in any episode.
There’s a great scene where the player has to manage a DIY surgery with nothing but some tweezers, a hot poker and vodka. While not as compelling as Clementine’s self-surgery in “The Walking Dead: Season Two,” there’s nothing quite as tough to watch as one human being, even a video game character, getting tortured.
A few good choices punctuate the end of the episode, though there’s nothing that we haven’t seen before. Will you let the bad guy taunt you into killing him? I’ve answered that question in video games a million times, and yet every writer seems to think that their villain is special enough to make me so angry that I’ll actually be conflicted.
The episode ends rather abruptly and clocks in at just over two hours, but there’s just enough here to hold your interest and keep you invested in the story. “Give No Shelter” does nothing new as far as storytelling is concerned, but there’s enough here to make me eager for the concluding episode.
My Score: 6/1
Edward Pankowski is life editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.