Saturday, 9 April 2016

The Walking Dead: Michonne: Episode 2 - Give No Shelter: PS4 Review

The Walking Dead: Michonne: Episode 2 - Give No Shelter: PS4 Review


Released by Telltale Games
Platform: PS4

The second episode of this three part miniseries definitely sees the action being ramped up.

And the choices to make need to made breakneck speed in this latest outing - otherwise Michonne's more of a goner than you would expect.

In the second ep, picking up from the cliffhanger where Michonne is facing down the wrong end of the barrel of a gun, a quick choice makes the game fire into overdrive. Episode 1 was very much about the set-up aboard the boats in the bayou, whereas the latest one sees you doing all you can to get Sam and Pete off the water and into the (relative) safety of the nearby woods.

Though admittedly, this course of action isn't the smartest one to take and a lot of the plot is still driven by Michonne's guilt over her daughters. In fact, it's still Michonne's story first and foremost, with plenty of the decisions being around her and to a lesser degree the survivors around her. That's great to get into the mindset of this fan favourite but does little to help you engage in either Pete or Sam.

Admittedly, the twist involving kids and a safe haven seem obvious in retrospect and no doubt the conclusion will explore her potential empathy for the children within, but Episode 2 - Give No Shelter is a nice melange of fearful set-ups and tautly executed action sequences. There's tension aplenty in this latest with a short cut providing initial groans given how obviously dangerous it is for the trio, but yet also providing a lot of inherent danger for the playout of the sequence. It's a grand offering and the action within the woods is very much this episode's raison d'etre.

The story is still very much Walking Dead 101 and there's a real feeling the antagonist of the piece, Randall, is as stereotyped as they come - but towards the end of the episode, the cracks he exposes in Michonne's already fragile and damaged psyche raise the bar for the consequences - and the final ep hints at nothing but bad times ahead for the group.

But this time around, choices feel harder - interactions feel more resonant and meaningful and while it's not as simple as black and white, the moral edges around the bigger questions go to the heart of what the Walking Dead is about - the slow unrelenting loss of humanity. (It also helps that this ep has a few great Michonne Walker kills too).

While Michonne's daughters are yet to feel like anything more than a story device, it's hoped that the final ep gives some resonance to their resurrection in her mind. Certainly the final moments and a haunting sequence where Michonne's exploring the inner recesses of her mind give more insight into the character and why she's so damaged and so haunted.

Perhaps, the greatest victory of The Walking Dead: Michonne: Episode 2 - Give No Shelter is that it proves a great middle section to a story; there's nary a lull in sight and there's every feeling that consequence will have some very real ramifications in the denouement.

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