Thursday, 12 May 2016

The Walking Dead: Michonne: Episode 3 What We Deserve: Review

The Walking Dead: Michonne: Episode 3 What We Deserve: Review

Platform: PS4
Released by Telltale Games

It ends exactly as you’d expect in The Walking Dead: Michonne Episode 3: What We Deserve.

Having ended ep2 with the decision to bash antagonist Randall to death, the fact his sister was heading to the house where Michonne was holed up and wanting to get him back was never going to be anything short of a mess.

But in this final ep of the miniseries, while Telltale Games do the obvious in many ways, it’s the way it’s played out and the background to Michonne that are the real reasons to enjoy this.

With ep2 being a little heavier on the action and the lead up to the convergence of the storylines of Michonne’s kids and the kids at the house, it seemed like subtlety was being abandoned in the narrative in favour of convenience. And there are times during the concluding episode where it feels more of a coincidence than plotting that conflicts arise, but The Walking Dead: Michonne Episode 3 is very much a culmination of what Robert Kirkman’s created in his own world – a post-apocalyptic world where chances are given and the consequences of actions inform a lot of how the going to hell in a handcart ethos can kick in.

The third episode feels shorter and there’s a lot more exploring the house within to get some depth and context to Michonne and the inhabitants, but these sidelines are optional. It’s the smaller, quieter moments in this episode which stand out more; the brief conversations where you can either be accommodating or abrupt which give the choices an edge. Granted, you can argue that the choices make little difference to the overall outcome, but it’s how you choose to live as Michonne that informs so much of what you take away from this series.

Some of the walking around feels a little clunkier at times as the exposition comes, but there’s a lucidity to the gradual reveals of what happened to the family that perhaps the episodic structure hasn’t favoured. As a whole, the PTSD elements hang together a lot more in one chunk, but it’s the troubled nature of Michonne that feels more engaging this time around. It’s a shame given that some of the lesser characters around her aren’t as well shaped as they could be (Pete being the prime example of what more could be done to build the characters) – but Norma’s interaction is up there with some of the show’s worst. She’s there for love, for the return of her brother, but her behaviour is a testament to doing things the wrong way.

The action in Episode 3 plays out well, but it’s the tension of the gate encounter with Norma that stands out. It’s here the suspense of the piece becomes unnerving and here that there doesn’t feel like there is a right answer/ interaction, which is an interesting dynamic that Telltale Games are instigating into proceedings – the fact that some choices can’t actually be made is a fascinating one to execute in future titles.

While ep3 is not a major mis-step by any stretch of the imagination, the fact it feels rushed in parts and occasionally padded in others means that as an individual ep it doesn’t hang together as well as it could.

However, as a whole and as a final chapter of the mini-series, it’s a more integrated story and part of a wider tapestry. While this mini-series has seen Telltale Games experiment with their format, it shows that at its core, character is still more important than any bells and whistles.

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