After the underwhelming opening of Episode 1, Episode 2 of The Walking Dead: Michonne desperately tries to ascend an ill-maintained tower of rotting steel and tetanus in order reach new territory. Little does this entry know that climbing a rusty not-ladder is as cliche as it gets in Telltale’s vision of Kirkman’s world. Those who played Episode 1 or read my review likely know that despite how action-packed Michonne’s Telltale debut was, it lacked authenticity — a sorry state continued into Episode 2. At least the choreography and creative deaths have improved.
One has to wonder what to expect from a three-episode Walking Dead series absent Clementine. While a deep, life-changing narrative might be difficult to accomplish, Telltale has challenged itself to provide something worth our money as it tries to cash in on Michonne’s popularity. I emphasize money over time, because Episode 2 runs about an hour long in a breezy, meandering fashion. While the plot and “surprises” can be seen a mile away through a sniper lens, the gore and tense fights enhance an otherwise benign plot.
The supporting cast and villains remain as one-dimensional as in Episode 1, with the same old baggage, aspirations, and desires. While the circumstances may not inspire varying motivations, the writers have taken on the task of creating something fresh in a world we’ve experienced through Kirkman’s comics, the two TV series, the core Telltale Walking Dead series, and 400 Days. That said, a semblance of existential inquiring briefly piqued my interest, only to be quickly squelched.
Michonne’s struggle with her past that manifests itself in the present appears with more frequency in this episode, though the developers have yet to capitalize on any practical application. At one point, her temperament changes in a moment, prompting a choice in which players have the opportunity to place themselves in Michonne’s psyche, but the delivery lacks musical, artistic, or novel complement, resulting in a lackluster, ho-hum, binary decision. Admittedly, Michonne’s bouts with her history are highlights that excite me, even if only a little, but they’re so infrequent that I find myself stuck on the periphery of immersion.
As for the aforementioned choreography, the camera work, sounds, and sheer colors of combat are more pronounced than in Episode 1. At times, I even found myself tempted to engage in more gruesome acts, just to see what the art team has in store, but I kept true to my vision of who Michonne is and what she should be. Some of the deaths are the most creative I’ve seen yet in Telltale’s work, and the situations resulted naturally. Although I typically value substance over id-based depravity, I can’t deny how impressive the graphical and sound work are.
In terms of performance and general control, the episode’s initial release presents with some hiccups and long loading times. Episode 2 performs well otherwise, with proper clicking. Dialogue timers have been extended for those who want to enjoy the script while mulling over how to respond. In this way, Telltale seems to have responded to community complaints, though we’ve been to this show before — let’s see what Episode 3 has in store.
The short of it is that Episode 2 is, well, short. In fact, it was even shorter than Episode 1 for me, and I questioned the price point even then. In terms of quality versus quantity, Episode 2 doesn’t improve upon Episode 1 in any regard other than artistic direction. In fact, any sort of wonder or anticipation is now completely gone, since the hope that Episode 1 might just be setting up some cool new direction for the series is lost now that we’re two-thirds of the way through. All things considered, I am looking forward to seeing how Michonne’s story plays out, even though I know it’s not healthy to live in the past.