Review – The Walking Dead: Michonne – A Telltale Miniseries – Episode 3

The-Walking-Dead-MichonneTelltale makes monotony compelling in the final chapter of “The Walking Dead: Michonne.”

Telltale Games has displayed a knack for creating drama, tension and providing players with hard choices in the final chapter of any of their previous “The Walking Dead” titles. While “TWD: Michonne” has some of those elements, the choices this time around are ultimately straightforward.  However, that’s not to say they are not touching.

In “What We Deserve,” Norma has somehow managed to capture Pete’s crew and offers to deliver them unharmed in exchange for Randall. The deal sounds easy enough, but Sam isn’t buying it. When the option to leave the Fairbanks estate is presented, Sam refuses and demands that the group stay and fight. Michonne is willing, but will she be able to protect the group now that her hallucinations are starting to grow in frequency and intensity?

We’ll start with the bad and end on the good.

Right off the bat, I was upset with how the game opens. Michonne is seen remembering the lifeless bodies of her daughters. The game suggests that was always the case, but the “how” and “why” is never explored, which kind of negates the whole point of the flashbacks.

I say “kind of” because Telltale makes the scene payoff in a roundabout way… but more on that in a minute.

In my review of the previous episode, I talked about how the hallucinations were the best part of the episode. They help provide a clear picture of a vulnerable Michonne, while letting you participate in a mystery style story. Although we know that Michonne is “fine” in the present day, the horror is derived from what she will find — which, in this case, is nothing.

The stakes are entirely removed when you revisit an established character’s past. And for Michonne, the more interesting idea is seeing her immediate reaction to this cruel-new world.

Michonne snaps out of the memory, and we find ourselves on Pete’s boat two weeks earlier. This is a sad attempt to flesh out the crew: Oak, Siddiq and Berto, which conveniently acts as a plot device later in the episode. Like Sam and her family, the crew suffers from the three episode format. If this were a traditional five episode story, then we could spend more time investing in their characters and situations. Alas we’re forced to care because the other characters say we should.

Perhaps my biggest complaint is how often scenes (both gameplay and cut scenes) would be interrupted by a black loading screen. This was a problem namely for the jump scares because the loading screen would take over right before the apparitions of the children appeared. The episode is fairly short, which made it all the more frustrating when you’re in the middle of the action and the loading screen breaks the tension and disrupts the sequence. I don’t recall having this issue in either of the previous episodes.

That said, let’s shift gears to what this episode does well.

The confrontation with Norma was extremely effective despite the cliché. Her offer to let the crew go in exchange for Randall seems genuine. She rationalizes that there have been losses on both side and that there needn’t be any more bloodshed. Which actually had me concerned, since I made the choice to kill Randall at the end of episode two. Fortunately the deal goes south, leading to the inevitable showdown with Norma that ends in a strangely satisfying way. Even if she and her brother were bad guys simply because the story called for it.

The last thing I want to talk about is the resolution to Michonne and her daughters’ storyline. Telltale makes monotony compelling in the final chapter of “The Walking Dead: Michonne.” We see Michonne leave Colette and Eliode with her ex-husband before heading off to work. This has been the most relatable story in The Walking Dead franchise to date. We see Michonne not as a warrior but as a regular person; she works and has responsibilities like anyone else. And within hours, it’s all taken away from her when the zombie apocalypse begins. It’s a shame the three episodes didn’t focus solely on this premise.

The ending to “What We Deserve” and thus the end to the Michonne miniseries leaves little room for a sequel, which at this point isn’t something I necessarily want to see, though I’d love for Samira Wiley to reprise the role maybe in a cameo or crossover in season three with Clementine. “In Too Deep” showed promise, “Give No Shelter” treaded familiar ground and “What We Deserve” had some great moments petering out into a fairly generic ending. The miniseries as a whole has been a good (though not great) experiment in a shorter story format. Hopefully the next time Telltale decides to do a miniseries, they could potentially do longer but fewer episodes.

Rating: 3/5.

[This review was based on the PS4 version provided by Telltale Games.]

Lawr_avThe writer of this piece is: Laurence Almalvez
Laurence tweets from @IL1511

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