Telltale’s Downloadable adventure introduces us to some new characters and… that’s about it.
Season 2 of Telltale’s The Walking Dead episodic game series is coming in the fall. So to bridge the gap between the last season and the new, they’ve released The Walking Dead: 400 Days. A fun, different entry into the universe that’s been cultivated by Telltale. While the DLC was fun, I played on the 360, it ultimately left me wanting more. In both the good and bad way.
You can choose to play as any of the characters from the beginning and follow what amounts to a 20 minute vignette about their life and what led them to this point. Each tale is told across the first 400 days (makes sense, right?) of the apocalypse. Telltale did a great job giving you a taste of each character but not enough to know the full story. I found it hard sometimes to make decisions about characters I simply didn’t know well enough to make decisions for.
For example, as Vince, in the opening scene (SPOILERS KIND OF) you murder someone offscreen who is babbling about not knowing something (blah blah blah). The rest of the story is spent on a prison bus. What did I do? Is Vince someone I want to redeem? With Bonnie, the first 5 minutes I spent flirting (Yes I’m talking about flirting in a video game!) with Leland only to realize I probably shouldn’t have been. I believe the stories we’re designed to be open-ended and ambiguous, but without getting to know the characters the way I knew Lee and Clem, it’s tough for me to care about their final outcomes.
Each story was fun. The notable exception for me was Russell. I played through each character twice and each time Russell was the weak link. He wasn’t fleshed out enough (although Nate was creepy) compared to the meatier episodes of Chel or Bonnie (my favorites). It speaks to Tell Tales writing that in 20 minutes they could get me to care so much about Wyatt (anyone besides Russell really) and his friend that I felt bad by the end of his story.
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If you played The Walking Dead‘s first 5 episodes then you know the game is more about story and decision-making than any big action pieces that you may see in a Halo game. The character moments and tough decisions that drive The Walking Dead and 400 Days are no different. This is a game where you pay more attention to the little things than the big. So much can be said with just a roll of their eyes or wrinkling of the brow.
Having said that there is a lot of texture pop in and straight up lag when a decision or save point is reached. Common in the first game and still present now. When a game specializes in the intimate moments, it makes the flaws stand out a bit. Nothing that destroys the awesomeness of the game, but still enough to take you out of the story.
Telltale consider’s this and epilogue to Season 1. With no definite connections 400 Days seems more like a prologue to Season 2. Either way Season 1 was one of the best games of last year. Having more of the same is a welcome sight. I can’t wait for Season 2 even if 400 Days didn’t fill me up. It doesn’t break any new ground but I would absolutely recommend spending the 5 bucks on it.
The Walking Dead: 400 Days Review
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