Despite its brevity, The Walking Dead: 400 Days is just as intense as its brilliant base game.
After leaving us an emotionally drained wreck, Telltale Games have released their first DLC for The Walking Dead, my game of the year in 2012. 400 Days is just under 2 hours long, and takes place during and just after the events of Season One, serving as a bridge to Season Two. With that said, is it as intense as the first season?
The plot of 400 Days takes place, as the title suggests, between Day 0 and Day 400 of the zombie outbreak. There are five characters to choose from, each with their own chapter of around 10-20 minutes, which can be played in any order. Each chapter seems more of an introduction to each character, so I assume that they will appear in Season Two as major characters. The choices you made in Season One will affect the events of this DLC, and in turn, the choices you make in 400 Days will influence events in the other chapters (depending on which order you played them in), and those of Season Two. Some of the new characters appear, or are at least referenced, in each other’s chapters, and there is at least one mention of events from Season One.
While 400 Days is too short to be as heartbreaking as the first season, there are still plenty of difficult choices to make, especially since there are little to no “good” or “bad” choices.
Gameplay-wise, 400 Days is exactly like its base game, because why fix what isn’t broken? The point-and-click mechanics remain unchanged for the most part, and as always, your actions and dialogue choices will impact the story. 400 Days is presented in The Walking Dead’s iconic cel-shaded comic-book style, and still features excellent voice acting. The soundtrack, as always, provides the perfect ambiance for the setting.
Despite its brevity, or maybe even because of it, 400 Days is just as intense as The Walking Dead Season One, and I highly recommend that you download it. And if you haven’t played The Walking Dead, I strongly advise that you do, and then get 400 Days.
I loved Telltale’s The Walking Dead, and 400 Days is a fantastic bridge between seasons One and Two. It’s quite short (around an hour and a half altogether), but the stellar writing manages to make an emotional impact on each of the five distinct stories with what little time it has. It’s hard to care about any of these characters as much as I did with Lee and Clementine, but I got to know them over roughly ten hours, as opposed to the 15-20 minutes spent with each member of this new cast.
I was pleasantly surprised by the variety in each of the five mini-episodes. One episode sees some stoner characters stuck in a creepy fog after hitting a body with their car; it reminded me very much of the beginning of I Know What You Did Last Summer. Was it a zombie or a human? Someone has to venture into the fog to find out, and that person is decided through a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. Another follows a recovering drug addict as she attempts to evade armed enemies at dusk in a cornfield. None of the episodes really feel like retreads of Lee’s story, which is impressive.
Though all of the tough decisions I made in 400 Days carried weight, it did feel a bit weird choosing actions for characters I barely knew. For instance, in one of the stories you’re given the opportunity to flirt with one of the characters before it’s revealed that they are already in a relationship, which irked me a bit. Still, all of the characters are very well fleshed out, and I look forward to seeing where my hasty decisions lead them in Season Two.