The first season of The Walking Dead was something of a surprise hit; Telltale was known for making good games but Walking Dead was beyond good. It took the player’s actions and shaped what was seemingly a story created specifically for them, getting them involved in the zombie apocalypse and, most importantly, infusing the entire tale with significantly more emotion than one typically expects of the medium. While we wait for Season Two to drop, Telltale has just released another episode meant to bridge the gap between the two seasons and introduce us to some new characters. So how does it compare?
The Walking Dead: 400 Days is set up a little differently than the rest of the first season. 400 Days consists of a series of five vignettes, each of which is a self-contained story focusing on a different character spread across the 400 days. Each story takes place during a different time period (Day 0 being the day of the outbreak) but it doesn’t actually matter which story you choose to play first. Up until the final chapter that ties everything together, none of the characters interact at all and, so, no one story is required to understand any of the others, although there are a few cool nods both to the other plot threads and to the first season.
The quality of each individual story is fortunately very high. Telltale does a surprisingly good job of introducing you to each character and getting you up to speed in the short amount of time you play as them, and – by the end of each segment – you’ll really have a feel for who each of these people are. While Telltale is to be commended for how quickly they get you up to speed, my biggest (and only) complaint with the game is how short each section is. You’ll only play as each character for maybe 20 minutes total. This makes it hard to establish emotional connections like you did with Lee and company in the first season, and the short length means that there are very few of the “big” moments that were so prevalent in the other episodes. Most of the story arcs come down to one big choice but the section ends soon afterwards and you never get to see the outcome of your big choice.
As a preview of the upcoming season, TWD: 400 Days is fantastic. It introduces a bunch of incredibly interesting characters and sets up a cool concept and plot threads that I hope we’ll see in Season Two. As a standalone episode, 400 Days is honestly a little disappointing. It never goes far beyond interesting because no one story is long enough. The episode clocks in at roughly two hours (close to the other episodes) but, because of its split nature, it just doesn’t have the impact or extensive characterization that the other games had. At every turn, the game leaves you wanting more – especially because what’s there is just so good.
If you’re already a fan of Telltale’s The Walking Dead, you’re going to want to play this – no exceptions. Just make sure you know what you’re getting and don’t go in expecting one long tale, and you’ll be fine.
Review Score : [starreview tpl=16]
Title : The Walking Dead: 400 Days
Format : PC
Developer : Telltale Games
Publisher : Telltale Games
Release Date : 07/03/13