Game Review: The Walking Dead 400 Days [Xbox360/PS3/PC/Vita]
Telltale Games listened to our cries of “MORE! MORE! MORE!” after we finished the first series of The Walking Dead games. They became an addiction, one wasn’t enough. You needed another to satisfy your new hunger. I was upset when I finished the final episode, I’ll admit, I did cry. Not because the game was over, but because of the emotional rollercoaster of a ride Telltale Games had taken me on. It had pulled at my heartstrings, made me feel disgust and guilt, but also made me realise how I would behave in a zombie apocalypse. Getting along with people would be tough and telling the truth and being honest could get you killed! If a game can make you feel like that, the creators have done a great job.
Okay, first off, The Walking Dead: 400 Days IS NOT a second series. It is DLC. Think of it as a filler episode in a TV series like Supernatural. Its not relevant to the main plot, it’s there to keep you entertained until something bigger happens. Hopefully the second series will be released later this year. The DLC contains 5 mini episodes that look at 5 different individuals who have all passed by the main hub of the game (Red’s Diner), at some point in their story. Hence why all their photos and info are posted on the notice board there.
The cast of characters you will meet and play this time around are Vince, Bonnie, Russel, Shel and Wyatt. All different personalities out for survival. The stories can be played in any way the player chooses, it’s all up to you. They play out like Pulp Fiction, but with zombies and less gimp suits. However, if you want to make sense of the events that unfold, you are best starting with Vince because his story takes place on day one of the outbreak. When you play as Vince, you can’t help but wonder where Lee from Season 1 is at the same time. Was he in the police car the same time as Vince was on that motorway?
Each episode will last roughly 20 minutes each. I wont lie, I did complete this game in an hour. Its not like Mass Effect DLC that spans almost two hours. This is short, but don’t let that put you off. You can always go back and see the outcome of the other actions, see if there was anything different. There is still tension, guilt and suspense in this DLC, Telltale have made sure of that. Some choices I regretted, others I stand by and believed I did the right thing at the time.
Players probably won’t form a caring bond with this cast because of the short time span, but Telltale Games have still made them believable. Bonnie looks like a young troubled woman, whom you later find out is a recovering drug addict. This is an interesting character to bring to light. How would a person who was once addicted to drugs cope in the zombie apocalypse? I wanted to know more about Bonnie and I do hope she returns in Season 2. Another characters story I enjoyed was Wyatts.
Wyatt’s story for me had the best dialogue; two guys who had just been through Hell and joking about the past. You can see this pair being at university together, watching geek movies and sharing joints. They seem like normal everyday guys who have ended up on the wrong side of someone really bad. Eddie farts at Wyatt when he asks Eddie “Remind me why you don’t have a girlfriend”. This little piece of toilet humour makes you remember that even in a zombie outbreak, you need to find time to laugh and remember how things once were. Sadly this happy little moment doesn’t last long.
The good old comic book style from the previous game is back. The game looks stunning without the latest graphics and motion capture, which goes to show that spending lots of money on graphics for a good game is not always necessary. There were points like in the last game, where there was a lot of shadow and I couldn’t quite make out the surroundings. What I’ve discovered is pausing and unpausing the game sometimes makes the area lighter.
Gameplay is the same as before. You still use the analogue stick to move the cursor, and press the corresponding buttons to perform the action. Dialogue is the same way with the buttons, but you also get a timer for the quick decisions like you did in Season 1. So nothing has changed with how you handle the game. And why should it? This is a point and click adventure, keep it simple.
The soundtrack is standard Walking Dead, dramatic pitches and cold silence. The composers paint the scene perfectly. Your heart is pounding when you lie in wait, holding your breath until you know the right moment to strike. When you do, you’re met with a loud, score of music. And then, a remorseful instrumental piece that makes you think “I shouldn’t have done that, dammit!”
Many of you are asking “Do any of my previous choices carry over?” I started the game with my saves from the previous game and I only noticed one thing. If for some mad reason you didn’t complete Season 1, but you want to play 400 Days, it’s not a problem. You can start the game with decisions already made for you from the last series, but you do need to have episode 1 from the first series installed. Personally I think you should correct this and get the rest of Season 1, because it has to be one of the best games released in the last 12 months. Gripping, horrifying, intense; you are certainly getting your monies worth.
Did I enjoy the game? Yes. Do I regret buying it because its short? No. For that hour I was happy to be back in the Walking Dead universe, not knowing what was round the corner and being put in tough situations with difficult choices to make. I will go back and play again to see what new scenarios and dialogue I will unlock. Its nice to have something to sink my teeth into until Telltale Games release Season 2.