The Walking Dead: 400 Days

I’m not sure how other fans of the ongoing Walking Dead TV series feed, but after playing through Telltale’s contribution to TWD’s universe I couldn’t help but feel somewhat let down by what the TV show offers.  With that in mind, I’ve been eagerly anticipating the game’s second season and wondering if it would live up to the bar set by the first season.  With the surprise announcement of the 400 Days DLC, I knew it would be as good a chance as any to try and find out what’s to come.

400 Days i s modest in size and scope, asking you to step into the shoes of five different survivors and play through their (short) stories, each lasting around 15 minutes.  Telltale makes the most of this short time by eliminating puzzles and delving into character backstories.  You’re given a rough idea who these people are and what trajectory they are on through the zombie apocolypse.  The game focuses exclusively on those characters’ interactions with other survivors at interesting points and successfully creates a sense of drama through good storytelling.

It’s a fairly limited package of content, though at $5 I’m willing to accept that and on whole I came away satisfied with the experience.  Telltale has demonstrated a consistent ability to craft engaging experiences that puts you at ground zero of unfolding human drama.  The chief complaint that I can identify with 400 Days is the lack of impact your choices have on the world surrounding the character.  Outcomes external to the character are predetermined or have a narrow set of changes.  If this bothered you with season one of TWD, then it’s still going to be an issue here.

I feel that the subtlety of the characterizations and the excellent voice acting instill a sense of urgency and immediacy that make the game compelling, if it at least through the first play through.  And of course, your choices are carried along through any subsequent entries in the series which certainly color the player characters.  400 days definitely bodes well for games to come.


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