The Walking Dead: 400 Days
Telltale Games released a smash hit last year with its Walking Dead episodic content. In five episodes Telltale managed to hook players and get them to become completely invested in the characters and the story. Walking Dead was riddled with tough choices and brutal consequences. With season 2 of Walking Dead just around the corner, Telltale has released a bridge episode to tide fans over until its release.
400 Days tasks the player with playing through 5 short stories that span, ironically enough, 400 days. These short stories are based on 5 individual people, or small groups of people and the choices they have to make and how those choices all have one common theme. In terms of overall story, I felt it merely average. This could be in part that I had very little, to no, emotional investment with the characters. I understood just fine what was going on and how it was impacting them. Yet their individual stories were so short that it didn’t feel like I had much say in what was happening or going to happen. It was more like I was watching some scripted scenes that tried to give me the impression I was actually doing something.
In my opinion, where Season 1 of Walking Dead really resonated with all gamers was the personal and emotional investment with the characters. Gamers legitimately cared about what happened to Clementine and what Lee was going to do to make sure she was safe. It all culminated with an amazing end that left gamers wanting more. By doing a bridge episode between the two seasons, Telltale has effectively removed that emotional investment by adding new characters that have nothing to do with Season 1. I’m not sure how these new characters will be introduced to those from Season 1 but to be perfectly honest I am not sure I will remember any of these new characters.
Gameplay, graphics, and sound are exactly what you would expect from Telltale and a Walking Dead episode. There was nothing that needed to be changed and Telltale stuck to the formula that was successful so returning players will immediately be able to pick it up and go. While there is nothing special about the controls, they don’t get in the way of the solid foundation that was built in Season 1.
While playing Season 1 I remember being completely glued to the screen during conversations waiting for that moment where a difficult choice rears its head and having to choose what to do. While those moments are also included in 400 Days, I never really felt that sense of urgency and panic as I made a choice. I wanted to care about the characters and the choices I was making, but I simply never did.
- The classic Telltale tough choice
- Familiar gameplay and controls
- No real connection with the new characters
- Consequences don’t seem as brutal
- Very short (about 2 hours)
With 400 Days, Telltale attempts to bridge the gap from Season 1 to Season 2, however, with the lack of connection to the new characters and no returning characters it feels somewhat trite. That’s not to say the gameplay isn’t solid, but the emotional investment from Season 1 is nearly nonexistent. Add to that a very short game time and 400 Days left me underwhelmed. For hardcore fans of Season 1, 400 days is a no-brainer. However, for most others 400 days may be best off waiting for a sale. At 400 Microsoft Points it’s not a bad deal, yet it seems the effort could have been deeper and more meaningful. In the end I liked what I played, but it just didn’t have the same impact as any of the previous episodes.
Written by Andy Gray