The Walking Dead: 400 Days Review

Jason McDonald

The-Walking-Dead-400-DaysI should preface this by saying this review would have been up much sooner had it not been for the technical difficulties I had to endure while playing the game.  While playing on the PS3 version I ran into several game ending bugs that forced me to restart my game.  Then I ran into several issues where the game did not save my progress so I had to play through parts a few times.  I didn’t have any such troubles with the first season of Telltale’s Walking Dead, so I was surprised to run into so many glitches in a such a short game.  I’ve heard no one else complain about these issues, so it might just be my bad luck.

That being said “The Walking Dead: 400 Days” is more of the same.  Depending upon your enjoyment of Telltale’s previous “Walking Dead” game, that’ll either excite you or it won’t.  However, it isn’t an exact copy of the previous game and it does have some interesting innovations that make it stand out over it’s predecessor.

The story in the game is broken up over six sections.  There are five characters to play as who each have their own unique story.  Players can choose to play through the five individual stories in any order that they want.  However, each one takes places at different points in the Walking Dead narrative.  Vince’s story, for example, takes place two days after the first infection.  Each narrative will take you about twenty minutes to complete, but they’re all filled with the same moral choices and character development that fans have come to expect.  Though your time with each character is fleeting, you’re given enough details about them to properly become attached to them in some way.

One of the great things that this game does is that, even though the character stories are separate, there are certain threads that run through all of them.  In some instances it won’t be immediately clear.  For example, a character mentions in passing that they still haven’t found a missing flashlight and that they must’ve lost it in the field.  Then in another section we learn why that character was in a field and it becomes a pivotal point in another characters story.

Even less important details crossover into other character’s stories.  Kill a zombie in one and it might not be there when another character comes through that same area.  It’s an interesting device that helps to weave a narrative that isn’t crystal clear, but becomes easier to understand as the story progresses.  Unfortunately, these threads can some times be easy to miss if the player doesn’t engage in every conversation or action they come across.

There are also a few moments from the first season of Telltale’s “Walking Dead” that come up in this DLC.  These are also pretty easy to miss as well.  Without giving too much away, there’s one in particular that’s pretty damn cool, but super easy to miss if you make the wrong choice.  When you’re playing as Russel choose the “Hide” option when it first comes up. It won’t change the game, but it’ll give you a great cameo from the first season.

Gameplay wise, it’s still the same point-and-click adventure game that the original was.  It has a few brief moments of quasi-action, but it doesn’t reinvent the wheel when it comes to gameplay mechanics.  Dialog choices still play an important role in the game, with a few of them popping up at breakneck speeds leaving you desperately reading for the right button to press.

As I played through “400 Days”, I also noticed that the game looked slightly more polished than the first season.  Character models looked even less cartoony and more “realistic.”  The game still holds on to it’s comic book art style, but it just looks much more refined.  It was also very smooth and didn’t hiccup during cutscenes or moments of action.  It seems as if Telltale went back to the engine and gave it a nice little tune-up.  It’s still not perfect, but somehow “400 Days” just looks and feels better than the first season.

Overall, “400 Days” serves as a great companion piece to the first season.  It won’t shine any light on the fate of Clementine, but it does give us a great glimpse of what’s to come in season two.  If you’re looking for a “Walking Dead” fix to tide you over till the start of AMC’s show or for Telltale’s next game, this will suit you just nicely.

4.5 / 5 stars     

1 Comment

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      1. southerntongue July 20, 2013 at 2:34 pm

        Last season started out great but the finale was sort of a popcorn fart in comparison. Just when we thought they had the pacing issues and kinks worked out you wonder what the heck is going on. I expected more and it left me shrugging my shoulders rather than biting my nails.