The Walking Dead: 400 Days Review
When I first started off playing The Walking Dead, I was way too excited being a fan of not only the graphic novels but the AMC show as well. That very first episode had me hooked and I knew I would protect Clementine with my life the moment I met her. The simple act of giving my life for someone else in a video game is a rare occurrence for me because I always look out for number 1 (AKA me) but that was not the case here. By the end of season 1, I broke down in tears after forming a bond between Lee and Clementine. I bring all this up because unless The Walking Dead tops that feeling, nothing will come as close to season 1. So now we have 400 Days, which is one episode with five stories jammed in stretching over 400 days; hence the name. The DLC contains new protagonists with storylines that runs parallel to Lee and the group's. The one thing I absolutely loved here was the attention to detail. Certain moments went completely over my head but some made me think back to season 1 and go "I've been here...haven't I"?
The purpose of 400 Days is to tease what made us fall in love with the first season but only enough just to whet our appetites. Some may claim it is not enough but I feel this is actually the appetizer we need before the inevitable season 2 feast. We begin by taking a look at Gil's gas station before the zombie outbreak started. Everything looks right and normal but then the screen quickly changes to the dead roaming the desolate gas station. This place is quite important because it serves as the central hub for the five episodes. Some indirectly rather than direct but nevertheless; the five protagonists focus here. Each episode is roughly 20-30 minutes apiece, so don't expect the story to drag out for hours. Either way, each story hits its stride the second it begins. Whether you start out in a prison bus, walking down an isolated road or being chased by a truck, emotions will find you. Most of the time, walkers aren't even a source for the turmoil. I was surprised by the lack of walkers in the stories save for one. It comes down more to the decisions people must face when surviving the zombie apocalypse. There were plenty of moments I hesitated before making my choice. Without a lot of time to decide however, I had to live with my actions.
The Pulp Fiction aspect also drew me in, allowing each story to tell their separate tale but woven together. To spot where one story plays into another can often be tricky with the exception of a few blatantly obvious nudges. It isn't until the very end during the epilogue, where we see the five protagonists meet up. Multiple playthroughs help to clear the mysteries and also gives the chance for completely different experiences from the last. Speaking of multiple runs, 400 Days save data will transfer over to the second season for The Walking Dead. Exactly how remains unknown but I believe the tie-ins will work out.
In terms of gameplay, 400 Days plays exactly the same as The Walking Dead. Same point and click maneuvers and same dialogue choices; just different stories and locations. You do need to have at least episode one to download 400 Days. As quickly as I downloaded the DLC, it felt like it came to a close soon after. While I didn't expect 10 hours of gameplay jammed into the new content, I do wish it were an hour longer. Such a tease for what's to come and that's all we get. Maybe this is Telltale's plan: make us crave the new season and when it finally releases, it's like food to the starving. Well, more like fresh meat to the walkers (forced laugh).
Am I glad to have played 400 Days? Absolutely and I don't regret a thing. Do I want more from Telltale involving The Walking Dead? You most certainly bet I do! Now it's just a matter of waiting for the next season before I can maybe cry my eyes out again. Wonder if they'll be able to top Lee and Clementine's story? Time will tell...