Game Impressions: The Walking Dead 400 Days DLC

Alright, now that I’m back functioning and well once again, let’s talk the latest DLC for Telltale’s The Walking Dead game. As some of you may remember, I quite enjoyed the main storyline for Telltale’s The Walking Dead and am actively looking forward to its second season. In the meantime, Telltale has released this DLC, 400 Days, to act as a brief bridge between the two seasons. While my friends I played it with seemed to have mixed feelings about it, I left with a general positive attitude towards it. It certainly isn’t the best content in the series, but it does a few interesting things to separate itself from the previous episodes.

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The first and most obvious thing 400 Days does to separate itself out from the previous episodes is to be completely uninvolved with any of the previous characters. While the game is still set in the south of United States during the events of the Walking Dead series, 400 Days is meant to tell the stories of other survivors during the zombie outbreak rather than focus on previous characters that, let’s be honest here, had their stories told. Which, I have no problem with! Lee and Clementine’s story was great, but to try and tie this to the previous story in any direct way would only work to undo the closure we got at the end of season 1.

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What is unique in this case however is that, rather than focus on one or two main characters, 400 Days actually tells select segments from the stories of 5 survivors who all only briefly connect to each other. It is simultaneously the DLC’s greatest strength and greatest weakness. On one hand, it is fun to get interesting different takes on what happened to people during the zombie outbreak and how various groups of people coped with the downfall of society. Additionally, there are plenty of callouts to the stories of the other survivors and that main cast from the season 1. I’d be lying to say it wasn’t satisfying to slowly piece various story bits together and have those moments of revelation where you realize how everything is connected. However, on the other hand, cramming 5 different survivors’ stories (and their conclusion) into one DLC doesn’t leave much time to explore the characters in any meaningful way. Things feel very fast paced and it sucks to really start warming up to a character just as their story ends. Oh well, the fact that I wanted to see more of certain survivors’ stories shows they at least made things compelling enough to pique my curiosity.

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I also enjoyed to a certain degree how, in true adventure game style, Telltale makes efforts to ensure that your decisions during each of the 5 survivor’s stories impact the game’s final conclusion. Choices are later referenced and used for justification regarding just how the finale plays itself out, something that I feel is always appreciated. Now, that said, this system could have been done implemented a bit better. Some of consequences to the player’s decisions feel strained at best and are often connected to a great narrative whose conclusion is only hinted at or never given.

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In the end though, I enjoyed 400 Days. It was brief and some of the animations could’ve used some work, but I enjoyed getting to see more of Telltale’s take on The Walking Dead and I didn’t massively dislike any of the 5 survivors. Nothing came across as too illogical and the decisions you make still have some of that weight players have come to expect from the series. It’s only 5 dollars and you’ll probably want to replay it at least once to see how some of the narratives alter depending on your decisions, so you’ll probably get at least 5-6 hours of entertainment out of minimum. Maybe more if you try and max out all the different ways you can play it. Definitely not a bad bargain and should tide over any fans of season 1 who are still patiently waiting what is to come in season 2.

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About onegamersthoughts

Thomas Church currently lives near Seattle and has industry experience as a Game Designer working on a variety of games ranging from license titles, to mobile titles, to Steam indie titles. Possessing a strong love and passion for the video game industry as a whole, Thomas continues to pursue future endeavors that will allow him to continue to refine his sense of game design.
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