The Walking Dead: 400 Days DLC Review
Telltale took us on a wild ride last year through the months of April and November. I speak, of course, about The Walking Dead episodic releases that ended over several months ago, yet they have still stuck with most of us to this day. The wait for Season 2 is grueling and Telltale acknowledges this. So they’ve helped ease the pain a little with the 400 Days DLC. This add-on content for Season 1 follows a new cast of characters, all which have found themselves dealing with the zombie apocalypse and the moral decisions that tend to crop up frequently. The Walking Dead raised the bar for not only downloadable titles, but for games overall. It’s superb, captivating cast and narrative drew us in and hit us where it hurt (in a good way). 400 Days is coming from the same talented team, with all of its visually-pleasing comic book styling, but it has a lot to prove to reach the same high bar set by the main game. So, I’m sure you’re asking, does it? Let’s find out.
A Gratifying Glimpse
400 Days is ONLY downloadable content for The Walking Dead: Season 1. As such, it is more of a glimpse, or bridge, into what awaits us in Season 2 than a full episode. That might annoy some people, but the brief journey is packed with heart-pounding moments and characters that suck you in during their short screen time. There are five survivors: Vince, Wyatt, Russel, Shel and Bonnie. This is a change from Season 1′s focus primary focus on Lee and Clementine, as players are now instructed to make decisions for a whole cast of characters. In the ~20 minute stories for each survivor, you’re placed somewhere along the outbreak’s timeline ranging from day 1 to 400 (hence the title) in Georgia. As you might expect, each person finds themselves in unfortunate situations where tough decisions must be made, and made quickly.
“Fight the dead, fear the living” is just as true in this DLC as it was in the first five episodes. The true monsters are often times fellow survivors, the ones capable of the most horrendous acts. It’s a refreshing change of pace from most “zombie” games out there nowadays. Here, we see the dwindling remains of civility and human nature in general. However, it is in those moments of personal connections that we’re reminded of the strength of the human spirit and our heart strings are tugged. Shel, for example, watches over her young sister Becca. As their group steadily declines, Shel is forced to decide how far she’ll go to protect her sister, and the outcomes can be rather grisly. Her short story is reminiscent of our time with Lee and Clementine.
The other characters open us up to interesting side characters, ones that may not be around too long depending on your choices. Vince’s time on the prison bus transitions from a typical rowdy ride to a hectic and claustrophobic disaster. There is plenty of tension in these quick-thinking, adrenaline-inducing moments, but the down times can be just as impacting. Partaking in a game of Go Fish or playing a quick session of Rock, Paper, Scissors help us connect with the characters on-screen. And these slower instances not only vary the gameplay, they usually lay the foundation for deep conversations or an upcoming spike in events.