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The Walking Dead: 400 Days review

Great
AT A GLANCE
  • Clever writing and interesting characters
  • Varied gameplay
  • The satisfying conclusion
  • It's over pretty quickly
  • Technical glitches
  • Waiting for Season 2 to see how your choices affect the world

Season 2 of Telltale's Walking Dead series might still be a ways away, but 400 Days is here to fill the hole in your heart that the first season left. And what does it fill it with? Well, more holes, as you might expect. That's sort of The Walking Dead's thing. The light downloadable episode only packs an hour-and-a-half punch and isn't really able to gain the emotional momentum that the first season did. That said, it's still a good stand-alone experience, and sets the stage well for the franchise's future.

Set in the year-and-change after the dead started walking, 400 Days plays like a series of loosely connected vignettes starring five unrelated characters. You can go through them in any order, meeting a man on a prison bus, a woman protecting her sister, a kid walking alongside a road, a duo of stoners, and a recovering junkie. While they will overlap in small ways (that might not be apparent until you complete them all), they're mostly stand-alone experiences--it's almost like a bunch of episodes of The Twilight Zone, with each story including a compelling hook, a slew of gut-wrenching choices, and a reasonably satisfying conclusion.

"...a good stand-alone experience, and sets the stage well for the franchise's future."

It's a testament to the writing that these choices are actually difficult to make. Even though you'll never spend more than 30 minutes with any of the characters, you'll still find that you're invested in their well-being. While you won't end up feeling as attached to any of them as you did Lee or Clementine, you'll still feel for them more than you do most game characters--even if occasional graphical and technical glitches can shatter your immersion from time to time.

Each story also has its own gameplay style, making for a varied and well-paced trip through Georgia. In one section you'll stealthily try to avoid detection as you work past mysterious enemies, and in another you'll spend a majority of the episode walking around and talking to people, interacting with a large cast of characters and dredging up memories of the Motor Inn from Season 1. In other instances, 400 Days openly references the events of the original, with cameo appearances and nods to the choices you made on your initial play. The different styles work well together, and help keep the chapters from feeling repetitive

"The different styles work well together..."

More important, though, are the effects it has on Season 2. 400 Days is less a bridge between the two seasons and more a preamble to the second, with an ending that might as well be a trailer for the upcoming episodes. In fact, Telltale says that the choices made in 400 Days will greatly impact Season 2, but we won't know for sure until it comes out. Even without that carrot on a stick, the DLC is still worth checking out, if not just to hold you over until the dead walk again later this year.

This game was reviewed on PC.

More Info

Available Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Genre: Adventure
ESRB Rating:
Mature: Blood and Gore, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Strong Language

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19 comments

  • phoenixwright13 - July 11, 2013 12:49 p.m.

    Who will you play as in Season 2?
  • CitizenWolfie - July 5, 2013 8:17 a.m.

    I have a question for the reviewer or anyone else who could answer: Just how much do the choices made in Season 1 affect goings-on in 400 Days? I've got Season 1 on Xbox but I don't want to renew my Gold subscription purely for this. I want to switch to buying it on PSN but not if it's going to lessen the experience. And I don't really want to buy Season 1 all over again.
  • GR HollanderCooper - July 5, 2013 3:34 p.m.

    Honestly, not a ton--though your Season 1 choices will carry over to Season 2, so you might want to replay for that.
  • Rhymenocerous - July 4, 2013 8:56 a.m.

    I want this but can someone tell me how are the characters in comparison to Season 1? I just can't see anybody as likeable as Lee and Clem. I guess Time will tell.
  • DarthPunk - July 4, 2013 11:44 a.m.

    Not really problem is you spend such a short amount of time with each character you don't really get to know them as well as Lee or Clem
  • Redeater - July 3, 2013 11:29 p.m.

    That's one thing that bothers me about an otherwise flawless franchise. "Bugs". How are there even bugs by this point? This is what....the sixth game of this series? I was one of those people who had crippling bugs hit me in 2 of the episodes....not to mention the other minor bugs I had the unpleasantness of experiencing. I loved the first season but if they are still having bugs, minor or not, I may have to opt out.
  • rainn'sgaydar - July 3, 2013 8:04 p.m.

    I have no Internet on my PS3 until Monday. Life is awful.
  • Redeater - July 3, 2013 11:25 p.m.

    But Microsoft assured me that this wasn't possible! You aren't working on a nuclear sub are you? Also, how are you posting these if you don't have internet!!?? Seriously though, your exact situation was echoed by thousands of people and MS chose to tell you to move/#dealwithit/keep your current console. (I know you have a PS3 but the example is apt)
  • PatHan-bHai - July 4, 2013 5:27 a.m.

    He has a computer?
  • Redeater - July 4, 2013 10:36 a.m.

    I'm either too sober or not awake enough to even remotely understand this comment. I was clearly joking on all 3 points. Besides, even if he did have a computer....why would he have internet for that and not his PS3?
  • Redeater - July 4, 2013 1:14 p.m.

    *sigh Anyways, assuming I don't get randomly inserted into a completely separate convo again........my comment above was directed at PatHan
  • PatHan-bHai - July 5, 2013 6:37 a.m.

    I posted my comment because yours sounded way too non-sensical to be a joke. And yes, I surely would have used a Windows phone because me and Apple have a very crappy history.
  • rainn'sgaydar - July 4, 2013 6:37 a.m.

    Yeah, it was like they forgot that cell phones access the Internet all the time, even when people don't have broadband to connect to. In my situation, I just moved and my new Internet is hooked up yet, so I would be screwed by that policy, and would have been for over a week. As it is though, excuse while I go play The Last of Us.
  • Redeater - July 4, 2013 10:42 a.m.

    Hilariously, Don Mattrick said the solution was to use your phone as a wifi hub. Right. In a world where people can't comprehend that the Wii U is a new system because it sounds too much like Wii.....this is going to happen. People also forget about no internet when you move. I spent my early 20's moving around so much and the only thing to do without cable or internet is game or watch movies. It would have really bothered the hell out of me had I not been able to play a console in which I invested in. At least with Steam I could have played all my games.
  • rainn'sgaydar - July 4, 2013 8:17 p.m.

    And in a world where iPhone 5 doesn't have a personal wi-fi hotspot option. Not that he would care, since he surely would use a Windows phone.
  • KnowYourPokemon - July 3, 2013 7:44 p.m.

    I have to say this was a decent dlc but the biggest issue I find with it is just exactly how much is left out story wise. I mean obviously the end is leading on to the next season but the fact that (Warning! spoilers ahead) at the end they decided it would be a wonderful idea to just announce what happened to each character after their sections ended instead of actually including it in each of their stories just came off as rather lazy to me. For example at the end of Shel's story it just ends off with your choice, I chose to kill at the end of her story and then at the end she magically got away from the truck stop anyway. And you know what, maybe, just maybe, they decide to include this stuff in flashbacks in the next season. But since I can only go by what I actually have infront of me I can only come to the conclusion that this is definitely not up to par with the rest of the series at all.
  • BladedFalcon - July 3, 2013 7:14 p.m.

    Just finished my first playtrough of this! ^^ It's indeed really short, but I loved it still, and I am pretty intrigued to see what will happen to the characters we met here (:
  • Bloodstorm - July 3, 2013 5:13 p.m.

    I was disappointed that it was about half as long as the other episodes but still the same price. That said, it was a worthy addition, and I can't wait to see what happens to this new crew in season 2.

Showing 1-19 of 19 comments

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