‘400 Days’: bland but passable chapter in Telltale ‘WD’ series

Joe Llorin, Features Editor

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Both critics and fans of the franchise praised Telltale Games’ “The Walking Dead” for its innovative gameplay- it was a point and click adventure type game as opposed to your average survival horror game that relies on the player’s aim and sleight of hand. The game reached near-critical acclaim and much desire for a second installment is afoot. Telltale realized this and thus released “The Walking Dead: 400 Days,” an additional episode to the first installment serving as a little taste for what is to come in the future.

Not exactly a sequel but more of a side story, “400 Days” serves as the bridge between the first installment of the series (dubbed “Season One”) to the next. The game focuses on five new characters: the recently convicted Vince, stoner Wyatt, student Russell, former drug addict Bonnie and sisters Shel and Becca. As players progress through the game, they find out how their individual paths cross.

In classic Telltale form, the game’s ending is based on the decisions the player makes throughout the “minisodes,” forcing the player to decide whether to be ethical or logical. Whatever the case, like the first game, you’ll be kicking yourself in the long run for the decisions you make, as they can drastically affect your personal experience.

At 400 microsoft points (which translates into five dollars approximately), the game’s length is a major drawback. Although it is technically only an episode (the last installment was comprised of five in total), Telltale could have made it longer to leave players with more satisfaction. The episode is only about an hour of gameplay, and that’s if you take your sweet time exploring. Taking your sweet time in this episode isn’t as sweet as it was in the first installment. There’s less to explore, less to interact with, and the game’s supporting characters are less than interesting.

Though the episode is comprised of five individual stories, only two or three of them are really worth the time to play. One of the most praised aspects of the first installment were the emotional struggles that the player went through, with each decision they had to make being harder than the last. The decisions made in each of the individual stories were simple, although a few had you going back and forth between possibilities.

Despite how short the game is and how little playing you do, “400 Days” does a remarkable job of connecting with Season One, making little references to important characters and the events that transpired then. Although the new characters were bland as a whole, it was an interesting concept to delve into multiple characters at a time. If “400 Days” is any indicator of what Season Two will look like, Telltale will have to make more room at their studio for the oncoming wave of accolades to come their way.

Rating: 3/5

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