ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Walking Dead: 400 Days - Review

Updated on July 15, 2013
Vincent heading to prison.
Vincent heading to prison.

Telltale Games achieved a lot with their release of The Walking Dead episodes last year. They made good on their promise to actually reflect player choice in a way that Mass Effect ultimately failed to do. What's more, they created a child character that you didn't want to throw off a bridge as soon as possible. Whilst the writing was solid, and more consistently well written than the TV series, the game still had its problems.

These largely came down the engine, which couldn't seem to cope with the actual game. It was rare that you could get through entire episode without the game stuttering as it cut between numerous characters. It wasn't necessarily a deal breaker, but it was disappointing since the writing (something that games struggle with far more often), was handled really well.

From this perspective, Telltale's 400 Days, which acts as a bride between the first and second season, is more of the same. The writing is still solid, and while the technical issues have been patched up a bit, they unfortunately still plague the title. It was never anything too bad, bar one moment where I thought I'd have to reset my console, but it is frustrating when the game is otherwise really immersive.

Wyatt (left) and his mate Eddie.
Wyatt (left) and his mate Eddie.

Where 400 Days does differ though is in the story it tells. Rather than following one character like we did with season one, here you get a glimpse into five different people's lives following the zombie apocalypse. It's an experiment on the developer's part, and one that for the most part pays off.

400 Days story is not (necessarily) told in chronological order. The five survivors: Vince, Wyatt, Russell, Bonnie and Shell each have individual narratives, typically ranging from fifteen to twenty minutes in length, that all take place in or around a truck stop. It's a bit like Pulp Fiction in that you're constantly making connections as the story develops. What's more interesting though is that the vignettes can be played in any order with some sequences, naturally, interacting with how you might view others.

It's a surprisingly refreshing concept, and one that emphasizes a video game's interactive quality alongside the more traditional cinematic elements that 400 Days borrows from older point-and-click adventure titles. The fact that you jump between numerous people's experience of the apocalypse also makes for a change of pace from season one.

However, it does highlight one of 400 Days weaknesses on a story level. Unlike Lee and the group, who we came to bond with over the course of several hours, here we only get a glimpse of these people, usually without a lot of context, for twenty minutes at most. As a result, there's not the same level of investment in the characters since we don't know them all that well. The game does a good job attempting to get us invested, and in some cases uses the lack of context we have to subvert our expectations, but overall its choices fall short of the emotional stakes experienced in season one.

Bonnie's section sees you hiding out in a cornfield.
Bonnie's section sees you hiding out in a cornfield.
Russell's section has one of the biggest surprises for season one followers.
Russell's section has one of the biggest surprises for season one followers.

Then there's the differences in quality between the actual episodes. Vincent story, which takes place only two days after the outbreak has started, is perhaps the most interesting, both because it takes place at a point in time that we rarely get to see in The Walking Dead universe. Trapped on a prison bus and chained to his fellow inmates makes for an interesting dilemma, not to mention that poor old Vincent has no idea what's going on at this point. Meanwhile, Wyatt's story was, for me, the one that didn't quite get the tone nailed down. It appears to go for a more relaxed approach as Wyatt and his friend Eddie attempt to flee from some unknown assailant. It verges on comical at times, especially considering some of the pair's choices, and I was never quite certain whether it was being intentionally comical or not.

Still, overall 400 Days remains an engaging piece of story-led gaming. The game also manages to reference the first season, even reflecting some of your choices, without shoehorning things in just for the sake of it. It's clear from the ending, however it turns out in your play through, that we haven't seen the end of Vincent, Bonnie, and the others. A fun appetizer before we get our hands on season two later this year.

This review is based on the Playstation 3 version.

The Walking Dead: 400 Days was released early July.


© 2013 LudoLogic

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • LudoLogic profile imageAUTHOR

      LudoLogic 

      5 years ago

      Yes, the first season is well worth playing, especially if you're a fan of games like Heavy Rain. You really feel invested in the characters by the end of the season, I just hope the next set of episodes are just as good!

    • JohnGreasyGamer profile image

      John Roberts 

      5 years ago from South Yorkshire, England

      Nice review, I've been meaning to play the Walking Dead games for some time now but never got round to it. I'll be sure to invest in the first game before this one, because I'm not too fond of the way these characters seem. I like characters who I can stay with to the very end, the only exception being Heavy Rain where playing as each character may seem a bit boring at first, but the cliff-hanger makes you want to play as them more!

      Voted up, useful, interesting and awesome ^^

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)