Telltale Games once again knocks it out of the park with a DLC package that, while bite sized, packs enough punches and emotional heavy handedness to hold up against any one of Season 1’s episodes. While the DLC is painfully short (roughly 60-90 minutes total) Telltale do not mess around, allowing for fast paced storytelling that contains the dark emotional choices that we have all grown to love (or hate). 400 Days revolves around 5 separate characters, with intertwining and crossing paths (sometimes in very subtle ways) to connect them all together, as the five struggle to survive in the zombie ravaged world, with each segment jumping between different time periods within 400 days, with many critics drawling comparisons to Pulp Fiction.
The incredible speed that Telltale enforces in this DLC can be shocking at times, as we would be more comfortable to the slower pace set by the first season’s episodes. However, Telltale manage to keep the bar that they raised themselves with human characters and emotional interaction, present here in spades. While there’s nothing quite like Lee and Clementine’s relationship, we have a sympathetic convict, two sisters trying to stay humane in a progressively worse and worse group situation, a young man trying to get to his grandmother’s place, an on edge stoner and a recovering addict. As it is with the speed of this DLC, many interesting theories and backstories are raised for these characters without any resolution, and simply put, it left me dying for the inevitable season 2 just to get closure and know more about these characters. Again, acting as a bridge between seasons, 400 Days does it right.
Nothing of much notice has been improved between the DLC and season 1. The game looks great as ever, with 400 Days utilizing the popular cel-shaded look once again, as Telltale slowly cultivate a signature look for their Walking Dead games. You wouldn’t mistake the art style for any other game, and it’s good that the look is slowly becoming iconic and recognizable. There were, as always, a few graphical glitches here and there, some bad lip sync moments, and a few jittery frame rate drops every now and then but overall they don’t detract from the experience.
Once again, Telltale don’t exactly reinvent the wheel in the gameplay section. What is surprising however, is the amount of choices that are to be found in this short package. Do you execute a tresspasser in your camp or not? Should you hide from the oncoming truck coming down the road? A personal highlight was an incredibly tense hideout in a cornfield, as you scurry away from your attackers as you attempt to regroup with your friends. While nothing remarkably new is here, this definitely doesn’t feel like a rehash of season 1. There’s no padding here, just pure storytelling and action. If season 2 manages to keep this high level of tension and action it would be both magnificent and absolutely exhausting to experience.
As always, the choice system remains in 400 Days, with the signature ‘shades of grey’ choices littered in the DLC. Nothing is black and white, and the struggles of making a choice against a rapidly expiring timer is just as thrilling and difficult as ever. While we don’t get to see many of our choices come to fruition due to the length of the DLC, there are a few choices per character that will require replays just to experience the other choice.
As a DLC package it stumbles somewhat due to it’s criminally short length. As a connection between season 1 and 2 it does the job almost perfectly. If this was meant to sell me on season 2, Telltale has done the job. Once again, fantastic storytelling mixed with heavy handed moral choices has led to another winner.
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