Review: The Walking Dead: 400 Days DLC

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The long awaited DLC for Telltale game’s praised game, The Walking Dead, released today under the title of  The Walking Dead: 400 Days. While harboring mixed feelings towards the original game, I gave it a fair chance and decided to look into it and, well…

It was alright, I guess. Don’t worry, there’ll be no spoilers in this review, as some of you might have been eyeballing this release for months, and I wouldn’t rob you of how everything pans out. I’m not that mean.

The overall format follows five stories, each of a different group of survivors, unlike the main game’s overarching story across episodes. This means that, while the cast is more diverse, each group isn’t as dynamic and fleshed out as the people in Lee’s adventures from the “parent game.”

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5 individual stories. Do they hold a candle to the grand adventures of Lee and Clem-Clem?

Speaking of not being fleshed out, the gameplay is much of the same overrated mechanics from the main game. Yeah, I know, you can’t do much with point and click games other than, well, pointing and clicking, but, while praised for some weird type of innovation that wasn’t even there, The Walking Dead didn’t do anything new that the genre hasn’t done before. I usually like to prioritize one thing when it comes to game: gameplay, and innovative gameplay, while we’re on that subject. After all, isn’t this a video game? If I wanted less gameplay, I’d watch a movie, and that’s honestly what TWD feels like most of the time: a movie. The Walking Dead failed in gameplay because it was stale and repetitive, and I feel like Telltale Games failed again with their DLC because this was their chance to test something new before they released The Walking Dead: Season 2. They had a good chance to test drive new features, but instead, they let their chance slip away, and honestly, it feels like they didn’t even care in the first place.

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Disappointing, aint it, Russel?

But what about the story? After all, isn’t the story the main catch to the his game? Well, yeah, but that  quickly goes back to a previous point. This is a video game, not a movie. Having a video game’s main hook being the story is like going to the beach to take a nap. Go play in the fucking water, or in the fucking sand! Yknow, like what you came here to do! Jesus!

What was I even- oh yeah, the story. Since the story focuses on five groups, each group comes off as kind of shallow in their own sense; however, Telltale did do something right here and skipped 90% of the dicking around in the first game. Not a lot of  bullshit here; just “Alright, here’s some people and this is the problem.” They jump straight into the conflict without feeling like they’re rushing it or compressing the buildup, which comes off really well executed.

Keeping that in mind, the cast of characters in TWD: 400 Days is a lot better than in TWD. It’s more varied in terms of gender, race, backgrounds, and personalities. Many of the characters were much easier to sympathize with, and even possibly relate to, to a certain extent. they all have a way of dealing with food shortages, high tension situations, and even peer pressure, and how they approach the situation is very organic.

Sadly, a better cast doesn’t always make the story better, as most of the plots were extremely easy to predict. Out of the five, I guessed four of them correctly, with only one surprising me slightly. TWD was full of surprises, but in 400 Days, it’s like the endings were totally half-assed. I felt like I was watching a zombie movie directed by Junji Ito; great buildup, then a sudden, shitty ending.

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He might be shitty with wrapping up stories, but his buildup is godlike. Plus his work is spooky as all hell. Junji Ito: read his stuff sometime. Anyways, back to the review.

I can’t let 400 Days off of the hook until I hit the other two vital points: graphics and music. While many people bash the graphics, I like them a lot. Why? Because it’s stylized, not half-assed. The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker is known for its cell-shaded art style. Art style. Replaying some PS2 games, I’ve noticed a ton of lazily slapped together ground textures; some of the worst I’ve ever seen. TWD gets a graphics okay because everything is there for a reason; to recreate the feel of the Walking Dead comic books. Stylized, not shitty. Passable. Onto music.

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The music is eh, maybe even EEEEHHHHHHHHHHH level. Most of the time I never even notice it. Only when in a tense situation I actually hear it, and even then it’s forgettable. Still, good use of music, but use of shitty music. Mediocre on most accounts.

My final thoughts? Whether you spend 5 bucks on it or just watch the shit on Youtube, you won’t regret spending the time to watch/play it. If you’ve played the game, then you know what kind of experience you’re getting into. Some people might deem the price too high for DLC that lasts a little over an hour, but to be fair, you could make that argument about going to a movie theater. At least you don’t have to sneak drink and snacks into your own house, right?

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