“The Walking Dead” by Telltale games (the one in canon with the excellent Robert Kirkman comic series and not the one in canon with inferior television adaptation) was my game of the year in 2012. It dragged a harrowing emotional response out of me where other games have consistently failed, and was generally a damn good game. I was really looking forward to this: cheap (£4 in the UK) DLC consisting of one bonus chapter made up of five stories; the decisions in which carry over to season 2. The only way I’m going to be able to review the add-on properly is with the aid of spoilers for its ending, but before then, I’ll comment on it spoiler free, which is actually very easy to do. Did you like “The Walking Dead”? Are you looking forward to Season 2 and want something that will both tide you over until its release and act as a bridge between the two seasons? Get this. It’s cheap, it’s connected and all five stories are excellent. Nothing on par with Season 1, but what do you expect; none of them have a lot of time to work with. They all have some decent decisions and reasonably brutal moments, and if you’ve played the main game you know what you’re in for. Basically, if you’re going to buy this you probably already have, and if not, it requires the main game to run, so it’s very much attached to the original story.
Right, from here on out there are spoilers for the DLC. You have been warned.
So after all five stories are finished (you select them via pictures on a board dedicated to missing persons) a newly introduced woman named Tavia follows visible smoke to a campsite in the woods. What does she find at the campsite? All five playable characters, and one of said character’s sister, who was close to her during her section. Now, why is this a problem? Well, every character’s section ends on a cliff hanger, with some being more bleak than others. One woman accidentally smashes a woman’s face in with a rebar and then flees with the latter’s husband, who has taken her in. A prisoner blows a man’s foot off to escape their chains and leaves him for dead; fleeing with a fellow inmate. The character with the sister I mentioned has to choose between escaping from her group at great risk to herself and sister, and executing another member of the group (I chose the latter because I’m a complete bastard and I love bleak character conflict and drama, particular the kind this game has). Every section ends on a cliffhanger, a dark one at that, and yet the game simply ignores the horrible situations they all end up in and makes it so they all end up safe and sound at a camp in the woods. What’s the bloody point? Seriously- what the hell is the point? The sections are all excellent, yes, but why even bother showing us the conflict if the revolution is skipped over in favour of a tacked on section where everything’s fine and they’ve all conveniently found each other. It feels like Telltale made this just to give us some choices to make, and the only thing that carries over is the final decision of who leaves the camp with Tavia. “The Walking Dead: 400 Days” is a great idea and started off really well, but then it shot itself in the foot and in my opinion undid all of its good work. Fans of the original game should still pick it up, but this is definitely a disappointment in my eyes.
By James Lambert