This Review has SPOILERS. So be warned.
So, The Walking Dead: 400 Days came out, and surprisingly, I didn’t like it. Which sounds pretty weird considering that I was raving about the 1st season of the game a few weeks ago. But to make it interesting, let’s just talk about the highlights.
Weird as it may sound, I love, love, LOVED Nate’s character. The one thing I wish TWD had more of is characters who aren’t unquestionably evil (the Governor), jerks who have a heart of gold (Kenny), or just morally grey, jaded people (nearly everyone else) but just plain assholes. I always wondered, who thought that the jerks just disappeared. But Nate was that perfect mix of the guy you hate because he’s just so repulsive. He’s no supervillian, he’s just awful. And I like that even within our short time of knowing him (if you don’t count his presence within Wyatt’s story) you can tell he’s the type of guy who would’ve been an asshole long before the apocalypse.
I honestly am not 100% sure why I liked Vince, because his story was arguably the weakest out of everyone. But there’s something about being a criminal who pretty much knows his life is going only downhill from here to have the zombie apocalypse come down upon him. I just felt that he was already at rock bottom by the point we met him, which was pretty fun. I just wish that the escape had more repercussions. And the ‘you will go w/Tavia depending on whose foot you shot off’ was pretty meh. I mean I was not going to choose the rapist no matter how much remorse he showed, but I don’t know. It fell flat to me.
The desperation that comes with the fall of humanity was very evident within this story. I liked the call backs to season 1, even if they hit me right in the heart sometimes (why Carley/Doug!). But the way survivors dealt with each other, and how terrible things happened no matter (i.e. Shel’s story) what was nicely done. I enjoyed it a lot.
Downsides (or the rule of Ps):
Oh dear, what can I say about the pacing? I really hope that this was a result of the shortness that comes with a DLC, but I don’t know. I wish that maybe they should’ve tried to do it with 3 characters instead fo 5, and lengthened the stories a bit more. I felt as though I wasn’t given much of an idea of what to do before I had to make a big decision. Vince’s story suffers the worst of this, but its evident in other stories as well. For example, considering how little I knew of Stephanie, why would I care about shooting her or not? Why is Shel so hesitant? And even though its implied that leaving in the RV is the better decision (unless the second season tells us that Tavia’s group is secretly evil), did I really just leave a group of cancer survivors to die? The beauty of the game is the ability to read into a lot of things, but if joining Tavia’s group is the superior outcome/best ending, then a lot of the decisions leading up to it should’ve been less… arbitrary I suppose.
It seems that at the end of the game, the purpose was to get others to join Tavia at the settlement. And the game does this but giving you a series of stories connected by minor threads and at the end your decisions influence who goes. But a lot of things seemed to not connect to this purpose at all. Why does it matter whether I can get Leland to come with me or not if he doesn’t show up at the ending? Couldn’t they have shown a quick scene of Vince arguing with whatever person he saves and splitting up? If i’m going to leave a man to his certain death during the apocalypse, I would like at least some repercussions. Such as, Danny/Justin leaves Vince because they believe he’s too trigger happy, and don’t trust him. (As you can tell, I have a lot of issues with Vince’s story). Strangely enough, Wyatt’s story made the most sense to me, even though it had the least notable backstory. He and his friend came off as very realistic, even if he was my least favorite character next to Bonnie. And I liked that his decision to go with Tavia was influenced by his friend, even if they had been pretty peeved at each other during the storyline. It’s the sense of hope, false as it may be that I liked.
I didn’t really understand how the game wanted us to perceive certain characters. Which I both liked and dislikes. I think the one that confused me the most were Bonnie and Shel. I thought Bonnies story was the weakest out of all of them. because I felt that the decisions made were ultimately pointless? With all of the other characters I felt as though their decisions made would come back to reflect on them as people, but her story was very insular. Leland ultimately doesn’t matter, Dee clearly doesn’t matter, Bonnie doesn’t really seem to be affected by either of them in the epilogue. Becca comments depending on what choices you made, but the ridiculous of Becca even knowing confused me. Why was Bonnie spilling all of her secrets to a kid? If they were all being that truth, how has the fact that Bonnie was being hunted by Shel’s group not revealed? It makes even less sense if she didn’t take Leland. That was ridiculous. Almost as ridiculous as having a lover’s spat in the middle of a cornfield. At night. With zombies around.
I didn’t hate the DLC, but considering that the choices are supposed to carry over into season two, I wish that the conflicts had been explored in more detail. How will they dea with who you brought vs. who you didn’t? Having 5 perspectives is pushing it as it is, unless they bring in another character to hold the story together. I wished that I had liked it more, but the main reason why I liked the 1st season of TWD was because of the characters and their flaws, ideas, and complications. The DLC had none of that, and by the end, I just wanted to take Vince, Russell, Nate, and Becca and say bye to everyone else. I’m still excited for the new season of course. Only time will tell how everything is integrated. And its definitely worth the purchase, even if it doesn’t stun you like the original season had.
But developers if you’re listening, bring back Nate. Seriously.
And here are a few (hopefully more positive) reviews. Enjoy!
- The Walking Dead: 400 Days DLC review (pcgamer.com)
- The Walking Dead: 400 Days Review (fullyavenged.wordpress.com)
- The Walking Dead: 400 Days is a successful but brief experiment in storytelling (review) (venturebeat.com)
- ‘The Walking Dead: 400 Days’: There Are No Bad Decisions, Just Bad People (geek-news.mtv.com)
- Walking Dead 400 (lillith19702004.wordpress.com)