Earlier this year, I attended a seminar on “Storytelling in Games” (relevant post). In that post, I spoke about The Walking Dead: The Game, of which clips were briefly shown. I hadn’t played it at the time, but eventually got around to it.
Strangely enough, in the space of a week, I bought the game on Xbox, was gifted a copy on Steam, and then the first of five episodes became free on Xbox (possibly just for Gold members). The universe wanted me to play it, and I did. If you haven’t played it, then you must. If you have any device of sorts that can play it, then just go, run out right now and grab it. NO, LEAVE WORK AND SCHOOL AND GET IT. It’s amazing. It’s actually a lot more upbeat than the series, but then, so is The Rains of Castamere. You play that as a character, Lee, who becomes the stand-in caretaker for a young girl, Clementine.
It might just be me, but it seems that recently, the game industry is getting better at making likeable children characters. Clementine is definitely a decent character, despite being only eight. Even the other sole child character (who does start of annoying), has qualities that endear you to that little fool. Ah, but that’s the fantastic season one, and it’s something else I want to talk about.
400 Days is another step into the Walking Dead world, and I’ll say outright, that it is just a taste of what’s to come. It’s positioned somewhere alongside season one, with a callback or two between that, and this. The title comes from the epilogue of the add-on, which is positioned as being 400 days after the outbreak, though each sampling from within the addon happens at various times after. In all, there are five characters that are presented as being playable, some right after the outbreak, and others many months after.
It all moves very fast, throwing you right into the character, and letting you sort what sort of character they might be. The characters are Russell, Shel, Wyatt, Vince and Bonnie. The playthrough for each character is quite short, and you can complete the entire addon in a night. As you play through, you’ll see links between the short stories that surround each character, but it’s the end that you should know of. This taste that Telltale Games has presented, is a lead-in for a second season of the game.
It’s definitely enjoyable, but it really does not fill the void, and it doesn’t answer questions surrounding the end of season one. I suppose that it’s not intended to, but more of a way to push us into each character, so we learn more about who’s filling the cast once season two begins. That, it does well. Other than places, objects and supporting characters, there seems to be some links between in story, in terms of the dialogue. Since the addon only came out last friday, the split of choices that people have made seems to be right down the middle, but I imagine as time goes on, some trends will start to emerge.
I’m now on my second playthrough of the addon, to just see what else it can do. It also feels like there’s a lot more humour in this addon than there was throughout S1, and not quite the level of despair you grow accustomed to. The latter is bound to increase to levels of abject misery, since it IS The Walking Dead, but I’d love if the humour stays too.
If you loved S1, you’ll want to get this.