However, whilst many have been anticipating the return of Clementine, Telltale Games did something unexpected at this years E3 and announced a stand alone DLC simply titled 400 Days. There are no returning characters from the first season which may disappoint some fans, but it has been rumored that your actions in this episode could have an impact on what’s to come. The concept behind this installment is interesting in the fact that it will told from the perspective of five different characters, all of which can be played out in any order and will ultimately come together in the end to lead onto the events of Season 2. It’s great when developers attempt to explore new ideas, but the question still remains whether or not there will be enough time to recapture the strengths of the original?
As this episode is just a DLC for the existing game, I won’t be breaking down the core elements in the same way that I usually do in my reviews. Instead, this will just serve as a written analysis outlining what I think fans need to know. The first thing to be aware of is that whilst this episode is completely standalone, players will still need one of the previous episodes installed to access the content. This is not surprising, but given the episodic nature of the game I still think it is worth mentioning. The second thing that needs to be clarified is the fact that the overall design in this episode is exactly the same as what’s come before. There have not been any noticeable changes or improvements to the way you will play the game other than some minor alterations to allow for the split narrative.
The only major difference in the way this episode plays out is a notice board that will serve as a hub between each of the short stories. There are no restrictions placed on the order that these sequences must be experienced, and regardless of which one is played first, you will still notice a few little cross-overs along the way. It’s a nice touch, and will surely resonate well with anyone who is familiar with TV shows such as “Tales from the Crypt”. However, time is limited, and despite another display of quality writing, there just isn’t enough time to develop the same emotional attachments that made the narrative in the first season so impactful. Don’t get me wrong, each story is still very good within it’s own rights, and it is for this reason I suspect that this is more than likely the beginnings of an emotional investment that will come full circle later this year. Although, that is still unclear at the time of writing.
Just to put the overall length of the episode into perspective, players will have approximately 30 minutes to spend with each of the different characters. It’s not the longest episode, but I do think it’s worth acknowledging just how different each situation is and how many controversial scenarios the writers manage explore within such a limited amount of time. Admittedly, these short stories won’t quite pull your heart strings like we’ve come to expect in the core narrative, but each of the characters will still become reasonably well established by the end of the episode. Having great voice actors involved is crucial for a narrative driven experience like The Walking Dead, and I feel everyone involved delivered especially well within each of their respective roles. Although, I can not say the same for the soundtrack which ultimately comes across as a little uninspired in comparison the first season.
The interesting thing about the 400 Days content is that it’s still a bit of a mystery to us at this point whether or not your actions will have any serious ramifications on the events of Season 2. And as this experience is entirely narrative driven, it also makes it a little difficult for me to break this episode down any further as anyone who has played the game before will already be familiar with how it works, and talking too much about any of the short stories would surely lead to spoilers. This means I can’t say for certain whether or not this episode is crucial for fans of the series to experience, but for the price of $4.99 it’s really hard to argue otherwise. So whilst I personally suspect these stories are just a foundation for what’s to come next season, I would still recommend this content to fans of the series regardless. Just don’t be surprised if you see some of these characters again in near the future.