Short stories just aren't my thing.
Instead of serving up the sequel that we all so eagerly await, Telltale Games has released The Walking Dead: 400 Days DLC to whet our appetites for the main event. The DLC features five different survivors, playing through from day one of the zombie apocalypse to day 400. Each survivor's story lasts around 15-30 minutes as they each encounter tough decisions as a result of the zombie apocalypse.
From Vince, a recently incriminated prisoner who experiences the start of his apocalypse with his fellow inmates, to Russell, the tough talking teenager who is picked up by a dangerous driver, to Shel, a protective sister who doesn't agree with her group's more difficult decisions, the new characters all undergo tense moments and are faced with even more tough decisions that we never want to make.
Because we only get a short snippet of each survivor's life and decisions, I never really bonded or grew an emotional attachment with any of the characters as I did with those in Season 1. I was never a fan of the short story format because they just give you enough information to get enticed, but once you are absorbed in it, the story ends. Playing The Walking Dead: 400 Days felt like a tease because while it gave me more Walking Dead, it wasn't really substantial to satiate my appetite for the sequel.
Making tough decisions didn't have such a big impact because we weren't attached to these people and are only with them for a short time. This occurred a few times during the game, like when Wyatt, the hippie chooses whether to fend off an attacker at our window or to drive off for your own safety - essentially leaving our friend behind. At such a tense moment, I chose to save my own hide, completely forgetting about the friend until the stats were rolling in front of me.
The main selling point behind the DLC is that decisions that you made in Season 1 carry over into this new story and will affect Season 2 as well. I found the nods to our decisions and conversation pointers to be subtle at best and none that I felt were completely essential to the experience. If you didn't pick up any the first time, if you replay with different decisions you'll probably encounter more but alas, once was enough for me.
The Final Verdict
Although I was glad for the new content, I didn't really find the DLC to be entirely essential to The Walking Dead experience. By bringing in five new survivors and spending a short time with them, it didn't really enrich my original experience in any way. What was also missing was the great character development and emotional attachment that was the star in Season 1 - arguably the best part of the series. I'm hoping it will tie into Season 2 but we'll just have to wait and see.
If you look at the DLC for what it is - a short teaser with more content, you'll probably enjoy it more than I did, but this survivor wants more gripping zombie action from Clem, Christa, Omid and the crew from the original series.