Game Reviews

The Walking Dead: 400 Days

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The Walking Dead: 400 Days

Of the five character vignettes in The Walking Dead: 400 Days, Wyatt's story was easily my favourite.

He and Eric - two pot-smoking layabouts who really aren't cut out for this zombie-filled world - get into arguments, annoy each other, trade insults, and tell dick jokes in their clapped out old car.

And then they play rock, paper, scissors to see who will have to jump out of the car and see whether they accidentally ran over a zombie or a person.

57 weeks

400 Days is short. It basically takes place in a single location, has hardly any action, and only features one bit that could be charitably described as a puzzle. It's the most economical of the lot, and is practically a bottle episode, in TV terms.

But it's also thoroughly engaging. The characters are a hoot, the conversations are engrossing, and it forces you to make really tough decisions - even if they're just about whether to chide your friend for his dumb jokes.

This is all testament to Telltale's writing and the voice acting. Thanks to the masterful dialogue and direction, you almost immediately jump into Wyatt's shoes, empathising with him as you start making those hard decisions on his behalf.

13 months

The same can be said for all the 15-minute stories in 400 Days.

We also meet Russell, a sensitive kid who hitches a ride with a lecherous redneck creep; Shel, a fearsomely protective older sister who ends up being the voice of reason in a camp of misfits; Vince, a criminal caught up in a prison bus fight; and Bonnie, a junky caught in an adulterous love triangle.

They're all as different from each other as they are different from Lee and Clementine - the heroes of The Walking Dead: Season 1.

But sharp writing and a focus on storytelling and conversations over puzzles and actions means you can quickly see what makes them tick, and then feel like a terrible human being when your selfish choices or ill-conceived ideas put others in danger.

One year

Ultimately, the stories are never as impactful as the original Walking Dead story. Not even Telltale can make you cry in 15 minutes, about characters you just met. And at just under an hour, it can feel a little short and inconsequential.

But it's really just a teaser connecting the two chapters. It's also a reminder of how terrific this series is, and - presumably - a way to decide which of these five characters will show up next season.

As long as you loved The Walking Dead, and you know what you're getting yourself in for - five super-short stories that put the focus on character and conversations - you'll find a memorable, incomparable experience.

The Walking Dead: 400 Days

A series of five taut, well-written character-driven vignettes, that provide a perfect reason to reenter the world of The Walking Dead
Mark Brown
Mark Brown
Mark Brown is editor at large of Pocket Gamer