Despite being an Xbox Live Arcade title, The Walking Dead was highly praised by critics and gamers alike, so much so that it even managed to pick up a number of Game of the Year awards. As you would expect, there has been high expectations for the follow-up, The Walking Dead: 400 Days.
Whereas the predecessor had gamers in control of one protagonist (Lee Everett) throughout its entirety, 400 Days – Episode One contains five characters. Each of the characters is involved in their own storyline, as they each attempt to survive the outbreak while overcoming their own personal problems.
The characters consist of Vince, who committed a murder to help his brother before the outbreak but was sentenced to prison for the crime; Wyatt, who is fleeing in a car with his friend Eddie; Russell, a young man trying to see if his grandmother is still alive; Bonnie, a recovering drug addict who has been picked up and cured by an elderly couple and Shel, who is part of a group of survivors, though not everything is as plain sailing as it seems.
One of the risks of having multiple storylines is that it could make the game repetitive. Thankfully, Telltale Games (the game’s developer) has ensured that each storyline has a unique feel and difference in gameplay about it, especially in terms of pacing.
One of the main problems with 400 Days – Episode One is its length, as the entire episode can be completed in approximately an hour, which doesn’t seem like a lot of gameplay for the 400 Microsoft Points price tag. Furthermore, the episode fails to answer the unanswered questions asked by its predecessor. Hopefully this is something that will be resolved in forthcoming episodes.
Nevertheless, 400 Days is brilliantly written with each storyline proving very engaging. Life-changing decisions made by gamers have a significant impact later in the episode, with a number of them providing emotional, hard-hitting scenes in the game. There are also a number of references to the first episodes and other storylines, which sharp-eyed players will spot.
However, the main problem with 400 Days is that the player doesn’t have the same emotional attachment to the characters that The Walking Dead originally managed. This is mostly down to the fast-paced nature of the game, which doesn’t give time for an emotional connection to be established. Nonetheless, this significant change to the gameplay may be well embraced by returning players.
In addition, it seems that the game’s developer have failed to remove the graphical bugs and glitches that its predecessor also contained, such as the occasional off lip sync. While they don’t make the game unplayable, they are particularly noticeable and can prove distracting, especially during the game’s tense scenes.
Overall, The Walking Dead: 400 Days – Episode One is a great introduction to the new series and the new characters. Despite its short length and problems, it’s clearly evident that this is the introduction to some enticing storylines over the coming weeks and, at 400 Microsoft Points, it is hard to resist a purchase.