As much as I iterate that graphics never matter, in my youth one of my favorite genre of computer game was the point-and-click adventure game. Tales of Monkey Island, Full Throttle, Sam and Max… they were all like playing an animated movie. While that genre is most certainly a minority now, Telltale Games is one of the biggest publishers for the spiritual successors of the genre. And while the Sam and Max seasons, Wallace and Gromit, Back to the Future and Jurassic Park games are all moderately enjoyed and (Jurassic Park excepting) well received, none of these games have had nearly the success as ‘The Walking Dead’. And of course, with well deserved critical acclaim comes sequels and DLC, in this case the latter.
400 Days does not connect with the saga of Lee and Clementine directly but does exist firmly in their world. There is no mistaking this for some cheap cash in because it looks and feels and most importantly provides the same tough decisions that the original does although in this case the decisions were even tougher. The game is framed at a ‘Missing Persons’ board just outside of a rest stop on a highway, with five pictures that each lead to a separate chapter. By picking one of the pictures, you get to see more about that character at a specific time in the last 400 days. This is neat, because the non-linear storytelling lets you notice small details on characters before you get to their story and if you happened to do them in chronological order then these details instead ground you to these characters.
All five characters you’ll meet (Shel, Vince and Wyatt above) are interesting in and of themselves and have a varied cast of characters surrounding them. The decisions they have to make are tough and as with the base game have lots of influence on all the characters around them. Interestingly this time around, Telltale decided to go light on the puzzles and combat aspects of The Walking Dead, focusing on the character drive narratives that I personally enjoyed the most of all. And, unlike the base game, there were very few surprises here that I could see coming a mile away.
Anyway if I had to recommend the game to anyone, it would be primarily fans of the comic or the original game. This game sets up lots for the upcoming season, and I should think for five dollars there’s little reason not to. If you tried ‘The Walking Dead’ and didn’t like it, you probably wouldn’t like it with more content. And if you’ve not tried it, you like strong characterization and great narratives, the first episode is free there on iDevices. If you don’t have an iThing, the game is really worth the full cost (14 hours for 30 bucks is a great deal) but if you ever see it on sale (I bought it for 8 bucks on Steam) grab it.