Telltale’s take on 5 Lives

With fans of Telltale’s runaway hit based on Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead chomping at the bit to get their hands on the next season like a group of walkers with raw meat, 400 Days comes at just the right time—an appetizer of sorts for what the future may hold for the series. Functionally, 400 Days serves as a bridge between Season One and Two that looks to establish new characters we may meet, as well as a whole new series of choices that will continue to effect us and play out through the next season.

Now, with something so story-driven, I can’t get into many details without spoiling things. What I can tell you is that 400 Days centers around an abandoned pit stop diner/gas station where five different groups of people are put to the test throughout the first year of the outbreak. Some stand alone, while others unknowingly affect each other—and whatever decisions you make will have an effect on Season Two (when we’ll hopefully get to see Clementine again).

Yes, I can tell you that Clementine doesn’t make an appearance in this DLC. This may break a few hearts—we all want to get an inkling into the girl’s fate—but it gives a flurry of new and interesting characters who we might be able to look forward to Clementine meeting. This could give diehards of the series unprecedented insight into the people around them, not just the main character.

400 Days’ main purpose is to act as setup for Season Two more than anything, and may stand relatively far away from the first season. But it also makes plenty of subtle references to Season One that will have gamers who beat Lee and Clementine’s odyssey grinning ear to ear.

If you didn’t beat the first season, well, first: What are you waiting for?! Second, if five 20-30 minute bite-sized adventures are more your speed right now than a 2-3 hours chapter, you can still go ahead with 400 Days and not worry about spoilers. My only complaint with this DLC was that it was DLC and not a standalone episode since it makes for a perfect jumping in point for newcomers to the series. Instead, the game is only available to players who already have a Season One episode on their hard drives. Of course, this could be an ingenious way to try to hook players by making them buy both Season One and 400 Days.

In regards to the gameplay, it’s much of the same. It’s still primarily a point-and-click adventure, with occasional opportunities to walk around and chitchat with characters before making another impossible decision. The animations felt a lot smoother this time around, however, as compared to some of Season One’s episodes.

400 Days puts players in the same kind of gut-wrenching situations we expect from the franchise. I constantly had to deal with life and death choices, but the short nature of the chapters makes the decision feel like a morbid lightning round. This served as an interesting changeup to how the first season went about telling its story, while finding ways for players to invest in a whole new group of characters in a fast and fun way. All in all, this makes 400 Days possibly the most enjoyable chapter in the series yet—and a must play before The Walking Dead: Season Two starts later this year.

Developer: Telltale Games • Publisher: Telltale Games • ESRB: M – Mature • Release Date: 07.02.13
The perfect bridge between Season One and Two of The Walking Dead, 400 Days expertly sets up new characters in fun, interesting bite-sized chunks that will do nothing but get fans more hyped for Season Two.
The Good Makes some subtle, but enjoyable nods to Season One, while expertly building a narrative bridge to Season Two.
The Bad The stories hold up enough that the DLC could’ve been a standalone release.
The Ugly We still don’t know what happened to Clementine.
The Walking Dead: 400 Days is available on Xbox 360, PS3, PS Vita, PC, and iOS. Primary version reviewed was for Xbox 360.