State of Decay: Lifeline Review (Xbox360)
When I first saw Undead Labs show off State of Decay I was beyond hyped. This was not the same old worn out zombie game. True survival, multiple playable characters, permanent death and limited resources are all facets of the game that had me from the get go. Our reviews of both the main game and the Breakdown DLC mirror my opinion and it goes without saying that I couldn’t wait to see what State of Decay: Lifeline had in store for us.
State of Decay: Lifeline changes the formula a little bit to fit with the story of this DLC. You start with a gun and are given a base to defend within the first mission. The base is stocked with more ammo and guns than I think I used for the entire main game. This does make the game a good bit easier, or so at least I found. Scavenging is now more about the gathering of food, medical supplies and building materials for your base rather than gathering weapons to defend yourself. You will also spend time saving civilians and marines in the hopes of getting them to join your base. Unlike the main game you can’t take all the time in the world though, long gone are the days of a leisurely scavenge. People will die if you are not quick enough. Lose too many and its game over. There are other consequences to losing survivors as well. Take radio host Vienna Chow for example. This army hating lunatic will spare no time in giving you an ear bashing should someone die on your watch.
A large part of the Lifeline DLC concerns defending your base from waves of zombie attacks. This is where the military personnel and assets come in handy. The number of soldiers you have in your base will determine how well you can defend it from the undead. You can also set up perimeter defenses in the form of mines and other scavenged items. These generally don’t do too much damage but they will help in surviving until the second wave strikes which then allows you to use another feature new to Lifeline – artillery strikes. I guess being in the military has its benefits.
The playable area on State of Decay: Lifeline’s map is made up largely of the highway that circles the centre of the world with most of that being off limits. There is also a small neighborhood that makes up the majority of the rest of the map. You will spend a lot more time driving in Lifeline than you have driven in State of Decay before. This also means that there are some new vehicles to choose from. The new army trucks are really cool due to the fact that you can now store you scavenged items in the back of them during an outing. This means you are now able to bring back a huge amount of supplies and upgrade your base in one go. This is an awesome feeling and is a feature I would love to see patched into the main game and previous DLC. There are also a lot more zombies in the new area of Danforth than there were in the previous areas. While this means there are plenty of zombies to randomly shoot and run over, it also means more infestations to take out. And while running into a small area and discovering four infestations will keep you busy, it certainly won’t relax you!
Now, it would be safe to say that the State of Decay base game had its fair share of glitches and bugs, but Lifeline has taken this to new levels. These new glitches include both the zombies and yourself being able run through walls, fences and vehicles without putting a dent in either them or you. This is slightly off-putting and I can only hope that this will be patched out later. The AI of the NPCs can also be troublesome, often standing around doing nothing whilst you deal with waves and waves of zombies. Sometimes they are even oblivious to being eaten alive which then means that you are left with a pile of guts to help you on the rest of your mission.
Despite its bugs and AI issues, Lifeline is a welcome addition to State of Decay. It builds on the canon already created and adds some very good features which would be amazing in the main game (hint hint). And whilst rather short, there is definite replayability to Lifeline as you never how things are going to turn out. Undead Labs have done a great job of keeping State of Decay alive with DLC and Lifeline is keeping the trend. If you enjoyed State of Decay and looking for a little bit more then State of Decay: Lifeline is a must.
3.5 zombie hordes out of 5