State of Decay: Lifeline Review

 

State of Decay’s Lifeline DLC is something I consider nearly the complete opposite of Breakdown. As I stated before, Breakdown slowly ramps up the difficulty and you should maintain a small, but efficient group. Lifeline though? Hell. No. The difficulty comes at you and it comes at you fast and you need to grab every survivor you can in order to actually survive. In Lifeline you start off well equipped, perked, and prepped to defend yourself, but over time your supplies diminish as you hastily use them in your vain attempt to survive. You want a challenge? You want intensity? Then you will want to pick up Lifeline.

The map, while smaller, also feels a lot more dense. There is hardly a dull moment and you can almost never turn around and say “Hmm there are no zombies around me.” The map largely consists of the highway, which will take you from point A to point B with some maneuvering, and is generally infested with zombies. I found that most of my time was spent driving on the highway trying to get to small towns. While the map is good and does what it should, I can’t help but feel a strong desire to go in to the actual city, which is blocked off, but for good reasons. Those reasons being that they are completely infested and overrun with zombies. The redzones on the map are the areas you can’t really enter, which just so happens to mostly be the heart of Danforth and also just so happens to be completely infested with zombies, but it would have been awesome to at least get a look at the center of it all, because what Lifeline was supposed to do was give us is a chance to see the beginning, but we come out knowing only a tiny bit of additional information of the outbreak itself.

 If it is marked red you can’t go in and if you can you get swarmed by zombies

The story isn’t anything too special, but that doesn’t mean it is exactly bad. You start off as a small group of soldiers who are stranded by the catastrophe and have to attempt to survive. You being on the highway with the objective “Kill Everything” and eventually have to find your way back to base. Along the way you are tasked to rescue VIP’s that may hold the key to stopping the infection.  There are better ways they could have started this off and it wasn’t exactly as epic as it could have been, but the story to me has never shined as something epic or too over the top. It is standard to a flaw at points though, but the main attraction was never really the story of this game. A bit in you discover a radio host who blurts out generic insults to the military, but also hands out information on survivors. Lucky for us we no longer have to constantly hear “Whatcha got?”… “Oh…. you know…. stuff.” however, her insults and lines really aren’t that much better. The main point of the story is that the soldiers at the outpost have to survive for as long as they can and grab as many VIP’s as they can, I do not know if there is a VIP limit or not, but in my game it slowed down drastically after about the fifth one. The story isn’t exactly where this DLC shines though, because as I stated above, we really do not learn too much about the start of the infection. Where it does shine though is in the difficulty.

 

 The difficulty in this DLC is real and it comes at you really fast. There is a new feature called danger levels, which basically tell you when your base is going to be attacked by a large group of zombies. The danger level system ranges from 1 (No danger) to 3 (Attack imminent) and after level 3 you go through a siege of only about 100 zombies or so. It does get pretty ridiculous and the problem I mostly have is the fact that I only have 5 survivors and I’m lucky if 2 of them are actually helping me out, which makes my life EXTREMELY hard as I usually lose at least 1 person a siege due to this. With that said you are also are constantly running around grabbing supplies, doing missions, or helping people out. This DLC  is more time based though as your base is open to attacks and some of the missions are actually time sensitive. Every siege you survive eventually brings in a new, bigger, and scarier siege and I can’t help but scream “Holy crap!” at the amount of zombies bum rushing my base, banging on my gates, and flooding over the fences, it truly can be quiet epic. The sieges alone are intense enough to make a regular sized group cringe, but throw in the fact that you have a very small group and you might cry in a corner with your thumb in your mouth as your group is viciously torn apart. I’m basing this off of my own group, which is 5 survivors ‘strong’, but if you do everything perfectly, keep everyone alive, and help everyone… it will still take a while to even reach 20 survivors and God knows how big the sieges will get at that point.

The red and white dots = enemies

Overall at the beginning I was somewhat disappointed, I did not enjoy the anticlimactic opening and the seemingly small map, but it all works and it works VERY well and feels much better after I’ve gotten to fool around with it more. I’ve already gotten 7 hours of play from a $7 DLC and I honestly can see myself getting at least 30 hours from it. What Undead Labs has done for me is prove that they can craft a DLC worth my time and put an appropriate price tag on it as well. While the map is more restricted than the original, it still offers intensity and density in a smaller, but lively map. The story is the biggest flaw in this DLC, as there are several missed opportunities by Undead Labs that could have turned it from a mildly interesting story to an intense and engaging one. You want difficulty from the get go, well, this is the DLC for you.  It can be somewhat unforgiving for even some of your minor mistakes, every survivor counts, and every time you live to see another day is a reason you should rejoice, but not for long. What you can get in this DLC exceeds the price tag as it is intense, replayable, and overall a blast to play. If you were expecting just another version of Breakdown, you were wrong. What Lifeline feels like to me is the opposite of Breakdown and that isn’t even close to a flaw.

Yeah, life did not end well for her as she was literally ripped in half

Overall Score: 8.5/10

RGN Rating: Silver Game

Developer: Undead Labs

Publisher: Microsoft Studios

Available On: PC, Xbox 360

Played on: PC

Review Copy Info: A digital copy of this game was provided to RealGamerNewz by the developer for the purpose of this Review.

 

Editor’s Note: RealGamerNewZ has moved web servers, some older posts can no longer be commented on and have been preserved without their images. Thank you for your understanding in this matter. This article was written by Christopher Stahler on 20140529 and was last modified on 20140529 .