Wednesday, 11 June 2014

State of Decay: Lifeline review

Just less than a year after its initial release, State of Decay's second DLC has landed, bringing a new city, and a new story, whilst keeping the core gameplay intact. The original release of the game received high praise from critics everywhere, despite it's many bugs and glitches. Is it worth going back for this new adventure? Check out the full review below to find out.

Lifeline is set in Danforth, a small city, overrun with zombies. This is quite a stark contrast to the rural areas seen in the original release, but a welcome one. Vehicles are everywhere, buildings to loot are plentiful, and enemies come thick and fast. Instead of the previous games where characters consisted mostly of civilians struggling to survive the zombie apocalypse, the player now takes control of soldiers in an elite military unit, tasked with doing as much good in the city as possible. Most of the missions feel quite familiar, with the majority of them consisting of finding survivors around the city, killing specific targets, or bringing back equipment that can be used to aid your cause.

This time you have awesome weaponry and plentiful ammo

Like before, you have a base where survivors hang out away from the dangers of the open roads. This time however, your base frequently comes under siege from the undead attackers, requiring you to defeat waves of enemies to avoid being overrun. This adds a nice new challenge, but the frequency of attacks can limit exploration of your new environment. At the bottom of your minimap is an indicator of danger, with sieges beginning when this gets too high.

As soon as it starts to climb, its advised to start heading back to camp, which can be frustrating when you're in desperate need of supplies from the city. That said, there is a drastically lower need to scavenge at all. You can request supply drops over the radio, so if you're running low on supplies for your base, this is often the easiest way to restock. In addition, there is a plentiful supply of weapons and ammo in the camp's storage, so you can stay equipped with very little effort.

The gameplay is pretty much the same, but there is a new city to explore

There has only been a few minor changes to the core gameplay, the most noticable being the ability  to use vehicles as mobile storage points. While this is certainly a nice addition, it would have been nice to see a few more changes just to make the experience feel a bit more varied. While the survivor AI has never been fantastic, it has never been a big issue before. Unfortunately, it is a lot more noticeable in Lifeline, with NPCs often getting themselves stuck on the environment, or taking an obscene amount of time just to get into a vehicle for a getaway, leading to a few cheap deaths for your fellow survivors. As so many of the missions involve escorting someone, this becomes a very frustrating issue.

All in all, Lifeline is a good addition to State of Decay, and is well worth playing for any fans of the original game, adding more than enough new content for its price to warrant a purchase. 

7/10

by Mike Aitchison

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