State of Decay Lifeline Review
State of Decay: Lifeline transports players away from the zombie infested Trumbull County, only to drop players in an even more infested city which goes by the name of Danforth. Overrun and with the military collapsing, you take control of the fully geared military unit Greyhound One, whose aim is to extract high valued targets and citizens alike to safety, while at the same time preventing your military base, “Black Friday”, from being decimated by relentless zombie sieges. It’s a welcomed change of pace to State of Decay, giving you access to the very best weapons available in the game along with more ammunition than you’ll ever be able to burn through. While there is less emphasis on gathering supplies as there was in the campaign or Breakdown for that matter, although you’ll still need to gather what you can, Lifeline contains all the features which made us fall in love with the open-world zombie game as you build and expand Black Friday to make life as comforting as you can during a zombie apocalypse and ensure the efficient operating of your platoon.
Danforth City is a great setting for the next chapter in State of Decay. With a free-way circling the playable area, zombies have truly overrun the city with some areas so infested it will be suicide even for your platoon of heavily geared soldiers to venture into. Thankfully, Undead Labs have been kind enough to provide Greyhound One with enough weapons and ammo to let us reign down a hell storm of bullets upon the undead. Not only does this help you out with your mission of helping retrieve scientists and researchers who may be able to put an end to the zombie outbreak, but it’s also a lot of fun being able to just shoot and shoot without worrying about running dangerously low on ammunition. In the event that your ammo does run low and your scavenging isn’t enough to fill it back up, you are able to call in supply drops from the military, ranging from food and medicine drops to building materials, guns and ammo. This is the zombie apocalypse after all though, so gradually the support you’ll receive from the military does reduce as they become stretched.
Despite having so much at your disposal, the traditional State of Decay recipe which sees you finding weapons, ammo and supplies throughout the environment, be it a desk or a gun cabinet, is still extremely satisfying. Lifeline never allows you to feel comfortable or safe no matter how far in or well supplied you may be. The shear number of zombies plays a role, however it is the addition of sieges which really makes Lifeline a lot of fun and very interesting.
The center of Danforth City, which is off-limits, sometimes becomes so full of the undead and bursting at the seams that they can’t help but spew out onto the outskirts of the city. At which time, they decide that Black Friday will be a good place to head. Sieges consist of several waves which will often have you fighting off the undead on all sides of your base. The chicken-wire gate, as you would expect, doesn’t hold up too well under pressure. As soon as one goes, you’ll have zombies flooding into your base. It’s vital that you try to repair the gates as quickly as possible. Unfortunately your NPC soldiers aren’t as adept as shooting as yourself so you’ll find yourself constantly switching position to help defend the side with the greatest threat. As you advance through Lifeline, more zombies will join in with each siege along with a host of bosses which give you something else to worry about.
Lifeline also introduces new fortifications to State of Decay aiding you during zombie sieges. You can set traps such as mines and fireworks outside your base to slow down the undead horde as they approach. For the first time you can also build latrines to help with sanitation within Black Friday and trust me, you’ll be thanked for it! A generator is also available for you to build giving your base a constant supply of electricity, so long as you have the fuel. If you have enough building supplies however, you can make your generator take advantage of that big yellow thing in the sky, the sun? Solar power will be at your finger tips!
Of course, Lifeline isn’t perfect and does have its faults. However you can often overlook them as you’re having too much fun mowing down zeds with your M249 SAW. Speaking of which, there are over 40 new weapons added to Lifeline. Frame-rate drops are still an issue which plague State of Decay, and Lifeline unfortunately still suffers from them. They are noticeable when they happen and break the immersion. Although they weren’t as bad as I’ve previously experienced, they are still there.
Another gripe I had was with my fellow AI soldiers, especially when they were out in the field with me. I became extremely frustrated with their inability to sometimes enter my vehicle within a timely manner. When you’re being chased by a horde and your running back to your vehicle, you want a swift entry. While I thoroughly enjoyed experiencing a new setting within the State of Decay universe, I can’t help but feel the urge to want to explore the center of the city with its towering sky-scrappers and city blocks. The outskirts of Danforth City can at times feel restricting and on the small side, with you doing most of your traveling along the free-way. However the free-way does a great job at setting the scene, with dead corpses, burnt out cars and just general chaos visible as far as the eye can see. It’s worth stating that a patch has been released recently which addresses some other bugs and glitches.
State of Decay: Lifeline is frankly a must-buy for anyone who is a fan of State of Decay. The new location and military theme of this latest DLC is enough to warrant a purchase alone. Add-in engaging zombie sieges and so many weapons and ammo you wouldn’t even know where to begin and Lifeline will keep you entertained for several hours. While a drop in frame-rate and the odd stutter can be annoying, its nothing new to State of Decay and on the whole doesn’t interrupt gameplay too much.
Recommendation: Buy it!
*(Reviewed on PC)