The zombie trend seems a bit off now (it’s pirates now: you can add Crossbones to the list) , so I guess that’s a good time to mention State of Decay. I already mentioned here the comics the Walking Dead and numerous video games that relates directly (Telltale The Walking Dead) or indirectly (Left 4 Dead), I’ll avoid redundancies. Let’s say this State of Decay is a bit of a GTA in The Walking Dead: third person view, open world.
Two DLC has been released. I do sincerely hate DLC but, in this case, since the game is cheap and they are cheap too, it’s acceptable.
The main game is a campaign – kind of easy, you’ll travel through a map following missions, fetch resources to escape. Breakdown allows you to replay on the map of the campaign with an increasing difficulty level – each successful escape actually increase it (endlessly?). Lifeline provides a new map and a new campaign kind of king of the hill mode.
In this game, you can play as many characters as you befriend: you handle a group of survivors that are all playable. Each of them have skills that can be improved, so obviously there’s some sort of selection process, natural or at your convenience. These guys gather resources. And, obviously, the group will survive only if it can defend against zombies, at which end you create a base and set up outposts. Soon enough, you are playing something comparable to what is described in The Walking Dead comics. The only missing part is non-zombies hostiles (ie: they should work on that).
The game has been described in some reviews as buggy. Except for a problem with loading savegame (core dumped on exit/load: workaround), I have not noticed major issue. Sometimes, cars parked near your camp aren’t fixed even though you have a proper workshop set up in camp – so you’ll have to restart the game: not critical. Sometimes collisions are handled in a messy way and you loose a car in the process: not so terrible (ok, in Breakdown, car tends to be rare; but there is a hero to unlock to workaround it). The ranged weapon seems to have a weird distance limit (beyond which you can hit but never kill: so basically you just waste ammo and attrack crowds): well, shoot short range, I think that’s a feature more than a bug. The motion blur when graphics are set to max is ugly: set graphics to high setting and it’ll loose the cheezy motion blur.
Breakdown could look a bit repetitive. It’s actually kind of addictive. You start with basic characters. First levels, you improve them and unlock new ones (often with specific know how) by doing challenges. Clearly, an undeveloped one could not withstand any fight say of 5th level; focus on character with melee fighting skills, since that’s what save your life when you get surrounded; avoid shotgun, there is only one shotgun ammunition type, and looking at the results, it looks like it’s some sort of birdshot (pellets – spreading wide, slow down multiple foes but rarely hit them in the face enough to actually get a kill), definitely nothing like brenneke (slug: one projectile only, making heavy damage and sensibly accurate for the range used in the game). Cars are also very useful for crowd management in first levels; going backward you can ram hordes like mad. At later level, you’ll find that car takes too much damage so it’s better to use other means (one molotov cocktail should be enough to kill a horde running towards you since they’re packed). You switch to the next level whenever you want as soon as you fixed your RV (yes, that should remind you of something). And then you’ll restart from a different position with 6 guys you selected from your group. Even though some places to set up camp seems best (more space, more outposts etc) some of the worse can actually be fun to play. I started level 5 setting up to The Alamo (“Overall, the Alamo is difficult to defend”), temporarily I thought. But its central location in an area with lot of resources is a good tradeoff for poor security. And putting lot of people inside, I did not find it hard to defend at that level.
I’ve only started playing Lifeline, I cannot comment it much so far, except that is seems to up the difficulty level even more. You have one base, only one available, and incoming
orcszombies must die. Hey Santa Anna we’re killing your soldiers below, that men where ever they go, will remember the Alamo.