State of Decay: Lifeline Review

Lifeline is a good extension to the vanilla State of Decay, but is unfortunately held back by its severe performance issues.

RELEASE DATE: May 30, 2014PLATFORM: Xbox 360 (Reviewed), PCDEVELOPER: Undead LabsPUBLISHER: Microsoft StudiosCATEGORY: Zombie Shooter

I know what you’re thinking, “Aren’t we done with zombie games now?” But no–no we’re not, and I, for one, never will be. The same goes for Undead Labs, whom have just released their second (and likely final) round of DLC for the generally well-received State of Decay. “Lifeline,” as the DLC is named, coincidentally enough injects new life into a game we put down well over a few months ago, but is unfortunately marred by severe performance issues.

But, let’s get into the good that Lifelinehas to offer. First and most important is the fact that Undead Labs addressed one of the annoyances of State of Decay. Now instead of having to make treks to and from camp with just one bag of supplies, players are able to store extra sacks and equipment into any vehicle to use as a transport back to base. It’s so much better than having to call for scavengers or having to leave the newly found supplies. Also an upgrade is the apparent increase in the number of guns and supplies available, which would make sense since the story takes place earlier on, just after the initial undead outbreak. On my first truk, I found a plethora of guns, ammo and medical supplies. In the original release of State of Decay,I found that one of its flaws was that there weren’t enough guns available; this simply is no longer the case in Lifeline.

State of Decay: Lifeline Review

This DLC’s story makes sense, as it drops you into an Army base in Danforth and tasks you with finding and safely rescuing a group of scientists that could potentially be the answer. We already know they aren’t, though–thus is one of the flaws in getting us interested in the story.

Like the original release, State of Decay: Lifelinethrows you right into the action without hesitation, throwing endless waves of the undead your way. In fact, I think Undead Labs added more zombies in this round, which makes sense with the story (earlier during the apocalypse there’s more zeds, duh).

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Lifelineis a great idea, and would’ve been a welcomed release if it weren’t for the game’s absolutely dreadful performance. I’d estimate that the framerate on the Xbox 360 version floats between 18-25. It feels as though you’re playing a game with great graphics through your laptop’s onboard Intel video card. The draw distance is bad, which is especially noticeable while driving.  Within the first five minutes of gameplay, a truck randomly appeared in the middle of the road as I was driving on the abandoned highway, setting my car aflame after I crashed into it, head on. I’ve been told that the PC version doesn’t suffer these issues, though, but have not had the chance to test it out, myself.

The game also suffers from poor AI, though, both on the zombies’ side of things and the other members of the base, whom usually won’t lift a finger to help when the base is under attack. Sure–some members help, but others stand there; this wouldn’t happen with a horde of zombies attacking a community. People would either stand and fight, or run and hide–nobody just stands there and let’s themself become a snack.

But severe performance issues aside, the core of State of Decay: Lifelineis an improvement on the vanilla version of the game we were given last summer. I don’t recommend picking up the Xbox 360 version (thus is the reason for the low score I’ve given it), but the PC version appears to be a great choice, especially given the low price of entry. With an entirely new campaign, more weapons, and an entire new map to explore, you’re basically getting a brand new game for the low price of $6.99.


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3 out of 5