State of Decay may have been something you overlooked over on it’s release last year as an XBLA Exclusive, hell, even I did until late last year when it finally made its way to PC. State of Decay for Tristan was a 7.9, but this is the review of the DLC we missed out on. State of Decay’s first DLC is titled Breakdown, giving me what I’ve wanted for some time, sandbox mode. That was the original reason I skipped over the game, but in addition I also was waiting for the PC release as I preferred the comfort of my PC vs. the coldness of my sad, Xbox Live-less 360. This wasn’t exactly a game I hadn’t looked forward to and the wait did kill me, but it was well worth the wait especially with the DLC added in. I rarely consider DLC worth it in the long run, but I can’t help but say it for this game.
This brings us a little bit of a different approach than normal sandbox modes though as the difficulty is real, you can run out of resources, and you need to have a somewhat tactical approach to everything. You need to scavenge for building materials, food, medical supplies, and some times people. You can get a large group, but somewhere down the line you will notice that a smaller group is the best idea, as a bigger group kills off your resources faster. You can progress whenever you get the RV in shape (Which isn’t very hard) and go to a ‘new’ valley. At first I was somewhat disappointed as the ‘new’ valley is really the valley you were just in, except the resources are back and randomized again. Every time you do this though you jump up the difficulty and I believe the maximum is 11, but to my knowledge no one has ever gotten that far.
The story is pretty cut and dry as a sandbox and does not really have too much of an impact, but you do meet groups of survivors and learn a little bit about them as you help them. Really though, you do learn a lot of minor things about the characters you play and talk with. They will tell you neat little stories when you help them, play them, or whatever else you can do. The stories are generally pretty interesting and offer a little piece to that character’s personality. The survivability can be summarized rather easily as well. You need survivors (Not too many), supplies, a base, and awareness. Your survivor will get tired, your weapons will break, and your supplies will dwindle. Further more, the game actually progresses while you are offline. You will lose people, supplies, and depending on how you leave your camp everything can go to hell with your absence. Don’t let this bother you though as it isn’t any too major, but if you leave your camp unhappy and return 2 days after not playing, more than likely you are coming back to a MUCH more unhappy camp. You can leave for weeks though at a time with only minor changes as well. The first day of absence seems to have the biggest changes and after that it seems to drop.
My biggest complaint would be the dialogue between the main character and Lily. The main complaint is the recycled dialogue exchanges that happen way too often if you play as much as I do. “What did you bring me?”… “Ohhhh…. you know…. stuff.” this happens almost every time you bring back some supplies. There are a couple generic lines about survivors, helping a survivor, and hordes, but it doesn’t hurt the game too much luckily, but I have been annoyed to the point where I just can’t take the generic chat exchanges. This generally happens whenever I am doing quick supply runs and I just grow tired of hearing the generic “Oh…. you know…. stuff.” ~ Every Character You Play. This could be easily fixed by just adding the “Oh, I picked up some medical/building/food supplies for the group!” but really this is just a minor complaint.
The difficulty ramps can be pretty extreme as well and can get to you fast. Hordes increase, car count decreases, faster zombies come out, infestations increase, and your survivor cap decreases. The smaller a group you have the more supplies you save, but there is strength in numbers. The difficulty gives you enough time to adjust to the game, but the ramps can leave you shaking in the corner, rolled up in a ball, and crying. I’m not exactly the type of person who hates difficulty (unless it is done poorly) and in this case it is a great thing and Undead Labs has done it properly. You are almost always thrown in to a new situation when you reset the valley and it can refreshing, but some times frustrating. During the reset you take a few survivors with you and they are carried over to the next ‘valley’ with you, so, choose wisely!
Overall State of Decay’s first DLC is a success. It adds something that nobody could refuse and gives it to you at such a low price of $6.99. It is rare that you find great DLC packs for so cheap and nowadays it is hard to find any DLC that is actually worth it, but Breakdown is not only worth it, it is underpriced. As even by level 3 I’m still discovering new places around the map and it has VERY high replayability. I can’t say I agree with Tristan’s review of the base game, but that is neither here or there. This DLC is something you should grab and I think State of Decay is something worth grabbing as well. It offers you hours of fun for a very reasonable price. If you do only have the base game, I would strongly suggest purchasing the DLC, because it adds an entirely new depth to an already entertaining game at a low price. There aren’t many real complaints that I can bring up about this, but the one valley (while big) can get old eventually and it would have been awesome if they had at least one other valley or just one randomly generated valley, but that combined with some of the generic lines make it a little less than perfect. Even with these minor faults though the price, the replayability, and the overall DLC makes it extremely hard to not purchase.
Overall Score: 9/10
RGN Rating: Gold 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 purchased by RealGamerNewz 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 20140528 and was last modified on 20140530 .