Tag Archives: Undead Labs

Xbox promising unlimited budget & creative freedom for first party studios

Phil Spencer has been quoted as saying that “for a long time, Xbox was like the Garage of Microsoft”. His aim to re-invent the Xbox brand has begun to take shape behind-the-scenes, but will only truly be felt during the next-generation of consoles games. It takes time to make changes at major companies, Spencer inherited a mess from Don Mattrick whose infamous DRM scandal can be largely blamed for the deficit between PS4 and Xbox One this generation. Earning back the reputation of Xbox with gamers will take time. It also takes a long time for game studios to produce new games, and that’s a big part of what Phil Spencer has been initiating, exclusives for Xbox.

Continue reading Xbox promising unlimited budget & creative freedom for first party studios

First plans for Xbox Project Scarlet have finally emerged

A bit of information has made its way to the public through Xbox Boss Phil Spencer expressing his hopes, dreams, and potential plans for the upcoming next-generation of console gaming expected to be launched in November of 2020 or 2021. We will continue to update all information regarding the next-gen Xbox Project Scarlet platform as the next few years should be some of the most interesting in gaming history.

Editor’s Note: Project Scarlet is a code name for use during the development of the next Xbox and will probably not be the final name of the product(s) developed under this frame work. The following post includes the latest information but this project is a work-in-progress and subject to change over the next few years.

Please check our Project Scarlet section for the latest info as it becomes available.

Continue reading First plans for Xbox Project Scarlet have finally emerged

State of Decay 2 Review

State of Decay 2 is the sequel to the 2013 survival horror game State of Decay which was generally well received by critics, and was a game I thoroughly enjoyed as well. Going into this game I was expecting more of the same zombie-killing and strategic gameplay from its predecessor. Well, this game delivers that, but really not much else. That isn’t totally a bad thing though because it still does those things right. A lot of heart and soul has been poured into State of Decay 2 by development house Undead Labs, and it shows.

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State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition Review

State of Decay Year One Survival Edition Review - RealGamerNewz

Hitting Xbox ONE and Steam Today on April 28, 2015 is State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition, the third person action / adventure / shooter with a persistent world of survivors to be recruited, materials to be scavenged, zombie infestations to be contained, and a lot more. One of the most distinct features of State of Decay lies in its punishment for mistakes. Sure, it takes a lot to get this to happen, so there’s plenty of time to avoid it – but let your camp members die out in battle and they’re gone for good.

For all of its strengths being emboldened by this revised release, a few of its weaknesses unfortunately still remain. Driving around vehicles can feel very wonky, they tip over easily and repairing them will take a day’s time which is hardly worth it unless you’ve upgraded their armor since cars are hanging around all over to be stolen at a whim. The melee attack mechanics are bittersweet and don’t feel entirely great either. Luckily the good outweighs the bad and I’d even go as far as to say that State of Decay is a must-play game.

The psychological effects of the Zombie Apocalypse are explored as players take control of multiple characters, build their own bases, decide when it’s time to move on, set up outposts, loot stores, avoid or aid the government’s military troops who funnily enough still try to get people to obey the pre-apocalypse laws to the letter, all the while keeping their clan of recruited survivors fed, happy, and comforted.

The game provides plenty of moments where player choice comes into effect to a large degree. In addition to that, every time players set out they have to decide how best to spend their influence which can be used to recruit other players on your trip to the outside world, exchange which weapons to take with or leave behind, and how to upgrade the home base. There’s a limited amount of gear that can be carried at any given time, so that decision of whether you’ll be out collecting or needing to fill yourself with ammo, snacks, and medicine for a big battle is ultimately crucial every time players step out of the door of their home base.

State of Decay Year One Survival Edition Xbox One Review - RealGamerNewz

Conversely, Breakdown is the sandbox mode included in Year One Survival Edition which was presented as a DLC for the original State of Decay and features different missions, skills, facilities, bases, and has an overall focus more set to individual behavior rather than following the will of the group. Morale and group opinions still matter to some extent, but the player is much more of a leader as they gain the ability to control many more characters and story-based characters take on new roles in a bit more of a random fashion.

Lifeline sets players in the hot-seat as they play through military missions designed to ultimately evacuate the survivors from the area with the long-term goal of saving humanity’s skin. All of the Xbox 360 game’s original content has been fully remastered in 1080P High Definition. All of the DLC is included in the game, and the asking price is very low considering the sheer amount of gameplay hours which can be achieved here.

The game is not without a few minor glitches remaining that can hopefully be patched out. But similar to Oblivion or Skyrim, these are easily tolerable for the vast and detailed world which can be explored. A never-ending amount of quests, side-quests, areas of interest, both random and carefully scripted, continue pushing gameplay further and further. It’s not long before players become fully invested in what they’re doing and I dare even say addicted to the awesome living world of State of Decay.

Final Verdict:

State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition is probably one of the best Zombie games out right now. The reasons are simple; it’s got a big huge open world with living and breathing characters and events, it’s got tons to do all backed up by a story that matters, and most importantly the gameplay feels rewarding and meaningful. Undead Labs has managed to capture the “complete package” feel of video games from the old days in a modern era where pieces are being sliced by other studios to be sold as DLC for the detriment of the experience. Microsoft Studios has proven that they are willing to take a chance and support unique and original titles with the long-term commitment to Undead Labs’ vision and although Year One Survival Edition is not without a few hiccups, many of the players’ concerns were addressed resulting in a quality increase. I look forward to seeing what Undead Labs can come up with for their next project which is said to be multiplayer from the ground up and continuing the State of Decay franchise in some way. State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition receives an 8.75 out of 10 making it one of RGN’s Silver Games of 2015.

Official Trailer:

Overall Score: 8.75 / 10
RGN Rating: Silver Game
Developer: Undead Labs
Publisher: Microsoft Studios

Available On: XO | PC

Played On: Microsoft Xbox ONE

Review Copy Info: A digital copy of this game was provided to 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 Jon Ireson on 20150428 and was last modified on 20150428 .

State of Decay: Lifeline Review

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State of Decay’s Lifeline DLC is something I consider nearly the complete opposite of Breakdown. As I stated before, Breakdown slowly ramps up the difficulty and you should maintain a small, but efficient group. Lifeline though? Hell. No. The difficulty comes at you and it comes at you fast and you need to grab every survivor you can in order to actually survive. In Lifeline you start off well equipped, perked, and prepped to defend yourself, but over time your supplies diminish as you hastily use them in your vain attempt to survive. You want a challenge? You want intensity? Then you will want to pick up Lifeline.

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The map, while smaller, also feels a lot more dense. There is hardly a dull moment and you can almost never turn around and say “Hmm there are no zombies around me.” The map largely consists of the highway, which will take you from point A to point B with some maneuvering, and is generally infested with zombies. I found that most of my time was spent driving on the highway trying to get to small towns. While the map is good and does what it should, I can’t help but feel a strong desire to go in to the actual city, which is blocked off, but for good reasons. Those reasons being that they are completely infested and overrun with zombies. The redzones on the map are the areas you can’t really enter, which just so happens to mostly be the heart of Danforth and also just so happens to be completely infested with zombies, but it would have been awesome to at least get a look at the center of it all, because what Lifeline was supposed to do was give us is a chance to see the beginning, but we come out knowing only a tiny bit of additional information of the outbreak itself.

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 If it is marked red you can’t go in and if you can you get swarmed by zombies

The story isn’t anything too special, but that doesn’t mean it is exactly bad. You start off as a small group of soldiers who are stranded by the catastrophe and have to attempt to survive. You being on the highway with the objective “Kill Everything” and eventually have to find your way back to base. Along the way you are tasked to rescue VIP’s that may hold the key to stopping the infection.  There are better ways they could have started this off and it wasn’t exactly as epic as it could have been, but the story to me has never shined as something epic or too over the top. It is standard to a flaw at points though, but the main attraction was never really the story of this game. A bit in you discover a radio host who blurts out generic insults to the military, but also hands out information on survivors. Lucky for us we no longer have to constantly hear “Whatcha got?”… “Oh…. you know…. stuff.” however, her insults and lines really aren’t that much better. The main point of the story is that the soldiers at the outpost have to survive for as long as they can and grab as many VIP’s as they can, I do not know if there is a VIP limit or not, but in my game it slowed down drastically after about the fifth one. The story isn’t exactly where this DLC shines though, because as I stated above, we really do not learn too much about the start of the infection. Where it does shine though is in the difficulty.

State of Decay Lifeline

 

 The difficulty in this DLC is real and it comes at you really fast. There is a new feature called danger levels, which basically tell you when your base is going to be attacked by a large group of zombies. The danger level system ranges from 1 (No danger) to 3 (Attack imminent) and after level 3 you go through a siege of only about 100 zombies or so. It does get pretty ridiculous and the problem I mostly have is the fact that I only have 5 survivors and I’m lucky if 2 of them are actually helping me out, which makes my life EXTREMELY hard as I usually lose at least 1 person a siege due to this. With that said you are also are constantly running around grabbing supplies, doing missions, or helping people out. This DLC  is more time based though as your base is open to attacks and some of the missions are actually time sensitive. Every siege you survive eventually brings in a new, bigger, and scarier siege and I can’t help but scream “Holy crap!” at the amount of zombies bum rushing my base, banging on my gates, and flooding over the fences, it truly can be quiet epic. The sieges alone are intense enough to make a regular sized group cringe, but throw in the fact that you have a very small group and you might cry in a corner with your thumb in your mouth as your group is viciously torn apart. I’m basing this off of my own group, which is 5 survivors ‘strong’, but if you do everything perfectly, keep everyone alive, and help everyone… it will still take a while to even reach 20 survivors and God knows how big the sieges will get at that point.

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The red and white dots = enemies

Overall at the beginning I was somewhat disappointed, I did not enjoy the anticlimactic opening and the seemingly small map, but it all works and it works VERY well and feels much better after I’ve gotten to fool around with it more. I’ve already gotten 7 hours of play from a $7 DLC and I honestly can see myself getting at least 30 hours from it. What Undead Labs has done for me is prove that they can craft a DLC worth my time and put an appropriate price tag on it as well. While the map is more restricted than the original, it still offers intensity and density in a smaller, but lively map. The story is the biggest flaw in this DLC, as there are several missed opportunities by Undead Labs that could have turned it from a mildly interesting story to an intense and engaging one. You want difficulty from the get go, well, this is the DLC for you.  It can be somewhat unforgiving for even some of your minor mistakes, every survivor counts, and every time you live to see another day is a reason you should rejoice, but not for long. What you can get in this DLC exceeds the price tag as it is intense, replayable, and overall a blast to play. If you were expecting just another version of Breakdown, you were wrong. What Lifeline feels like to me is the opposite of Breakdown and that isn’t even close to a flaw.

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Yeah, life did not end well for her as she was literally ripped in half

Overall Score: 8.5/10

RGN Rating: Silver 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 provided to RealGamerNewz by the developer 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 20140529 and was last modified on 20140529 .

State of Decay: Breakdown Review

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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.

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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.

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 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.

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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.

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 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!

 

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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 .

New State of Decay DLC Hitting Xbox 360 + Windows PC Simultaneously w/ New Map

State of Decay DLC Lifeline Map Xbox 360

The new DLC releasing for survival horror title State of Decay on Xbox 360 and Windows PC platforms does not yet have a release date. However, developer Undead Labs has released a new blog post chatting a bit about the expansion and in it a formal announcement that State of Decay: Lifeline will bring a new map to the game. New features are hinted at, but Undead Labs insists they aren’t prepared to promise anything beyond the fact that a new map is being added to the game. Hang on tight for more details as they become available. If you missed it, check out our State of Decay 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 Jon Ireson on 20140212 and was last modified on 20140212 .

State of Decay Review

Microsoft’s new zombie game State of Decay developed by Undead Labs for 360 and on PC. But at the moment this new IP has hit the Xbox Live Arcade. State of Decay is a zombie game where survival and strategy does matter. You either live or you die it’s simple.

Soundtrack, Audio, Voice: The music is very similar to the popular tv show The Walking Dead. It would make sense since when playing this I am reminded of the show a whole lot. The audio mixes in well with the only out of place sounds are during feast scenes that rarely happen, unless you just suck and die a whole lot. Voice acting is good for a game focused on many different characters that you can play as. Other characters voices fit as it seems it the game had a pretty good budget for a huge array of voice actors.

Graphics, Physics, Glitches, Engine Performance: The graphics are very very good especially for a Xbox Live Arcade game. The PC’s graphics do look better though but honestly it looks great on either system. Physics are pretty realistic but with a kinda Dead Rising combat type feel that pushes a few things away. Glitches are not barley there, the only time I noticed something was when I was driving and the map was loading in front of me at one point, other than that perfecto polished. The CryEngine 3 works it’s magic in State of Decay. As I said the fact that the game looks great and feels smooth like a Crysis game (of course it’s nothing like Crysis) is just another plus for this game.

Zombies: State of Decay features a whole lot of different zombies. There are walkers the slow normal zombies. Faster zombies you would see in a movie like World War Z. Big Brute like zombies, like the Tank from Left 4 Dead. Screamers which just attract other zombies. Crawlers which do as the name suggest crawl. Then there is these beast like zombies that charge. There are plenty of other zombies I came across that you will have to find out for your self about.

Gameplay: The game play at some points resembles Dead Rising. But at others could be compared to Yakuza but a lot better. In the end the style plays like State of Decay. Fighting off zombies with guns and melee weapons that can break. You pretty much have to go at the zombie either alone or with people from your homestead. You can combat with cars as well but they take damage easily. Your best bet is stealth on foot and quick attacks. The framrates also drop a lot which is one big issue.

Story: The story is pretty clear cut, it’s all about survival. Basically the story revolves around what you do. It is a really personal experience. You can really get a true sense out of yourself in this. If your character dies the character is dead you want to live you don’t want to die. No one wants to die. You have to build up your homestead to keep people safe and find food and so many other things that make the word death different in this game.

Replay Ability: Very High

Final Verdict: State of Decay is a true testament of wanting to make you live. The zombie overrun open world map feels real when you move around it. State of Decay earns itself a 9.9 out of 10.

 

Overall Score: 7.9/10

RGN Rating: Bronze Game

Review Copy Info: a copy of this downloadable game was purchased by  RealGamerNewz for purposes of this review.

Available on: Xbox 360, and PC

Played on: Xbox 360 

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 Tristan Werbe on 20130618 and was last modified on 20140212 .