Sunday, June 22, 2014

State of Decay: Lifeline

Heading towards trouble.

Overview of the game
I noticed that a certain morbid humor surfaces in State of Decay at times, like the one you can see on the screenshot above or in the graffiti on one of the walls of the base like in the picture below.  The top picture is from the downloadable content(DLC) Lifeline and we are driving towards the zombie infested city of Danforth. 

To keep you in the spirit of things.

Lifeline puts you in the combat boots of the military.  You know, those guys that didn't come across too well in the original game. If they weren't actually the cause of the zombie apocalypse then they certainly could be accused of abandoning the inhabitants of Trumbull Valley (and some of their comrades) to the fate.  Now you  get a chance at  their vindication. 
The add on Lifeline comes with a new map. It is the city of Danforth 
Map of Danforth

Not that you are going to go into the city itself. The red areas are inaccessible, so the map consists mostly of the road around the city and some areas next to it. It is small, certainly as compared to the original game map.

The ring around Danforth. It will be full of hordes later in the game.
Danforth skyline. Oh so quiet.
But while the map is smaller Lifeline cranks up the pressure. From the start you are thrown into the action, not unlike the original game or the previous DLC breakdown, but Lifeline doesn't let up. The game opens with your first character, commander Hawkes, accompanied by two soldiers on a road facing a dozen zombies. And once they are disposed of you are immediately ordered to hurry towards your base to take control of Greyhound One which is about to be swarmed by zombies.
Greyhound One.

After that the game keeps you on your toes by throwing waves of zombies against your base  and each attack increases in intensity. Next to normal zombies, you will be facing  more and more special zombies, called freaks.
And in between these attacks you have to rescue citizens and stray soldiers, gather supplies, build up your base and rescue high value assets.  And since there is a shortage of men and time, you sometimes have to face a choice. Will you rescue a citizen or will you gather supplies?
In the meantime the zombie threat escalates and the zombies grown in number and ferocity throughout the area. You will value your outposts and your Molotovs, which are sometimes the only way to save a citizen or soldier who is being swamped by zombies. Yes, you might have to set them on fire on purpose.
Your base. It looks pretty empty.
There is a small story line available in lifeline and it even gives you different options to end the game. 
Did he say 'nuclear'?
Yeah, I hear you talking.

Criticism of Lifeline: bugs bugs bugs.

A special part for criticism of Lifeline? Well yes, and not because I dislike the game or find it short, which was to be expected of a DLC, but what annoyed me to no small extent were the bugs, some of which were pretty game spoiling.
An example of  this is when during the story line you have to rescue two ladies and then escort them to a house to retrieve some notes. This house is infested and you have to clear out the zombies. I knew this because I had this done in a previous game. What happened however was that the infestation had moved to a house next door for some reason. So I decided to clean that one to finish the mission, but the two ladies refused to come along. So I decided to attack the house with some reinforcements I had called up. I was halfway in when I noticed that the ladies were being attacked and didn't fight back. They died making me fail the mission.
There are many more little annoying bugs. Like you can call reinforcements, a feature that costs a pretty amount of influence, but this failed to deliver three out of five times.  Another bug is the issue where a NPC(non player character) refuses to sit in a car. Yet another is when your NPC doesn't fight and just stands around. 
A more annoying bug was that Vienne Cho in most of my games never appeared on the map. Another bug is that I had Sasquatch disappear after I finished his story line.

Verdict of Lifeline
 I liked lifeline because it put a new twist on the game and makes for a new experience even though 
it is short lived. It is fun to try it a few times to improve your tactics and explore the few options.  

Game spoiler(tactics)
Once you equip your men with grenade launchers, you basically can keep playing the game indefinitely because NPCs never run out of ammo and since there are five or six grenade launchers available you can equip the bulk of your men with them(if you don't put any effort in recruiting new ones) and have them wipe out the waves of zombies. The only time you actually have to intervene is when Big Uns attack as the NPC grenade launchers don't seem to have an effect on them. 

If all else fails:

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