Let’s face it. Every other game on Steam is some sort of Zombie survival title. It’s also highly likely that most of them are absolutely horrible as well. Luckily, you can find a magical gem in the depths of the trash and State of Decay was that gem. The new focus is of the Downloadable content is less story and more survival. Where State of Decay was a bit lenient, Breakdown attempts to take advantage of the players skill and throw them into the thick of danger.
Breakdown by name is exactly what this DLC is all about. Unlike the main game, you start off as any random character that the title spits out for you. Starting with this brand new character, you break off into an unknown part of the world and battle a few starter zombies who have raided your camp. You have a brief conversation with Lily from the main title about finding a community and set of into the world anew. The first goal is to find a nice homestead where you will be able to set up shop, and find some able bodied soldiers for the long haul.
Since Breakdown is about scale, it’s less about staying in one place and making it the ultimate fort. Much like we’ve learned from The Walking Dead series – no place is safe no matter how much you have tried to protect it. In the end the goal is to find an R.V. and a small pack of survivors to escape with when things get rough, and it’s a certainty that they will get ROUGH. Undead Labs listened to player feedback and decided to create a mode that emphasized the idea of survival.
As time goes on, more dangerous zombies will appear throughout the town. The regular zombies will start to develop titanium skin and make it harder for the to put down. Items in the city will start to disappear from sight and it will be harder to save your group from starvation and sickness. Those lovely automobiles will stop working or start to disappear from the landscape altogether. This makes shacking up in one city a bad choice, so you will consistently have to stay on the move with your group.
That’s the ultimate idea of the R.V. a transportation device for your most respected and useful survivors. It can only seat six people and that means if you have ten people in the homestead, someone is going to get left behind as zombie bait. It’s ideal for you to make the right choices when selecting group members to stay in your group, because the more people you have the harder it becomes to abandon people to the zombie menace.
You can at least leave with the hope that they’ll have sufficient supplies to survive somewhere else, because when you move to a new city… you won’t be able to take all the items you collected in the previous location. It’s sort of like a new game plus with the challenge bumped up significantly when you arrive in the next location. It’s back to the drawing board for locating supplies and weapons, but at least you have a team of bad asses to choose from.
Which brings us to the Hero system of the title, where players can find citizens from the original State of Decay and add them to the party. These “Heroes” have ideal skill sets for slaying zombies and better weapons at the start of the game. Oh, did I forget to mention that the Hero choices will become selectable wen you want to start a new game? The more heroes you find and collect the faster others will become available to your team of misfits.
The first time I played State of Decay was on the XBLA, and I can’t say it was the best looking title I had ever seen. However, the Steam version of the title looks significantly better with higher textured models and a deeper draw distance. That’s not to say that it is a visually stellar in comparison, but if I had a choice I would choose to play on the PC. The bugs are still something that won’t go unnoticed, but they do not hinder the game-play and often come off as hilarious.
If someone asked me if Breakdown was worth the $6.99 that it costs, I’d have to ask them a series of questions regarding how they like video games. Do you like story driven game play situations and can’t do without them? If yes, don’t buy Breakdown. Do you loathe random encounters each time you play a title? If the answer is yes, you shouldn’t buy Breakdown. Do you hate spikes in difficulty that you do not have direct control over? If you said yes, you probably shouldn’t buy Breakdown.
For all the others that would enjoy these moments in game play, the danger of survival is increased tenfold in this edition of State of Decay. It’s the amount of tension and fear that the original game lacked. This title receives four stars out of five from Geek Citadel. The danger is here and it’s a blast to take a new character into zombie infested territory and see how long we can last. If there was any element missing from the original, Breakdown rectifies it with a higher focus on survival and loss.