State of Decay: Lifeline – Julian’s State of the Union

State of Decay 1State of Decay was a surprise hit for many, but I always knew it had the chops to be something special. Not only is it my favorite zombie apocalypse survival sandbox sim, but it’s one of the better XBLA games to come along since Shadow Complex made it a viable platform for showcasing incredible (debatably) smaller-tier games.

I had taken a break from all of the carnage for a while, but I recently felt the urge to get back in and test my mettle against an onslaught of the undead. I decided to opt out of the main story and play the “Lifeline” DLC.

LifelineI found myself in the thick of things right out the gate, having to savagely bludgeon two zombies in the first few seconds. After getting reacquainted with the controls (foolishly wasting a health pack while doing so), I began my slow journey to find shelter.

I crouched most of the way, trying to use the wheat stalks of the open farmland to hide my presence from the hordes of zombies that surrounded me. After stealth-killing a half dozen or so, I came across a farmhouse that could serve as my base of operations. However, it was very isolated, and quick resource-gathering tends to be the proverbial name of the game, so I instead stole that settlement’s sole vehicle and hightailed it into town.

I decided to go with a nice ranch-style house. I introduced myself to its occupants, who welcomed me in, and I was off to the races.

I quickly began rummaging through nearby homes to find supplies to fix up the house and help my new-found mates bolster our abode. This lead my character to fatigue, so I switched out and got right back to it.

rsz_state_1However, the woman I had chosen wasn’t much for stamina, so I switched shortly thereafter to a strapping middle-aged fella. Mind you, these characters all have names and personalities, as well as physical and mental traits that help and hinder progression. (But after the heartache of losing Marcus during my initial playthrough, I can’t bring myself to associate too closely with these poor saps. No names, guys.)

About and hour and a half in, I had done a bunch of pilfering and murdering (if you can call it that), when I began to notice that my community had mostly all fallen ill or were fatigued. My med station wasn’t coming along fast enough, and it took me too long to set up a proper sleep area. And my kitchen — well, my kitchen was fucked from Jump Street. I was in serious trouble.

rsz_1state_2I couldn’t locate survivors fast enough to gain a stable of standbys, and there were three housemates in particular that were constantly getting stuck out in the wild. Resources dwindled, and I was incapable of getting more because my entire squad was up Shit Creek. I hadn’t even located the R.V. yet that we needed in order to get to the next town. To top it all off, my tension level was through the roof and I had begun to get sweaty palms from the palpable impending doom of my cadre of cast-asides.

rsz_state_3Finally, the writing was on the wall. Instead of subjecting each one to a slow, painful, meaningless, humiliating death I set the controller down and turned on the WWE app instead to take a break and collect myself.

But there is still hope, and I haven’t completely given up on those poor bastards.

Either way, it’s clear that State of Decay is still incredibly brutal and very taxing, and stands as a triumph in reinvigorating the zombie genre.