State of Decay: Breakdown

state of decay box art
A- Overall Score
Graphics: 8/10
Gameplay: 8/10
Choice: 8/10

Adds a feature to State of Decay that fans wanted to see

Our original review of State of Decay was an emphatic story of survival and exploration. It broke down a story of waking up in the midst of a zombie apocalypse where your only choice to survive was to find others, gather enough supplies, and collect appropriate weapons to defend yourself.

There were only two things missing from the original game to make it a perfect experience (I’m overlooking some of the minor bugs throughout the game because, quite frankly, they never affected me).

1) Multiplayer / Coop – this would have added an element of longevity to survive the apocalypse with a friend. There are other zombie survival games out there, but none sucked me in like State of Decay and I would have loved to play with a buddy.

2) Sandbox Mode – It was challenging for fans of longevity to play the original State of Decay in a “sandbox” mode because the game was designed to push you towards the end, and delaying that had a tendency to expedite failure and death.

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The latest DLC from Undead Labs is designed with one purpose in mind: Cater to the players of State of Decay that loved the survival aspect and didn’t care for the story. It essentially modifies the game, rather than add significant new features or characteristics. it’s not game-changing, it’s game-modifying at the request of a significant portion of vocal fans.

The game starts you off with a randomized antagonist that is dropped in the middle of a zombie war zone and requires you to find shelter (ie: other survivors). As you progress there will be “heroes” from the original title that will unlock, but since most players spend their time switching between survivors this was just a neat perk and nothing else for me.

Similar to the original title you’ll need to find other survivors, gather the materials to build up your home base, assist others (if you so choose), and essentially wait for the radio to chime in that an “escape” vehicle (ie: RV) has been found. You’ll make preparations to repair the vehicle and progress to the next “stage” of the game with increasingly difficult and challenging opponents. The zombies … become super hum….zombies.

Survival is key and with increasingly challenging enemies and scarcer supplies to keep your community alive you’ll have to be quick, decisive, and occasionally sacrifice survivors for the good of the community. Sometimes it can be frustrating, particularly if you’re accustomed to driving around in the big trucks and just plowing through zombies like Chuck Norris in the midst of a drunken rage. But if you’re looking for more depth and challenge you’ll find Breakdown to be right up your alley. Just don’t get too attached, because you can only take a handful of survivors each time you transition on the RV. (By transition I mean, driving in a dimensional time-warp into the same map with replenished but limited resources, and a new cast of survivors).

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So what do I think?

I loved State of Decay. There, my bias is out there. I enjoyed running around and collecting materials in a mock-sandbox mode with the campaign mode to see how long I could last. The answer was a long time. In the end it eventually had to end either due to lack of resources or because the story was so nagging that I couldn’t stand receiving another radio call telling me to get from point A to point B or else someone was going to die.

Breakdown caters to that side of me, the fan of just enjoying a sandbox survival game with no linear restrictions outside of the move to grab the RV, repair it, move away and recycle.

It provides that added challenge of having to survive with increasingly difficult opponents and fewer resources. Sometimes it was frustrating, but most of the time it was rewarding.

If you want to prolong the sandbox experience then there’s no question whether you should grab this DLC. If you’re looking for something game-changing, a new story or a crazy new experience with features that will blow your mind then this is not the right place for you. This DLC is very specific for a niche group of State of Decay players.

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For gamers just starting out with State of Decay I highly recommend going through the story first, save breakdown for a second (third, fourth, fifth) playthrough if you enjoy the mechanics and just want to kill zombies aimlessly. Some of the characters you come across might not make sense otherwise, and you’ll be missing out on an entertaining narrative blend.

Breakdown left me satisfied, it’s not the game-changing experience of a full blown expansion, but it modifies the part of the game that fans asked for. The most rewarding part of that experience is that Undead Labs listened to their fans and are making every attempt to cater to those requests to the best of their abilities. While it’s not perfect, this $7 DLC basically opens up the sandbox mode (similar to not finishing the final mission in the story mode) and adds a handful of features. Take it or leave it for what it’s worth knowing what you’ll get.

That being said, I want my co-op.

That would make this game (almost) perfect.

You can watch the Breakdown trailer below:

 

You can learn more from the official page here.

This game was reviewed using a downloadable code for the PC version of State of Decay: Breakdown provided by Undead Labs

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Griffyth
Author: Griffyth View all posts by
Griffyth is the online alias for Alberto Ibarra, editor and doctoral student in Clinical Psychology whose research aims to tie together cultural challenges in the video game / gaming community. You can learn more about him at www.griffyth.com or follow him on twitter at @griffyth_psy.

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