Although rife with technical shortcomings, State of Decay was still one of the more enjoyable downloadable titles I played last year. Its focus on combat, exploration and resource management (not to mention the possibility of perma-death) made it an intense experience. Once you got a camp up and running, though, the game wasn’t all that challenging. Plus, after the storyline wound to a close, however, there was essentially nothing left to do.
That’s where the new DLC, Breakdown, steps in, allowing you to participate in a perpetual struggle for survival. Priced at $6.99, Breakdown is a very unique add-on in that it actually omits much more than it adds. You’re still stuck in Trumbull Valley, you’re still fighting the same zombie types, and you’re still subjected to the same glitches (zombies walking through walls, empty storage containers that register as full, etc.). In fact, the biggest difference is that the story elements have been completely removed.
Here you’ll be dropped into Trumbull Valley and tasked with hooking up with a group of survivors and fortifying their shelter. The hook is that somewhere within Trumbull Valley is a broken-down RV that must be repaired to advance in Breakdown. Upon doing so you’ll be allowed to load up a handful of survivors and relocate. As noted, though, there are no new locations so you’re just brought back to another spot in the same valley.
What does change, however, is the amount of available resources as well as the lethalness of the undead hordes. Each time you successfully repair and depart with the RV you reach the next level, each more seemingly hopeless than the last. It’s (literally) a vicious cycle that will eventually end in your demise. The game does allow you to pick up from the level you left off at, though, which is smart since the experience is already inherently repetitive.
To further combat that feeling of déjà vu (and also empower your group) you’re given a checklist of tasks to accomplish, each of which unlocks a new survivor known as a “hero.” The tasks laid out before you range from fairly simply to almost mind numbingly lengthy; though given the format it makes sense to space out the rewards. Play long enough and you’ll find yourself moving ahead with a full cast of heroes. Even that doesn’t assuage the punishing difficulty as you climb levels, which the more dedicated will certainly appreciate.
In one sense, Breakdown is something that really should’ve shipped with State of Decay; after all, this is essentially a restricted re-imagining of the main game. It didn’t, however, and so you’ll need to pony up the $6.99 to wade through the undead once again — only this time they grow stronger as your precious resources dry up. If you liked the main game and are interested in spending more time in Trumbull Valley, Breakdown is an easy recommendation.