I’d imagine having landed on a desert island after a plane crash isn’t a great experience, neither would it be too great if that island turned out to be full of zombies trying to kill you. Well unfortunately this is the situation four survivors find themselves in, welcome to How to Survive: Storm Warning Edition.
Once you have chosen between Jack, Kenji, Nina and Abby your survival adventure begins. Each person has different strengths, Kenji for example has a better precision meaning he is pretty useful with ranged weapons whereas Nina has a higher health gauge allowing her to fight longer, Abby has more stamina and Jack has more strength. I played with all four characters and felt comfortable with each one.
You’ll go through a couple of ‘tutorial’ missions showing you the basic controls before getting more into the story, you’ll learn things to with combat, health and crafting, basically everything you need to know to survive. Surviving isn’t simple, not only do you have keep zombies at bay but you also need to make sure you get sleep, eat and drink too, its not easy. Thankfully dotted around the island are survival guides written by Kovac, a master survivalist. His guides are quirky and certainly put a smile on my face, there is quite a nice touch during loading screen where you can answer questions on what you learned from the guides.
The game plays like a twin stick shooter and you’ll spend a lot of time completing quests for the inhabitants of the island, you’ll spend a lot of time scavenging for items for them. Other items you collect will be useful for you to craft together to create things such as a bow and arrow. While try to survive you’ll have to hunt for food, one way of doing this is to go fishing, but then you’ll need to find fire to cook the fish, keeping hydrated means looking for wells, but they never last long. Its also pretty hard to come by somewhere to sleep as the secure shacks are few and far between. It’s add an interesting layer to the game so you’ll need to be aware of how you are doing.
The first island is fairly nice to you, supplies aren’t too difficult to go by and the enemies are fairly scattered, and so not too difficult to defeat, but as you discover the the other islands you realise how easy you had it. The enemy not only increase in numbers, but difficulty and type. As well as your standard Zombie there are Boomers, much like the exploding Zombie from the Left 4 Dead games, as well as taller zombie who have a longer reach and are stronger. As night approaches the undead zombies get right at you too. I was impressed with the amount of Zombies on screen at any one time although it gets quite frustrating at times.
The game can be played co-op online or locally with another player, although there aren’t masses of people playing I managed to find someone to take part in the challenger levels, there were a variety of challenges to complete and it it worked well and most importantly lag free.
I didn’t realise at first that How To Survive was actually on the Xbox 360 first but was pleased to see that the Xbox One version came with all the DLC. This brought some new game modes which I was really impressive with. The first mode complimented the main story and was called “One Shot Escape” and as it sounds only gave you one life to escape with, better players than me would have no problem playing this way because frankly I died pretty quickly. The other mode requires you to build defences to protect two survivors, you built your defence in the same way as crafting weapons, I enjoyed this mode much more
There are more than enough zombies games around for people to play but I think this does a good job of holding its own. The graphics are pretty neat, the audio was good and the achievements were a nice challenge. If you are looking for a cheap co-op to play with a friend then this is a game well worth checking out. If you owned this on the 360 it may still be worth picking up if you don’t own the DLC.
MLG Rating: 7/10 Format: Xbox One / PlayStation 4 / PC Release Date: 29/10/2014
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a copy of How To Survive: Storm Warning Edition by the publisher for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course of 2 weeks on a Xbox One. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.