Weather that Storm
Fulfil your basic needs of food, shelter, water and avoid natural and unnatural dangers - sounds pretty good to me!
How to Survive on the Xbox One is a curious game for a fellow like me, curious as to the changes between the previous version and the new one I downloaded the old 360 one to take a peek at it. So I can see where things have changed and for the better I might add, at least in my opinion that is. I was quite happy then when 505 Games sent me a code for the Xbox One Storm Warning Edition.
I like it, that's the bottom line. You may or may not like it, but if you want a fun and slightly different take on the zombie survival genre you could not go far wrong with How to Survive: Storm Warning Edition. It packs the original game, remastered of course with better visuals alongside the DLC that was released for the previous edition all in one nice download.
It's a third person survival horror game with the emphasis on survival, where you can scavenge for materials and items to help you keep yourself alive during the day (and the night) whilst you run around in relative safety. When night falls darker things come out of the deep shadows, things that are not so easy to kill and require that ever-precious light to keep at bay. Light provided by either a torch (as long as you have battery power) or a burning wooden stick which can be put out during inclement weather.
The archipelago of islands wants to kill you, from zombies, bigger zombies, zombie deer and those things that come out at night, it just wants you dead. You'll die from wounds, you'll die from dehydration, perhaps you might even end up on the wrong end of a lightning bolt during a thunder storm or starve ala Don't Starve. You'll learn a bit more about your surroundings as you do so, and you'll collect the things you need to craft armour, weapons and other tools to keep alive that bit longer.
The isometric third person view helps you keep track of the action on screen, aiming with the right stick is better in Storm Warning than in the previous gen version and it feels like the controls and the design has been smoothed out a bit more. Crafting is pretty easy, inventory management doesn't feel clunky and I never really felt out of my depth thanks to the control system. As you explore you'll pick up more weapons, craft more items and gain access to skill points which you can spend in a variety of skills to help improve your chosen character.
Talking of characters, there are the original cast: Abby, Jack and Kenji. They don't really feel all that different, not compared to the new girl in town. Nina, who is a military veteran with a serious dose of melee know-how. She kicks ass, and is probably my favourite out of the roster.
Then there's a new island, which provides its own challenges and dangers... as well as some new game modes to round out the package. 7 islands in total with their own flora/fauna... not bad!
One Shot Escape: This is a very Dead Space mode, it gives you one life to get off the island and escape - dying will force you to start all over again. This is sure to appeal to anyone who has a desire to play games at ridiculously hard difficulty levels and is a great addition to add to the tension of the game, which is pretty desperate and tense at times regardless.
Barricade: Dig in, protect Henry and the doctor treating him. Barricade is a horde-style tower-defence mode where you need to pay careful attention to your supplies and resources. Day/Night goes by pretty quickly and you can place rudimentary traps/turrets... however... finding supplies isn't easy and you need to be very careful when you scavenge. Getting caught outside at night is probably a recipe for complete and utter disaster.
There are a few issues here and there with animations, perhaps they're not as fluid as they could be but you're not really going to notice if you don't get caught up by things like that. The game's fun on your own, and with a friend either locally or over Xbox Live and that's what counts really for a title like this.
It does manage to convey a genuine sense of desperate struggle, getting caught out by the elements, dehydration and worse erodes your sense of safety and scavenging as the day turns to night feels tense and rewarding when you manage to get what you're after.
Play it smart, and you might just learn How to Survive. Failing that, you could always find the Kovac's manuals and read them. The VA's delivery reminds me of Marcus from Borderlands and that's a pretty good thing.
With all the DLC, the modes, the difficulty modes and coop play this is a nice downloadable game that's worth a look if you're a fan of the zombie survival genre and you feel like something a bit different.