Dead state is a convoluted little game.
Overall, it is obviously competentenly made, but it is also obvious that over the course of development mistakes were made and nobody quite bothered rectifying them.
The problem with this is that all the glaring little errors that managed to escape scrutiny appear late in game, precisely by the time it has you by the balls, you are having the time of your life, and naturally you are expecting the situation to escalate, but it doesn't. Instead, it just folds up like a house of cards.
All of this looks like a result of a terrible lack of oversight, and in too many areas.
Well, since I'm no professional gaming journalist, let's just make an obtuse little list.
So here we go, in no particurlar order:
Balancing issues - there are precisely three tiers of armor in the whole game. One is, to put it mildly, shit and has all the usefulness of a wet tissue paper. The other excludes zombies from the list of viable threats completely. Finally, the third one is a ballistic vest and and any other armor with a better defence rating. You put those kevlar sunday suits on, you never have to worry about anything ever again, nothing can seriously harm you anymore, which instantly turns the game into a glorified mall looting simulator. Everything else can be worked with, but if you're making a combat-heavy game and then take any thrill out of it, you aren't exactly gunning for a favorable impression. And you can get the ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ vests fairly early in-game, too. I've got my first three around day 18 or so, and that's not that far into the game at all, and I didn't stumble upon them either - an NPC directed me there.
Speaking of the loot, Dead State is a damn good looting simulator. There are all sorts of neat little locations you can shamelessly rob, tons of people you can liberate from their stuff, and in general it is very satisfying to haul bags of freshly stolen military rations back to your hideout. Or at least it would be, if you didn't have to wrestle with the inventory every time you have to do that. If you are trying to haul a serious load, you will have to click a gajillion times though at least three menus. And you will end up having to do just that, because, as you progress through the game, your character roster will expand and expand and expand, even if you suffer losses, there will be ample replacements, and all those buggers will want to eat, if nothing else.
Hovever, the interface problems don't really end there. For example, you can't really view character stats and inventory on the same screen, so often you have to backtrack between two different tabs to see what exacly you should be arming mr. New Guy with so he wouldn't blow his ♥♥♥ up or. All of this would be acceptable if you were dealing with a game lke W2, where new party members are few and far between, but nope, no dice, there is a huge roster of potentially available characters and you will have to rotate them from time to time.
There are also a lot of smaller questionable design decisions, and them being lacking is often apparent in the late game - for example, the way zombies cannot pose any threat to you no matter the numbers. You are never risking getting bum-rushed, mobbed, dragged to ground and eaten, when facing a big group - not any more than during a one-one fight, which kinda goes against the conventions of zombie genre, because them shamblers are supposed to have strength in numbers. But no, as far as the game is concerned, there is very little practical difference between a fighting a mob of zeds and fighting them mano a mano.
Speaking of which, balance issue notwithstanding, the combat system leaves a lot to be desired. It would be acceptable in a 20-hours game, but, once again, the deeper you get, the more obvious its lack of depth is and it's not going to get any better, because the few options it can offer are laid out in front of you from the beginning.
Finally, the plot. Without getting too much into details, I was pretty disappointed to learn about the ending. While execution was par the course, there was much more promise to it. See, there were all sorts of little breacrumbs with omnious hints here and there, but it turned out they've had zero relation to the plot itself. In addition, it appears that some content was straight out cut, and the threads were just left there hanging.
There's also an issue with the bugs ranging from mildly annoying to game-breaking, but discussing those is pointless. Indie studios like Double Bear can hardly afford quality QA, and whatever the reason for game being the way it is right now, the bugs can at least be fixed. Bad design is forever.
In general, Dead state is a game you can nitpick for a long time, but - credit where it's due - only because Dead State is a big game with a lot of effort put into it. There is a lot enviromental storytelling going on, the sound meter makes you think and use the situation to your advantage, since both living and the dead can react to you making a ruckus, there is a lot of characters with unique interactions, quest lines and personality qurks, the management aspect is interesting and adds another, much needed layer of complexity.
Problem is, though, for each and every one of these points there is counterpoint. The areas get duller and duller the further you venture from your starting point, the noise gimmick becomes meaningless because there is little combat difficulty to speak of, so you can just shrug and go in guns blazing, the character interaction is shallow and only manages to grab your interest by juggling characters around and never focusing on any of them - and that's actually a good thing, as this is a cardboad cutout fest worthy of the worst Bioware games, management aspect looks interesting but never delivers, because you won't ever find yourself starved for resources or even operating at a loss, and so on and so forth.
I guess it is worth its money, since I've got my 60 hours of entertainment out of it, but it's not worth the disappointment you will inevitably experience.
And that does the game in.