Are we talking "Life Like", or are we talking Life Like(now owned by Walthers) Proto 1000 and Proto 2000? Completely different animals here.
I'm going to assume that we are talking the basic Life Like entry level sets and such.
First off, many companies make these sets, Bachman, Tyco, Life Like. They are meant to be used as an "introductory" set for ages 10 and up to adult. I would hate to spend big bucks on something to find out that it just wasn't for me. This is not a bad thing at all.
The bad, if you wish to use the term, is that the detail is weak and the use of Talgo trucks(couplers attached to the trucks). Again not a bad thing but such does have its drawbacks. Weak detail and painting makes the cars and engines look like toys at times. And the Talgo trucks, while minimizing derailments, has its limits when negotiating tight radius turns or traveling in directions other than forward. It is near impossible to back a car down a set of switches to be spotted at the local industry when it is equipped with Talgo trucks.
But, for the intent and purpose of these lower priced sets and cars, it is good to know that if the hobby is not for you, you haven't invested your retirement fund. And there are those that collect these sets.
I started out with Athearn Blue Box. And I have pretty much stayed with them until the "wizards" at Athearn ceased manufacturing them. I do have other kits like Roundhouse, Varney, Globe, Accurail..... the list can go on and on. I guess I was lucky to start in this hobby when I did.