State of Decay 2 Review

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The follow-up to 2013’s State of Decay is finally here. Is this sequel one that’s worth picking up? Find out in our State of Decay 2 Review!

Release Date May 22, 2018
Genre Survival
Platforms XBO/PC
Developer Undead Labs
Price $29.99 US
ESRB Rating Mature
Players 1-4 Players

 

*A copy of this game was provided to FYIG by Xbox for review purposes*

There have been plenty of zombie games in the last 10 or 15 years and I have to say that I haven’t been a fan of most of them. They all seem the same. The last zombie game I truly played a lot of was the original Left 4 Dead. With that being said, I wasn’t sure what to expect out of State of Decay 2. I’ve never played the first game in the series so there wasn’t much of a precedent in my mind. As I started playing, I realized that this is one zombie game that is far different than most of the other ones on the market. You’re not just playing, you’re surviving.

The gaming landscape is full of games that include this really in-depth tutorials that prevent you from playing the actual game until you’re an hour or more in. State of Decay doesn’t do anything like that. You choose your set of starting characters all of whom have different strengths and weaknesses and vastly different backstories. Once you choose those couple characters, you try to make your way through an abandoned army camp as zombies try to kill/infect you. If you die, it’s a permanent death so you really have to trace your steps carefully as one false move could be disastrous to your campaign.

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Sneaking up on zombies to take them out is one of the most effective methods of keeping yourself undetected.

State of Decay 2 at its core is a zombie survival game, but what lies underneath that is a full-blown RPG that plays unlike many other games in this genre. You don’t just play as a single character, you can play as many different characters depending on who you add to your squad over the course of your campaign. If your main character gets fatigued, you can swap to a new one and start forging on. Each character has their own strengths and weaknesses as I mentioned before so swapping is kind of necessary depending on the situation you’re in. One character may be really good at crafting while another may be great at fighting. You can even find more players to join your campaign by managing relationships with other humans you encounter in the world. Trade good items and help your fellow humans and you’ll have some new allies, make them angry and your journey for survival will be even more difficult.

Surviving is easier said than done. The zombies are equally as fast as you when they’re alerted. Luckily, you do have the ability to sneak around and attack them from behind for a quick kill, but there are times when even that isn’t possible. You can only run away for so long due to your stamina meter, so sometimes your only resort is to fight off the zombies with any weapon you can find be it a firearm or a melee weapon. Vehicles also double as weapons themselves with some having plows on the front and the ability to swat zombies by opening your door which is completely satisfying. The variety of weaponry is necessary because everything degrades over time. Weapons break after they’re used for a certain period of time and cars can run out of gas. This makes the entire experience a frantic race to continue to find more resources to help your squad. Just don’t make too much noise while scouring or you’ll alert the zombies!

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An example of the upgrade slots of my home base.

Blood Plague Hearts are a new gameplay addition in State of Decay 2. These big, ugly hearts are found at different locations scattered throughout the game world and require your best effort to defeat. As soon as you start to attack these hearts, waves of zombies begin to come after you and you have to fight them all off while trying to destroy the heart before the next wave comes. It’s frantic fun! Of course, there is a possibility that you also end up contracting the Blood Plague. You don’t have to worry too much if you do happen to contract it, however, it’s advisable to manage it and cure it as fast as possible. If you get slashed by infected zombies too many times, you die and turn into a zombie potentially taking out other members of your crew.

At the heart of the game is Influence which serves as the in-game currency. Nearly every positive thing you do for your squad rewards you with Influence that allows you to do different things like creating defenses, infirmaries, and other upgrades to your home base. The main point of the game is rebuilding civilization from the ground up so you’ll need to build everything that a normal community would require. This means building things like a power generator, a rain catcher, beds for people to sleep in, kitchens and gardens for food, etc. There’s a lot of depth here and there’s a lot to keep track of at one time, but it never feels overwhelming but there was still a sense of urgency.

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Saving Anton from the Blood Plague!

The dead of night is never a place that you want to be in State of Decay 2. It’s one of the most terrifying night cycles in video games in my honest opinion. Zombies have red eyes at night, they seem a bit more aggressive, they seem to always be in numbers, AND you can’t see two feet in front of you without a flashlight. Even when you have a flashlight, it’s really hard to see much in the dark. This isn’t the normal blueish night sky that you see in many games, it’s pitch black. Couple that with the bigger game world in this sequel and you start to have a truly perilous feeling when the Sun starts to set.

I didn’t spend much time playing cooperatively with other people, but the ability is there with up to 3 other players. You aren’t able to freely roam the world due to performance issues, but you are given a generous tether to the host that most people will barely notice. When you join someone else’s game, you are playing their game. You are essentially a survivor in their base. You don’t gain any progression for your game for joining someone else’s game, but you do gain Influence Points and you get to keep the loot you find which is almost better in my opinion. Permadeath is still a thing in co-op so if you kill your character there, they’re gone. You’ll have to pick another one from your community in the event that happens. I could tell a lot of thought was put into this to make the co-op features as good for the host as it is for the people helping the host out and I think Undead Labs did a great job there.

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The pitch-black darkness of the night.
Pros Cons
Fun gameplay Can be repetitive
Budget priced A few small glitches here and there
   

 

State of Decay 2 Daybreak Pack Review

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Graphics
7.5
Audio
8
Gameplay
9
Story
7
Value
8
Technical Performance
6
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I started FYIG in 2012 as a place for people to write about whatever interests them. My wife, Danielle Crandell, has joined me in making this site the best it can possibly be. You'll usually find me writing about hockey, gaming, or the latest in technology.