State Of Decay
State of Decay has been around for a while now. The game received two expansion packs and after the second expansion, Lifeline, Undead Labs decided to make the transition to newer territory. State of Decay Year One is basically a “GOTY” edition for the Xbox One. I played a bit of the original State of Decay on the PC but I could not really get into it, but I was happy to give the new version a try along with the expansions on the Xbox One. I have to say, I was surprised.
There are really two stories to be told. Core State of Decay follows a couple of survivors trying to find a new community to live out the zombie apocalypse.
State of Decay Breakdown doesn’t really have a story and it lets the player experience the sandbox nature of SoD without the restricting nature of missions. It is very free-form compared to the other two games. Lifeline is all about a group of military rescuers, gameplay in Lifeline is different since the base you start out in has a large stock of weapons and ammo.
The story of SoD and Expansions aren’t really there to keep you playing. This game’s enjoyment comes from the gameplay and setting. There’s an interesting mix of game genres with State of Decay. You have base management, survival, RPG character progression, and fast paced action oriented combat. I enjoy upgrading and managing my base more than I thought I would. It is nothing spectacular, but I appreciate the effort in adding something that is pretty absent from zombie survival games. You can’t really directly control anything, but the supplies you bring back will be used to upgrade buildings and keep your other survivors happy.
You can play as multiple characters and the game basically forces you to switch it up with a “fatigue” mechanic. When you have been playing as a singular character for too long, they become fatigued. This affliction hinders the character’s maximum stamina, which is important. Zombieland taught us that cardio is very important. Every character has their own stats, each of which can be leveled and upgraded to learn new skills. Some characters are better at running than fighting etc. It is best to take a character that will benefit the mission you go on.
Your stats level up the more you use them, so the longer time you spend sprinting, the more your cardio is raised. The same goes for fighting and shooting etc. Go figure, the more you do something, the better you get at it. Combat itself is fast paced and it can get out of hand quickly, which is something I like. I appreciate the varied but not overly designed zombies in State of Decay. You come across some extra special zombies but they aren’t everywhere. They show up when you never want them to, and that’s proper game design.
The settings are pretty nice too, Lifeline’s setting works for the gameplay, it is basically George Romero’s Day of the Dead while the core game is more Diary of the Dead.
The problem with State of Decay is that this game has a great hook to get you started playing. But it doesn’t give you enough flair to keep playing. After a while, you grow bored because the game is no longer unpredictable like when you first started playing. Which is unfortunate because there is a lot to do in this version of the game.
Visually speaking, the game looks pretty good on the console, and it controls well too. But the gameplay grows too stale too quickly. If you love zombie survival games, I would pick this game up. But if you are a cusal player, will probably be best if you pass on it.
3 out of 5 Nerds