Zombie fans initiated with the virtual undead will be well aware of State of Decay, 2013’s exciting open-world survival game which introduced Xbox gamers to a different type of zombie killing adventure. Despite being riddled with bugs, it was one of the best survival experiences around, and now the sequel, State of Decay 2, is here; and while it’s immensely better than its predecessor, it’s still is infested in more ways than one.
Yes, we’re talking about those pesky bugs – the game still suffers from glitches and awkward moments, but thankfully, they’re easy to overlook, leaving you with an incredibly fun and often challenging survival experience unlike any other.
Like the first game, State of Decay 2 is all about how you want to play or, in this case, survive. And the game doesn’t hesitate to put you into the frying pan – you’re placed in one of three maps (which you can switch between after a bit of playtime), and tasked with finding a base, recruiting some followers, and trying to put an end to the Plague Hearts.
What are these Plague Hearts? Well, they’re pulsating hive-like structures which produce aggressive, more dangerous zombies who suffer from the Blood Plague (because being a ‘normal’ shambling, limbless corpse isn’t bad enough). Taking them out is a tough task, and requires you to emphasise your preparation and having a good base to fall back on.
And having a good base requires you to do a number of key things: building the base itself; doing supply runs; pursuing the odd story mission for a character; and recruiting more and more survivors. How you set up your community stronghold is pivotal to you and your fellow survivor’s chances in State of Decay 2. Picking the right location, choosing whether to install an infirmary (yields medicine) or a garden (produces food), for example, is crucial to how your community thrives. You can then use your base to attract other survivors, store weapons, and prepare yourself for taking on the Plague Hearts and missions at hand.
State of Decay 2 does a great job at delivering a feeling of constant stress, alleviated during small victories when you finally install that generator in your base or find some medicine you’ve been desperately looking for. This is essentially the closest thing to The Walking Dead as you’re going to get, until they make a solid Walking Dead game, that is.
Despite a slight bit of repetition when it comes to the moment-by-moment actions you’ll be doing in State of Decay 2, the game is a clever and tense zombie experience that other developers have failed to achieve with past games. If you love shooting shambling things in the face, while having some light management simulation tasks to catch your breath between exploding heads, State of Decay 2 is worth a look.
State of Decay 2 is available on Xbox One and PC.
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