In a world full of zombie games, how does one more title survive?
Instead of battling hoards of fast moving, chaos causing zombies, State of Decay 2 takes a different and more personal approach to the apocalypse.
That’s not to say that hoards aren’t still there, because they absolutely are, but State of Decay isn’t about shooting wave after wave after wave of the undead. It’s about survival.
What would you really do if you and someone you loved went looking for a safe place and found only destruction? What if one of you got sick? Would you be able to save them and yourself?
The main goal in State of Decay 2 is rid the area of the Blood Plague and restore order to your surroundings. But the actual goal is to juggle the dramas outside with the dramas in your home base to try to find a homeostasis. (think of it like if The Sims became far more violent and had zombies).
It’s a game of strategy. Sometimes you have to make the hard decisions for the greater good – force a stranger for fend for themselves because there’s not enough room for them at your camp, hunt for supplies for another factor only to keep them for yourself and your team or even sacrifice a member of the camp so the rest of you can survive.
It can be a brutal world in State of Decay 2 and if my game is a good example, not everyone will make it out alive. Because in this game, once a character is dead they stay dead (ironically).
My favourite parts in State of Decay 2 took place at night. The darkness made for some truly tense times.
Here’s an example:
On one scouting mission for food, my partner and I were half way across the map in our car and fully stocked with supplies to bring back to the camp, when we, quite literally, ran into a juggernaut (a massive zombie that’ll do some major damage to your vehicle and you). A hoard followed and as I tried to drive away the car was destroyed.
We managed to survive the fight but now it’s complete darkness, we’re both carrying all the supplies we can, we’re miles away from camp and my melee weapon is broken … how do we make it back home?
Needless to say, having a plan is important.
Also, here’s a fun tip. Think ahead before ticking off factions close to your base or safe zones. I made the mistake of angering a tribe next to a safe house only to find on my next return that they readily attacked me and would shoot guns at my house. If that doesn’t attract zombies, I don’t know what will.
The most interesting part about State of Decay 2 is the four person co-op. Think along the lines of Left for Dead. You and your squad can run rampant throughout the world killing zombies, collecting supplies, or just driving around checking out the world. You can set your multiplayer function open to everyone or just your friends.
But say your squad isn’t online, or you’re a one woman fighting machine like me, and you find yourself in a precarious and possibly life-ending situation, and could use a hand. Send out a flare and your game will become open for a short time, allowing other gamers to jump to your aid. And if you believe in karma, you can make yourself a volunteer so you can jump to others’ side in their time of need – plus it’s a good way to get some of those sweet, sweet co-op achievements.
But the game isn’t perfect.
I encountered several frustrating technical glitches both roaming the open world and in missions.
Characters would vanish during escort missions only to randomly show up later. Several times I was told to talk with a character at home base to continue a story line but they were nowhere to be found, despite being marked on the map as at home.
As the game progressed and the zombies became more aggressive and in larger packs, often times one would appear out of thin air right in front of me as if phased in from the Enterprise. The constant regeneration every time I left the house meant that even though I had cleared an area of zombies, when I walked back out the door there were always more right away.
The weapon variety is alright but nothing special. I found myself largely using melee weapons and the rate of damage on some were, at times, annoyingly high.
I also found that the missions got a little repetitive, so much so at times that I stopped doing any of the side missions and just focused on the main mission. I get it, you guys all need supplies too but I have better things to do. But then, of course, that decision ended up with consequences. So it was a double edged sword.
I did experience some frame rate issues, especially while driving. They were bad enough to take me out of the game but it would be wrong not to mention it.
Despite that list of negatives, State of Decay 2 is my kind of zombie game. It requires thinking, planning and making tough decisions.
Plus running over zombies with an SUV is REALLY satisfying.
Final Score: 4/5