Finally. In a genre than I am a genuinely sick of, one game has surprisingly caught my attention and kept me hooked: State of Decay 2. Undead Labs’ sequel raises the stakes in basically every facet and builds upon an already great game. But not everything is sunny in the zombie apocalypse.
CONS FIRST? CONS FIRST
If you’re looking for a game to showcase the power of the Xbox One X — or the Xbox One S, for that matter — look elsewhere. State of Decay 2‘s not a particularly ugly game, but considering the push its been getting and that it’s on a console in dire need of exclusives, it wouldn’t hurt to have looked a bit better. One thing I did really like graphically? The lighting engine. The rest is just fine. Better than the first? Yes, of course… But it sure as hell had to be. The first SoD was a 360 title.
The other con: the glitches. I’ve read online how many are regarding it as a glitchfest, basically. I’ve encountered two, one where my character starts running waist-deep in the pavement and the other where they act as if I’m getting hit when close to the car. Thankfully it doesn’t cause any damage, but it looks ridiculous. I don’t hate it.
If you love The Walking Dead, pause (don’t stop) reading and buy the game (for $30 bones, mind you). If you hate TWD (don’t blame you; it peaked a long time ago), but are into zombies, get it. If you’re like me and are sick of the Zombie craze, TWD, Fear TWD, World War Z, 28 Days Later, Dying Light, Dawn of the Dead, yadda yadda yadda.. but loved the first game, go for it.
SoD2‘s story doesn’t feel anywhere near as strong as the first State of Decay. But what I do prefer is the moments that it crafts while you make your own moments. There’s the base building, resource management, etc. But where the game really shines is with the high tension moments.
Morale is already low, food and meds are low. You just got home and the citizen that was with you just got bit with the blood plague. Do you go out and look for more meds to save try and save her? Or do you euthanize her? Perhaps your gut reaction is to euthanize, but a.) She has the computer skill, which is vital to upgrading the command center to level 3 and b.) Euthanizing her will drag morale even lower, which can make followers fight and/or just leave.
A nearby woman sounds panicked over the radio, saying she’s trapped and surrounded. You race over to help her with your best shooter. Turns out it was an ambush and it doesn’t help that the gunshots attracted two hordes. Your best shooter is dead, you barely made it out alive and you’re out of commission for 4 days.
Few things are as nerve wracking as going into a building with something you really need and seeing a bunch or red eyes of red plague zombies light up in the dark. Neighboring faction sends a thief to help themselves to YOUR SHIT!!.. Do you go over, put a gun to their face and tell them “give it back and leave” or “we can’t let you get away with that”? What type of tone and legacy do you want to set?
There are different types of legacies you can aim for. There’s Trader, Sheriff, and Warlord (that I know of). Once you establish your legacy in your territory, or territories, players can start a New Game+ of sorts where they can bring along up to three of your favorite community members that’ll have their own particular advantages.
That’s just a brief example of the things that can happen. You can obviously also have alliances, etc.; but things often get chaotic, even when you have the best intentions.
In the end State of Decay 2 is rough around the edges, and I personally love it. This Xbox exclusive is a high recommend, if you don’t mind a slow burn of high tension moments created in your own story, and don’t mind an odd glitch here and there — especially for a measly $30. (Note: If this was a $60 game, 3.5 Bibles; but for THIRTY? It’s a 4. Hence…) 3.75/5 Plague Hearts.
P.S. Do not try to run over Bloaters in your car. For some reason, their poison gas just follows you in your car. It’s stupid. It’s not like you can hotbox your car when you drive by people smoking car. Oh, and unless you’re driving something big, your Miata lookalike isn’t going to do anything to a Juggerbaugh.