It’s been a few weeks since State of Decay 2 released on Xbox One and even I am shocked to see that I am still having as much fun as day one. Prior to my impulse buy, I knew very little about the franchise. Sure I played about 10 minutes of the original but, how fair is it to form an opinion in just 10 minutes? Xbox doesn’t have a boatload of exclusive titles and my Xbox One X was begging for a new title. Here we are weeks later and I am hooked. Funny how I can love a game and everyone else is going on about how much they hate it. Is the hate warranted though?
State of Decay 2 is an open world survival game where a lot of the decision making is left to the player. The purpose of the game is to kill the blood plague which are these nasty hearts that the zombies sort of worship. Clear the blood plague and you win the game. This is a sandbox game at it’s best. You have the choice of a few sets of characters. Each character has their own back stories with traits that will affect the game going forward. In my game I decided to choose a man who was great at fighting and a women who was great at gardening (don’t judge me). We started in The Foothills which seemed nicest to me at the time. We found our way to a nice home which provided nice blockage from unwanted flesh eaters. It wasn’t long before I realized just how real the game would become. Not only did I need to find food for my home, we needed medication and gas to get around. Why did I spend the first three days on foot I have no idea.
Scavenging for material feels very rewarding in State of Decay 2. There are countless places to search throughout the three maps. Every setting is different which adds a unique feel to everything. Zombies are sort of few and far between in a way where you aren’t running into them every second. You rarely see more than 6-7 at a time. Unless you are killing an infestations which puts your up against 10 or so at a time. Clearing zombies and scavenging for materials will provide you with weapons, enhancements and rucksacks. Rucksacks are the food, meds, and gas that you carry back to your camp to keep everyone happy. They diminish very quickly early on in the same. You will definitely feel the grind early on.
As you progress through the game, you will begin to build a stronger camp. As you meet new survivors, you will want to grow their skills to build a better camp as well. Each camp has a specific amount of upgrade spaces. The better your characters are, the better your bases will become. I’ve moved into a building that automatically provides power, and holds massive amounts of fuel. I am now working on creating a pharmacy to create med kits. It’s amazing to see characters stats grow just by playing the game rather than having to focus on one aspect of the game itself. It really feel organic.
There are 5 types of zombies in State of Decay 2. Each of them are dangerous in their own right.
- The basic zombies is what you will see the most of. They aren’t overly dangerous but, get bitten by enough of them and you will contract the plague. You will have three hours in real time to find a cure, if you don’t you character is gone forever.
- Bloaters are the typical fat zombie that explodes leaving a huge cloud of green acidic dust. Avoid them at all costs as they really drain your health. It’s even worse if your in a car because, your car will continue to hold the mist.
- Screamers are zombies that can’t attack you but, they can attract nearby zombies. You want to kill them before they scream
- Ferals are very strong zombies that are also very fast. They have the ability to pull you out of your car and rip you to shreds. Try to keep your distance unless you have a friend around.
- The Juggernauts are the beast of all zombies. They are huge and pack a big punch. You can’t drive through them but, they can run through you. Make sure you are with your group when you try to take them down.
In State of Decay 2, things are paid for with something called influence. There is no cash handling around these parts. You gain influence by killing zombies, help survivors, trading and completing personal mission. A typically gameplay mission will gain you around 25-50 influence. You should use it to buy outposts that provide things that you need like food and meds early on. Once you gain enough, you can purchase a new place to call home which can cost upward of 1,000+. There are also really good options for trading with other survivors. I recommend trading with everyone you can. Other survivors have really helped my crew from starving early on.
WHY THE HATE?
As I mentioned early on, there are a lot of folks out there who don’t like this game. At launch the game was bugged out. Icons would just vanish. Characters were getting clipped in doorways. The framerate would jump all over the place. There are things that you really can’t have happening during online gameplay. I played one mission online and I almost died which brings me to everyone’s largest gripe…permadeath. When you lose a character in State of Decay 2, they are gone forever! They don’t come back and that rubs a lot of people the wrong way. I look at it as a chance to take my game play seriously. This is the closest experience that we will ever get to The Walking Dead. We literally have to make friends with strangers, co-exist, and battle the walking dead. One mistake and it could cost you everything. That is real to me.
Would I have taken a chance at this game 10 years ago? Probably not. Xbox has changed a lot since the launch of the Xbox One and this is one game that many were looking forward to. I took a chance on it and I think it’s paid off nicely. I enjoy the feel of being in complete control of my community. That is something I can’t say about 98% of video games on the market. State of Decay 2 allows you to play the game your way. It may not be the most polished title but, the foundation is outstanding. I would recommend this game to any Xbox fan who is looking for something different from the other zombie titles out there. You won’t get this experience with Resident Evil, Dying Light or Dead Rising. State of Decay 2 is awesome!