Title: State of Decay 2
Developer: Undead Labs
Available On: Windows PC and Xbox One (Xbox Play Anywhere Title)
Version Tested: Xbox One S
Official Site: https://www.stateofdecay.com/
Release Date: May 22, 2018
Where to Buy it: Microsoft Store
(Disclaimer: I never played the first State of Decay so I had no idea what to expect going into this game.)
Xbox needs a win. Since Gear of War 4’s release back in 2016, the brand has been lacking in quality exclusives. MDHR’s 2017 Xbox exclusive, Cuphead, was a success but it didn’t demand your attention for hours at a time. Sea of Thieves was supposed to be that kind of game but we all saw how that turned out. This put a lot of pressure on the newly released State of Decay 2. Is it the win that the Xbox brand desperately needs?
Short answer. Yes.
State of Decay 2 is what it is. Hold on, let me explain that better. This is a zombie survival game with detailed building mechanics. It doesn’t try to hook you in using a compelling story or flashy visuals. What matters here is gameplay and customization.
The gameplay began to grow tedious over the first 20-30 minutes of my play-session due to the limited move-set you start with during the tutorial levels. Luckily, your survivors have a progression system. As you level up your survivors, you will be asked to upgrade their attack moves and skills accordingly.
You can set up every survivor in your community to whatever kind of play-style you prefer. One the survivors in my community had his shooting attributes almost maxed out so I made sure that he always had a ton of ammo available in his inventory. On the flip side, a survivor who had a high cardio level was upgraded for a more stealth-like approach.
Lack of content is not a problem in this game. You can find outposts, claim outposts, gather supplies to upgrade them, build your community up in order to maintain what you’ve built, etc. Basically, if you’re a fan of games like The Sims, you would probably love State of Decay 2.
You can also find other survivors that you can recruit, aid, barter, or threaten in order to benefit your main objective (which is to survive). You can even exile members of your community if they begin to cause trouble or if you just don’t like them. Yeah, I definitely could have used that feature in Fallout 4.
Exploring is both intense and fun. Easy supply runs can quickly turn into a fierce fight with a horde of deadly zombies (or zeds). When a character dies, they stay dead. There is no game over screen.
It is highly recommended that you bring help when you go out to explore. Going out with companion AI team-members is not like most games. Your AI companions are actually helpful, especially in carrying supplies and combat with zeds. Speaking of features being helpful, the inclusion of remappable controls is a big win here.
By now you’re probably thinking that I loved everything about State of Decay 2. That is where you would be wrong. Visuals are fairly average but to be fair I played on my Xbox One S so I did not get the best possible experience (playing on PC or the Xbox One X changes this almost completely).
The voice acting for most, if not all, of your survivors, is just horrendous. No other way to put it. Like many others, I have also experienced some visual and audio bugs. None of these bugs are game-breaking and can always be fixed in the game’s next patch.
If you didn’t read the disclaimer above, I never played the original State of Decay but I knew it didn’t contain co-op. This was one of the main aspects of the sequel that I was most looking forward to playing. Although it could be better, co-op still delivers an enjoyable experience that doesn’t waste anyone’s time.
Only the host player can store rucksacks (big bags of materials for your outposts) and make upgrades to their bases while in co-op. The other three co-op members can’t progress in those aspects but they can still upgrade their survivors and influence (the in-game currency). You can also scavenge materials to go into your supply chest for later use when you decide to return to your own base.
This mode is fun and honestly, the game is meant to be played this way. The only issue I had with co-op is the tether between players is too short. I couldn’t scavenge very far from my friend who was back at his base (taking way too long to upgrade his infirmary) without being told that I must return closer to him or be teleported back there.
Now for the big question. Is it worth the $30 price? Yes. There is well more than enough content here to justify that price.
Here’s the thing though. You don’t have to pay $30 to play State of Decay 2. With an Xbox Game Pass subscription, you can play State of Decay 2 along with a ton of other Xbox titles. The price of Xbox Game Pass is $10 a month but if you have never tried it, you can start a month free trial anytime.
Verdict: State of Decay 2 is the win that Xbox thought they were getting with Sea of Thieves. Loads of content to play through, four player co-op, detailed upgrades to your community, remappable controls, and fun gameplay make State of Decay 2 a must have this Summer.
- Upgrading your survivors' skills and outposts
- Fun gameplay that can quickly turn chaotic
- Remappable controls
- Visual and audio bugs/glitches
- Horrendous voice acting