Review: State of Decay – Zombie Survival 101
Open World Zombie Survival Simulation / XBL Arcade
Yup, it’s another zombie game. Of course we never get sick of those, right? If you’ve ever wanted to experience what it’s like to be in the midst of a zombie apocalypse, Undead Labs State of Decay injects you right into the middle of it. Myself being a huge zombie fan could not say no to another zombie game. But is it just another generic zombie shoot em up? Not even close! This game differs from every other Zom-game such as Left 4 Dead, Dead Island and even Dead Rising by putting you into an open world, as the survivor. This game is your story affected by your decisions while literally struggling to survive day by day. Supplies are few, survivors need help and infestations can sometimes get wild. Let’s see how this game ranks up to us in the game world.
State of Decay is that Open World Zombie Survival game that you have been waiting for!
The freedom of exploring, looting and so inappropriate zombie bashing is right in your hands. State of Decay is based highly on personal player action while you set out to maintain defenses, keep your community under control and build good morale to your name. This game combines the best of both worlds between the satisfaction of zombie (Aka, Zeds) survival and a never-ending slew of dilemmas both at home base and in the outside world. Whether your group is complaining about not having enough supplies, bickering with each other or morning a fallen ally, it’s relevant that you need to consider the needs of your community, unless you want them to turn on you. Some may get sick, some may start to rebel, and some may just end up going Cray-Cray. Whatever the case is, it’s up to you to make the bold decisions and bring home the bacon—er, supplies. This game relies heavily on two major factors: Main Missions and Community Satisfaction. Scavenging takes a huge role in this game while somebody’s got to get the supplies, and hopefully make it back home.
Scavenging – You’re able to roam the world and use lookout towers to scope out homes, businesses and supply stores to mark on your map to check out for loot. Creep on out to nearby homes and take EVERYTHING! All movement while roaming around will attract attention to yourself. Driving is noisy and nearby zombies will flock to you. Running through grass creates shuffling that alerts zombies. Even searching through a closet in a locked home can alert the horde. Use your gun wisely as the blast can bring a zombie party your way and they will come uninvited. You have the option to search quietly (and slower) or risk making a lot of noise to speed up the process. Realistically, backpacks fill up and you’ll need to either call for other scavengers to help bring home the load, or run it back to base or a safe outpost yourself.
Home Base – This is your own, almost safe haven. Home base is where you stock up on supplies, make upgrades and switch out with others in your group when you need a break. As you play through the game more and more survivors will join your group if approved. Eventually home will end up in need of a larger space. This is where you can explore for larger housing options. Each new location has it’s pros and cons. You could live out on a desolated farm protected from zombie hordes, but risk being stranded by foot if your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. A nice town-home at the end of the block may be a more valuable option for the explorer that needs to loot nearby for resources. You have your pick from 13 different housing options. Facilities in home can be created and upgraded, but there’s limited space to work with. Building a kitchen helps fight the stamina issues amongst the group. A sleeping quarters is handy for your survivors to gain rest, and upgrading a lookout tower will keep your safe zone alert and protected.
Stats – It’s crucial in this game to make sure stats are in good shape. Rule #1 in Zombieland is Cardio. If you don’t have good cardio, how are you even going to outrun the zombies when they come for you? When you run around and swing melee weapons around, your stamina depletes. While it’s recharged over time, having good cardio to begin with prevents this. Each character has RPG like stats that you can level up by doing things to meet the requirements. Need more gun experience, shoot zombies more. Running out of breath every few steps? Climb up on that treadmill for some good cardio! Everything you do is rewarding. You can even level up your wit skill to help you search for hidden treasures more quickly.
- Combat – Fighting in State of Decay is well… fighting. Controls are pretty basic and and you have two different ways to go about combat: Stealth and Brute Force. Playing stealthy will allow players to sneak around, all while being pretty quiet. This helps with creeping up on lone zombies and you can swiftly execute them with your LB and Y button to take them out undetected. I couldn’t handle this with my patience level so I had to go the Brute force route! Grab those weapons, stomp around and get some bloody head-shots. Hand to hand combat with the Zeds is pretty brutal. That means blood spurting everywhere and of course the sound effects. Once a zombie is downed, you can tap your Y button to deliver a finishing blow to the head. Some of the final moves are pretty sick and I do mean sick. Almost too much, but yet, it is the reanimated we’re talking about here. Combat does feel clunky at times and there’s no specific lock on, but the job will get done.
Supplies and Weapons– Supplies are needed just as much as it is to keep outrunning the Zeds. Searching locations for items for the community can fill up your backpack pretty quick. Items can vary from notes left behind, medicine, weapons and the occasional piece of junk. Your Home base needs to keep fully stocked on the basic item needs such as Food, Medicine, Ammo, Construction Materials and more. Daily portions of all of these are used, so keep a good eye on what you need to gather on supply runs. Weapons are crucial to survival and will break over time. While they can’t really be repaired unless a workshop has been built, they will last for a good while. Make sure everyone in your group has a couple of weapons on them and healing items.
Survivors – Some are friendly, others not so trustworthy. It’s not necessary to take on more survivors than needed but this will build a stronger army for your defense. From exploring, you’ll get tired and need to switch out to another friendly survivor in your group to keep yourself from exhaustion. This makes the game unique by being able to switch between allies which all have their own different stats and personalities. Treat survivors in your group with care and they’ll do you good. Send them out on supply missions alone and see if they return back. Sometimes they may not and need you to come to the rescue. Allies and your main character can end up dying if you become overrun. (happened to me 4 times, so don’t fret) If you die, it’s literally game over for that character and your community will be affected by the lost of their friend. It’s important to keep a good morale in your home community to be able to use good weapons and help with the load. Situations may occur where an ally falls sick, and we all know what that means in an apocalypse. (Grab that gun) Everyone looks to a leader in that situation, so don’t be a jerk. Outside survivors can either be dangerous or helpful by giving you a supply pack every once in a while.
This game isn’t perfect. I’ve ran into a glitch that kept me from progressing in a side mission. I’ve seen zombies float through walls and hump the concrete. AI jumps in the way of your molotov every once in a while. The frame rate loads textures slowly, especially the landscape while driving. There is some uninspired dialogue which gets annoying after hearing the same 2 voices after supply runs. The couple issues the game needs to improve on are just minor little things. While scavenging for supplies, once you find a stack of materials your rucksack is completely filled. The only way to drop the supplies off is to head all the way back to home base (not your outlooks) to dump off the supplies. While realistic, this is an annoyance. If I happen to be down at the fairgrounds with a rucksack packed to the maximum, I need to drive ALL the way back home to empty this. There are pickup trucks in the game that should be used to carry and transport multiple bags. All State of Decay fans would LOVE this option. Clearing the streets sometimes would be much easier if you had the option to bring an ally along with you, but the game only allows this with few random missions. The use of multiple survivors would be greatly appreciated. Also my other gripe is with saving. There should be an option to save your game as you please. Since this is an open world game it’s more convenient than just waiting for whenever the icon decides to appear. The only way that I could get the save to work on command is to go into the game options and change a stat like sound volume. That’s what I had to do to save my games. It’s a small hassle that can easily be fixed.
State of Decay not only pleases players with the destruction of the zombies, but gives them a sense of heroism. You aren’t just living out a preplanned story, you’re creating and determining your own fate. Missions expire some times, allies may die and some get saved. This is all up to the players choice. You have your community to protect and build up. You can be a leader or an outlaw. The open world is immensely huge and there’s never not anything to do in this game. The choices and outcome of what happens in the game will certainly test you. State of Decay brings a unique spin to the classic survival story we’re most used to. The game has it’s minor bugs, with choppy loading textures and somewhat clunky combat, but yet it’s still SO enjoyable and addicting to play making it a favorite zombie survival game to date! Give it a go by trying out the 30 minute long demo on XBL Arcade. Just remember, don’t drink the water.
Played for over 62 hours