Tuesday, 22 May 2018 13:00

REVIEW: State Of Decay 2 (Xbox One)

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State of Decay 2 is Undead Labs’ long awaited follow up to its 2013 post-apocalyptic zombie survival game and is set 15 months after the initial outbreak.

State of Decay 2 kicks off by having you choose between several sets of two characters, each of which has a backstory detailing who they are and what their relationship is with each other. After selecting what pair of characters you’re going to play as, you’ll have to decide one of three maps to start on. From here, you’ll then need to establish a home base where your group will live and be required to construct things like an infirmary or a workshop. Once you’ve found a home base, the game begins. Each of these bases, or outposts has a storage locker where you can place health items, ammo and craftable materials etc, and then there's a separate area for dumping community resources that you’ve collect from exploring.

Gameplay wise, State of Decay 2 adopts a sandbox style approach. It has a good mix of story missions aswell as other randomised missions that mostly consist of scavenging runs, killing zombies or travelling from point A to point B in order to bring back any resources you’ve found and collected. These resources can then be used to upgrade your home base. By the time you’ve done a few runs collecting resources your current character will be low on energy and will need a rest for all his/or hers hard work. So, before heading out again, let them rest and then head out again with a different character.

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What sets State of Decay 2 apart from other games in this genre is the fact that you’re not playing as a single character, but more as a community. This gives State of Decay 2 a unique atmosphere. Working as a community is key otherwise you’ll run the risk of it all falling apart. As you play, you’ll come across survivors that can join your community and as mentioned before, you’ll be able to switch and play as them at any time. Playing as different characters is a must as each one has their own randomised set of skills and traits.

The world you’ll explore in is a small town in America and consists of small clusters of buildings such as gas stations, diners and farmhouses. Everything between these buildings are small open farms, roads and mountains. Pretty much all the locations you can explore will have something for you to loot, whether it’s a new weapon, food, medical supplies or building resources. Once you’ve cleaned out one place, you’ll move onto the next and so on. Some of these locations will also give you the ability to claim it as another safe outpost. And just like the first State of Decay game, climbing to elevated places such as radio towers and scanning with your binoculars lets you survey the surrounding area for potential places to explore and resources to collect.

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Loot isn’t the only thing you’ll find hanging around these locations. Sometimes a particular house will be infested with zombies until you clean it out. You’ll even find other groups of survivors that have taken up residence in a house which you’ll be able to trade with or send you off on quests to be able to earn their trust. There are also ‘plague hearts’, which will spawn a infectious variety of zombie and act like mini-bosses which are marked around the map. Defending these will clear the area of zombies, and you’ll need to do this across all the maps to complete them 100%.

State of Decay 2 has pretty satisfying melee combat and shooting, that’s if you have enough ammo at your disposal. Special zombies like screamers or bloaters can put a spanner in the works pretty fast. You’re best bet here is to try and catch them by surprise with a single headshot or sneak up on them and execute a stealth takedown before the shit hits the fan.

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What really makes State of Decay 2 even more enjoyable is the co-op aspect. You can call on your own friends for help. Up to three friends can connect to your game at any time, as long as you have your game session open. Joining someone else’s game doesn’t change how the game works, you can still improve your skills and earn influence, you just don’t need to worry about what your group is doing as much. The only real issue that we ran into was if you are all wondering off too far from each other the game will forcibly put you all back together. If you don’t have any friends to party up with don’t worry, you can also call on random players with matchmaking.

So, is State of Decay 2 worth picking up this time around? I think so. The sequel is a huge improvement over the original and offers far more to do. Though, while some might find the game a little repetitive, those that love a good zombie survival horror game should enjoy it.

Additional Info

  • Review Score: 4.0 / 5.0
  • Release Date: Out Now
  • Platform: PC, XBOX ONE
  • Developer: Undead Labs
  • Publisher: Microsoft Studios
  • Genre: Multiplayer, Action / Adventure