State of Decay 2

Let’s start with the game I have been playing a lot since it came out.

State of Decay 2, is available on Xbox One, and on the computer through the Microsoft store. (It is now available on steam but not all the cross connectivity is in the steam version)

State of Decay 2 is a zombie apocalypse, base building, survival game, which involves several stages.

Initially, you have to scavenge for materials to build up a simple base, which you very quickly discover is too small and inadequate as you start to build up the size of your community. This leads you to scavenge for more parts to get a bigger base and build that up. The initial goal is to have a base which if possible increases your resources or at the very least doesn’t diminish your resources.

The mid-game stage is to find and destroy all the plague hearts on the maps which the game story says is where all the infected zombies are coming from.

With the final stage being to complete a series of missions which will recreate society in the region.

My personal history with the game must include having played many times the original State of Decay, which I also loved.

The original game had lots of bugs, was clearly an indie game with very simple sketch images through out the menu system. The game was also highly immersive, had a rustic comic book visual appeal and was the closes thing to a sneaking around, looting, Walking Dead simulator.

It was hard and produced genuine anxiety as you played. It had a strong campaign with characters in the community you came to love. The connection the game built between you and the game characters via a system employing perma-death made the death of any of them something you emotionally hated experiencing, so you took great care to avoid that loss.

State of Decay 2, was a much anticipated return to this franchise. But it came with mixed feelings due to the changes between 1 and 2.

State of Decay 2, had much better graphics, so much so that when I went to replay the original game I just could not do it. (Dev’s if you read this please remaster the first game.)

Like the original game it came fully loaded with bugs. A lot of them have been fixed yet I still fall of ladders forcing me to change characters and abandon missions.

A recent end game mission as a sheriff required killing a rival community, yet even with the most powerful gun in the game the 50 cal, using all headshots they would not die. Yet when they got a shot off at my character, one headshot and my leader was dead.

We lost the ability to make home bases anywhere, and now have limited choices with restrictions on what you can build in base and where it can go.

At launch the game was far too easy, but that has been improved by the addition of two harder difficulty settings, which has brought back a lot of the stress into playing. This is especially so at night time when you can only see as far as your torch light reaches.

State of Decay 2 brought multi player, but again sort of limited. Yes, up to four players can join one person’s map and help them to complete missions, but I was expecting/wanting the ability to have a group of friends share a joint base. Live or die with the community in our base.

Sadly the story arc has been replaced by a series of mini missions. Probably a compromise resulting from the implementation of multi player, but it was not a good trade off. There was a separate game mode introduced which attempted to address this via a nostalgic return to the local from the original game. This was a great addition to the game but felt isolated as it could not be incorporated into the main game.

Now in my experience, the biggest loss of all was the total randomization of people in the world. Somehow this process removed that emotional connection with the characters so their death is no longer an emotionally stressful thing to be avoided. Now instead of grief at death, I just feel frustration over the loss of resources that character was bringing in.

Now I have just listed more things where State of Decay is worse than the original, and only a few areas where it’s better which might lead you to think I didn’t enjoy this game as much. But in fact, I love playing this game. While side by side the new game looks better but is missing features, I prefer State of Decay 2. The original was fantastic for it’s time, State of Decay 2 is equally fantastic for this current time.

Before I wrap up, I have to point out the positive interactions with the Dev’s. It is a credit to the people at Undead Labs, for the effort they have put into polishing the game, bug fixing, and expanding the game. They have regular live streams which involve answering questions, meeting the team, and showing what they have been working on. There are numerous give aways, some of which are quite good, and often try to work on community requests where possible.

Monetization in this era of shitty monetization practices had been fair and restrained. While I felt annoyed that the DLC I paid for was given away for free recently (though you got some in-game cosmetics) even when I paid for them they were not too bad. They have not tried introducing card packs, or crystal currency or other such crap.

If you like what I have written, and feel enticed to play the game, you can support the site by using the link below and purchase from Amazon Australia.

State of Decay 2

State of Decay 2, from Amazon Australia