So I am a total SOD noob, I didn’t play the first one so I have nothing to compare it to, so my review is completely here as a fresh perspective on the series. With that being said please find below my full review of State Of Decay 2.
State Of Decay 2 is set some time after the first game, with the zombie or monster virus having well and truly set in. The difference with this game is the story is not linear, it is a complete open sandbox that allows you to choose different priorities and as events happen different missions become more critical and if you don’t prioritise people die, houses get stormed and zombie hoards obliterate your friends and allies. It is a harrowing experience and one that has kept me motivated to keep playing this game as the various bugs and graphical limitations made it a little frustrating.
State Of Decay will be released May 22 exclusively on Xbox One and Windows 10. The game is a rip roaring time of equal parts frustration and enjoyment as you steal a vehicle and plow through enemies trapping and ripping them apart, setting out a mission to help survivors that are far away and not having enough petrol to get you there and back which results in the survivors you helped dying and you barely making it with your life. The game honestly never lets up and focuses on the task of surviving the day (and night) as opposed to going through main and side missions to complete the game. This is definitely a major appeal of the game, it is a completely fresh take on an over saturated genre that could easily get forgotten in the slew of un-dead games that are constantly being released.
Apart from your normal zombies there are also Screamers, horrible frighting creatures that howl and attract other zombies to their location which can in turn surround and utterly destroy you. You definitely want to locate these on your map and take them out discreetly and quickly. Gas filled bloaters are best to avoid and Juggernauts need to be approached with extreme caution as they will completely rip you apart.
Visually the game is gorgeous for what it is, that being said don’t expect any “God Of War” like graphics. That being said the graphics are used spectacularly to create mood, in particular the transition from day to night is quite spectacular and adds to the eeriness of the environment. Similarly the sound is amazing, I used the official Xbox headset to play this and was impressed as you could hear a zombie hoard headed your way or a wayward straggler zombie creeping up slowly (or sometimes not so slowly) behind me.
There is a multiplayer mode which I only had a small chance to explore as playing this prior to release date didn’t have too many opportunities and when I did connect it was not entirely playable, that being said this could be due to my mostly crappy internet connection (thanks NBN!) and the game being in a pre-release state. I look forward to hopefully jumping into this and exploring more as the game gets released and this review will be updated when I have more of a chance to explore this.
Maintaining your inventory in this game is also a major part of this game, the items you can carry are limited and if you decide to carry a bag with more storage for more items it will physically slow your character down considerably. It’s this kind of detail and thought that helps this game stand out from the rest. Foraging is an important part of this game and deciding what to use to upgrade your home base all contributes to making them feel secure and provided with basics like food and water. It is a brilliant system that doesn’t have any dollar value but is purely mission needs based to manage the items you carry.
State Of Decay 2 has completely won me over, as mentioned I have not played the previous game, this game won me over with its beautiful open and sprawling world, interesting characters and mission style that is unlike any other zombie game I have ever played. I grew to care about the crew at my home base and while completing missions to help them is other games feel like a fetch quest, in this game it feels rewarding (or devastating depending on the path you choose!) and this really helps make State Of Decay something special. I look forward to exploring more and jumping into multiplayer as the game goes live.
State Of Decay 2 releases exclusively on Xbox One and Windows 10 on May 22.
Review by Alaisdair Leith
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