State of Decay was a phenomenon that greatly exceeded expectations as it took zombie fans by storm just a few years ago. Now, years later and much, much bigger, State of Decay returns as the franchise returns more ambitious than ever.
Zombies aside, this is much more than your typical zombie game. They’re the threat, but State of Decay 2 is a game about people and moral decisions, calling the shots as our species is met with the possibility of extinction. Rather than taking on the role of a key survivor, players embody an entire community of survivors, all working together and playing their part as the world around them turns into a living(-dead) hell.
Starting off in a small town in the woods, players are tasked with finding medicine for one of the other survivors who is suffering from one of the newest threats: a blood plague, a disease that slowly turns individuals into mindless drones. The kicker: our survivor here, Laden, is the only one of us with a knowledge of medicine, which makes him a vital member of our community. Should we lose him, that’ll mean that this group of survivors will gain a severe disadvantage when it comes to healing wounded and sick characters, which could have terrible repercussions. For example, many of our community members have broken bones and various wounds, which will severely impact their performance in the field.
Riding into town, well partially, as our developer ran out of gas halfway, we are met with another group of survivors, seeking out our help as groups of infected seek to cause their demise. The answer to this call for help is what could influence our survival a lot. Do we put the mission in danger but possibly gain allies, or do we go for the medicine as we try to aid Laden? Reluctant saying yes, we head into battle as dozens of enemies, including new ones, such as the bleeders and screamers, come at us full force.Meanwhile, we’re informed that our mission to find may have been in vain, as Laden is seemingly already turning back at the homestead, prompting us to make our escape in a stolen police car. Arriving, our homestead is apparently under siege, turning yet another chance for stealth into a guns-blazing type of event, even taking the life of one of our newly joined survivors, showcasing that nothing lasts in the world of State of Decay 2 and that every decision matters.
Returning home we’re faced with the now-turning Laden, giving us two options; exile him and have him live on as a mindless shell or put an end to his life here and now. In a Gladiator-esque voting round (in which we members of the press were commended for our bloodthirst), Laden was unceremoniously shot down as we chose to not take a risk by letting Laden go free.
State of Decay 2 is first and foremost a simulation and RPG combined. With characters specialized in specific tasks such as combat, gardening, medicine and other various things, everybody has their role to play, and losing key members of the community could mean that your chances of survival are lowered severely. These decisions are what marks the thin line between a decision-driven RPG and a full-on simulation, as each playthrough can play out drastically different from the last, with our presenter even noting that this had been the most disastrous session of the day by far. The game also introduces cooperative play with up to 4 players, in which players can ask for help from other players or join games with their friends or random people in matchmaking, aiding their struggle to survive.The original State of Decay is a game that definitely deserves to be played, but its sequel is looking to be a great example of a sequel that hits the scale in the ambition of its predecessor.
State of Decay 2 is slated to hit Xbox One and PC early 2018. The first game is also available on Xbox One as the Year-One Survival Edition.