[CENTER]State of Decay: 8.5
When one thinks of a Zombie Survival game they usually picture Treyarch Studio’s infamous COD: World at War zombies that have become the poster boy of the Zombie video game movement. The idea of fighting wave after wave of deadly Zombie hell bent on the single purpose of eating you and your friends defeating them with an array of weapons and surviving in different environments that has become almost a past time to many zombie enthusiasts. However the Zombie genre has grown stale over the last couple of years and needed some juice to spice it up. Enter State of Decay.
The State of Decay is a interesting hybrid creature of open world survival, zombie horror, and an RPG all mashed up together. The game, unlike others within its genre such as Left 4 Dead and Dead Island, focuses more on survival, stealth, evasion, distraction, securing resources, and moving through the world rather than actual zombie combat. It brings an element in tune with Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, but maintains the fun of dismembering zombies left and right. Released to Xbox 360 Live Arcade, the game was developed by Undead Labs, a new player in the world of electronic gaming, and published by the veteran Microsoft Studios. Having sold more than 250,000 copies (well over projected estimates) and climbing it is one of the most successful games of the Quarter 2 season. After playing this game thoroughly I have given it the rating of 8.8 out of a possible 10 points. In the below segment I will describe why I gave the game the above rating and describe the internal works for a better overall understanding.
Game Play: As stated above State of Decay is a open world survival game with a Sandbox style of gaming similar to Elder Scrolls: Skrim and the Fallout series. It entails surviving the numerous hordes and specialized zombies that roam across the land in the interest of eating you and your companions. Your every action, and decision effect the outcome of the game and whether you and your NPC community will survive. The game smoothly introduces to the player how the game works, tips to survive, and the unique combat system (Points for this). You play as one member of your party, armed with a melee weapon and/or gun, and can switch between other members that you "befreind," during the course of the game.
You gain control of a small base, a community that has other NPC members that survived too. You gain the ability to build add-ons to your base t0 increase survival rate, (Garden, Workshop, Bunk Room, Guard Tower), bring in new survivors to grow your community, and eventually move to another “Home Base” location with any of the 3 towns on the map. In order to survive you must collect resources (Food, Medical, Guns, Construction Material, Fuel) to grow your base and allow the members of your community to thrive. Failure to do so can lead to your base being destroyed by zombies; or worse having a member become a zombie through sickness.
This system is easy for the player to understand and learn to exploit better as the game goes on (Points here as well). You find resource by savaging and looting houses, which forces the player to interact with the world and explore (Ingenious in my opinion). You are also offered missions from the storyline, addition side quest NPC missions, and resource missions you can trigger from your base. As you carry out these missions and explore though you will run into zombies….EVERYWHERE!!! Boss zombies, Hordes of zombies, specialized zombies, and even zombified animals. You can choose whether to engage them or run/drive away; something I learned the hard way to do at times.
Eventually the player gains access to abilities that he can use to assist him such as artillery, Reinforcements, healing. The threat of death is one of many problems you need to balance. Degrading weapons, flaming cars, influence within the community, and the morale of your characters need constant attention. All of these things are depleting, the missions to find food or collect ammunition never feel like you’re amassing anything large; it feels like you’re just keeping your head above water – a plus for the genre.
I have never played a zombie game that so clearly hammered home this hanging-by-a-thread breed of desperation. All of this runs smoothly into a system that is easy for any player, noob or veteran, and presents a very well made game that, in this writer’s opinion, should be its own stand-alone game.
Combat: The system introduces a unique fighting system between melee and ranged. There are over 90 ranged weapons from SAW to SMG, Handguns and grenades with about 30-40 melee weapons of varying sorts.
Most of the time you fight zombies with melee, choosing from Edged, Blunt, or Heavy weapons that often end with a very gratifying CRUNCH!!!
On one occasion using a garden hose I wiped a poor zombie to death; bloody fun if you ask me. However the ranged side is less-than-impressive and could use work. When you have a gun, for example a SMG, you simple pull left trigger and shoot. Additionally the average zombie can soak up a retarded amount of fire before going down. I found that one zombie took 2 clips of 30 round magazines from my SMG before dying. However shoot it in the head and it’s an insta pop…..very annoying and unbalanced. Thus I must take a few points from this, though overall combat is highly enjoyable and often interesting in the approach you take for it.
Story: A very well written story that is backed by surprising elements that give twists to the plot line and keeps the players always expecting more. You start off as Marcus and his friend Ed on a camping trip up in the mountains. When you return one day you find people dead, and the survivors gathered at the ranger station. After conducting the basic tutorial, which was very well designed and easy to understand, you leave the campground and strike out into the open-world. Throughout the game the story missions will pop up at random, prompting the player to engage them when they feel like in; something I found very enjoyable on my zombie rave hunts
However the story is also very shallow at times, reading like an old comic strip and lacking the fire of the Mass Effect3 or Gears of War series (subtracting from score).
Graphics: State of Decay uses the infamous Cry Engine 3 that is found in the popular Crisis series and Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2. The graphics give a good blend that is easy on the eyes, and allows for very small detail; giving the world a very descriptive look. The system works well with combat, and even gives it the realism sense of actual combat against an undead enemy. However the environmental pop-in was very annoying and on numerous counts my car came to an unexpected stop because it hit a tree or fence that had not appeared yet. The rare screen tearing is distracting at best, and the terrible collision results in zombies passing through solid objects – like walls and trucks – with alarming regularity. I encountered a few issues with dialogue as well in the town of Marshall which I was not pleased on.
Replay Value: High. Game gives different experience each time it is played, and no two games are every the same.
Multi-Player: Well…….since there isn’t any……kind of hard to rate. I had to deduct 5 points for a complete lack of Multiplayer. However I have heard rumors of a possible DLC to fix this issue; though only time will tell if that is true or not.
In the end State of Decay is a well made game that needs to have its system patched and it’s game play spiced a little. Good for the Zombie and RPG fans, a worthwhile investment of $20 bucks that will keep you entertained for some days to come. Overall does need work, but I give it a health 8.5
. A good video I found of game play is linked below for those who want a further look into how it is done.