Score: 7/10 | SURVIVAL | HORROR | GRAPHIC
“The survival and community management aspects of State of Decay 2 are fantastic. This is further enhanced with the ability to play with up to 3 of your mates who can all contribute to your game as well as the followers they play with.”
State of Decay 2 is an open-world survival horror game developed by Undead Labs and published by Microsoft Game Studios in May 2018 for Xbox One and can be played on PC via Xbox Play Anywhere. This is great if you own both an Xbox and PC, as your game can be continued on both devices. Some days I just feel like gaming on the recliner couch in the theatre room with the glorious 110” screen, and other times I want to play on the PC. This game is a sequel to Undead Labs highly successful first State of Decay which was released in June 2013, initially exclusively for the Xbox 360, and then later for PC through Steam in November 2013.
If you were a fan of the first game, you will love the second one! There was a bit of backlash over the Xbox Play Anywhere version on PC through the Microsoft Store, especially with multiplayer. It took me and some of the Game on Australia players over a week to figure out how to get multiplayer working without dropouts (don’t alt-tab during multiplayer). Undead Labs have already released 4 major patches since release, and these have greatly improved bug fixes and increased performance.
When I played the original State of Decay, it was the first game that really gave me a true feeling of living inside Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead universe. Rather than trying something completely new with State of Decay 2, Undead Labs have simply enhanced almost everything from the first one. Scavenging for resources, melee and gun fighting, resource management and base/outpost management are all like the first game, only much more enhanced for current-gen game systems.
Community management has been further enhanced and is simple to use but very effective. Whilst your survivors each come with varying traits and skills, they also have potential leadership legacies of Sheriff, Warlord, Trader or Builder. You can only appoint one citizen to be the overall leader, and they will grant a bonus to your community depending on their leadership legacy.
Once you complete a playthrough of the story, you unlock legacy boons depending on what skill your leader had. My first playthrough was Rick Grimes-style as a Sheriff. This now gives any new game I play the bonus of receiving a delivery of high quality items each day. Once you unlock more legacies, you can apply up to two per new game.
Eradicating plague hearts is the main mission of the game and you will face a multitude of them. These are designated by a red symbol on your map. Once you get close to a plague heart you will notice a lot more blood zombies – the ones with red eyes as opposed to the usual orange. There will also be a red haze in the air where prolonged exposure to the blood plague means you can eventually contract the virus. You’ve got limited time to use a cure, which you learnt to craft in the early stages of the game, or the infected follower will be turned into a zombie.
Plague hearts are relatively easy to take down early game, however they get harder with each subsequent kill. It is best to first clear the immediate area of plague zombies, and ensure you’re armed with explosives like Molotov cocktails, soda bombs or grenades and a decent gun. A few explosives and they’re down. Once you destroy a plague heart, all the nearby plague zombies will also die.
There are zombie infestations that will pop up on the map regularly and if left unchecked will negatively influence the morale of your community. One good trick to eradicating an infestation is to have a fully repaired vehicle, preferably a pickup truck or something sturdy that can take some hits. Park yourself out the front of the house, beep your horn a few times and wait for the zombies to bust out of the house. Line them up and run ‘em down! Each infestation will have 2-3 screamer zombies. Take these down fast as they will scream and attract more.
There are still occasions in the game where my vehicle gets stuck, and my latest incident occured when i reversed over a dead cow on a farm – yep, got my truck stuck. I had to use another vehicle to bump it off. There are also random times in the environment where I’ve hit an invisible object, or that time when i wedged a second pickup truck in a bay made for one. I logged off with the two cars side by side, but when I logged back in the car shot backwards, into the air and then landed on it’s roof.
Where this game really shines though is through multiplayer. Whilst playing the original game I kept thinking, this game would be amazing if it had co-op. State of Decay 2 allows you and up to 3 mates (or you can use the radio to call in randoms) to login and slay zombies together. It’s a heap of fun and you are rewarded based on the longer you play and how much you help contribute to the host’s game. You cannot keep the supply rucksacks you find but anything else you pick up is fair game, and you have access to your game’s inventory supplies. This is an awesome feature and really extended my enjoyment of the game.
Overall, I give State of Decay 2 a 7/10. The survival and community management aspects of State of Decay 2 are fantastic. This is further enhanced with the ability to play with up to 3 of your mates who can all contribute to your game as well as the followers they play with. The game is out now on Xbox One and in the Microsoft Store for $49.95, or if you have an Xbox Game Pass subscription, you can play the game for free as well as hundreds of other eligible Xbox game titles.
This review utilised both Xbox One and Xbox Play Anywhere on PC with 34 hours of gameplay. The game is rated R18+ High Impact Violence, General Online Interactivity.