Have you ever wondered how you would fare in a world where the undead have overrun all semblance of a modern day society?
Have you been hoarding food, firearms and munitions, toiletries, and valuable trade commodities like alcohol in preparation of the eventual day when legions of Zombies suddenly appear?
Well, you might not be alone as Undead Labs have created a handy simulator for you to experience what you know one day may be coming. Enter State Of Decay 2, a game in which your only task is to survive the hordes of undead and violent outriders that seek only their own preservation in the dark future only a Zombie outbreak can assimilate.
Note – This game was reviewed on Xbox One.
Developer & Publisher // Undead Labs & Xbox Game Studios
Platforms // PC, Xbox One
MSRP & Release Date // $29.99, May 22nd, 2018
Reviewed On // Xbox One
In State Of Decay 2, you begin your journey entering a once active military encampment that served as a final vestige of a city slowly crumbling under the weight of the brain-hungry masses creeping around its borders. As you work your way through this camp in search of medical supplies and a new weapon you find that the only faces waiting to greet you are the disfigured maws of the undead that have laid barren this once final hope of restoring civilization.
As you and another procedurally generated survivor start to succumb to the realization that you may suffer the same demise as so many that sought refuge within the barricade of this societies final hope; A lone soldier with a rifle saves your life.
Every new community you create in State Of Decay 2 can start in one of two ways. On your first playthrough, you will have a short tutorial that has you face the horrors that lay within the aforementioned encampment. Once you have completed your first community you will then have the option of choosing survivors from it to move on to another town, and try to rebuild again.
Every community you create has you denote a leader whose personality will shape the adventure and goals your survivors will pursue.
Along your journey to rebuild society you come across many different mutations of the undead. First and foremost is the standard “Zombie”, they tend to travel and congregate in groups, you’ll want to prioritize taking these enemies down with a sneak attack from behind or just using your melee weapon and dodging incoming attackers.
Very early on you will be introduced to an enemy called a “Plague Zombie” and these are a little more alarming on your first encounter. Their skin has a boiled, bloody complexion, and their eyes glow red. They tend to be a bit more aggressive than your run of the mill Zombie and they run the chance of infecting you with something called “Blood Plague” which will cause your survivor to slowly change into a zombie. This process can be halted by gathering medical supplies and crafting a plague cure from a [medical wing] at your base.
There are several other monsters you can encounter in your struggle for survival in State Of Decay 2.
One of which, the Bloater. This grotesque pile of undead excrement is basically a big stinky balloon with legs. They tend to be found in hoards of Zombies or laying on the ground waiting for you to walk close enough for them to blow up trapping you in a cloud of gasses that will drain your life and cause you to suffer from gas inhalation; A status debuff causing you to have temporarily lower stamina.
The next freaky undead hell-spawn you’ll encounter out in the world of State Of Decay 2 is the Feral. The Feral is very aggressive animalistic Zombie that will wander around on all fours and charge you the instant it catches you in its sights or if you make too much noise while moving around. These zombies can be quite troublesome as they can difficult to shoot down before they close the gap between you. Once they get in close they’ll swipe at your survivors causing them to sustain flesh wounds that will temporarily lower their overall health.
The final more troublesome Zombie you’ll find roaming the world of State Of Decay 2 is called the Juggernaut. This Zombie is large hulking brute that eats bullets and explosives alike all while smashing cars and tearing your survivors in half. These monsters tend to stomp around wherever they end up, shouting, and pumping their arms. It’s best to try to avoid them if possible and only take them on with other survivors or with enough ammo and places to hide in order to avoid them grabbing you and opening you like a cheap package of beef jerky.
Early on, a survivor will have a strange request involving investigating some locations where Plague Zombies seem to congregate in order to obtain ‘Plague Samples’. In this task you come across your main goal to restore humanity, destroying ‘Plague Hearts’. These hearts spew a reddish gas that will permeate out of buildings and attract Plague Zombies en masse. Attacking these Hearts will require deploying diversionary tactics like a simple firecracker or setting up a boombox to attract zombies while you hack away or shoot up the Heart. Wiping out a Plague Heart will immediately kill Plague Zombies in the nearby area and clear out the toxic red gas the Plague Hearts emit.
In your quest to destroy the Plague Hearts and clear your town of Blood Plague you will come across many survivors in need of help or supplies. They can have their own base where you can spark up trades and improve your overall standing with the group. You can also save survivors from a rough situation like having a Feral chase them into an infested building or getting separated from their group and needing help traveling safely. Typically, from helping survivors you can get valuable supplies or get the survivor to join your group.
Getting more survivors in your community is one of the most important aspects of progressing in State Of Decay 2. By acquiring more survivors you can utilize more ‘Labor’ in order to build more facilities, you can acquire people who are hard working or take up less bed space by being insomniacs. The survivors can also have negative traits that may cause them to use more bed space by being hoarders or being lazy can impact the overall labor your community produces.
You won’t always come across NPCs that are looking to trade or for you to help them, some survivors will contact you over the radio and verbally threaten you. If you decline their requests or just ignore them they will become hostile. When a group of survivors becomes hostile they’ll shoot at you on sight and can sometimes even try to steal resources from your base.
Since State Of Decay 2’ s launch in May of 2018, there have been several DLC’s that have been released to expand the experience State Of Decay 2 offers.
The first of the available extra content for State Of Decay 2 is the Independence Pack; Offering several new projectile weapons, vehicles, and melee weapons for you to choose from. All these items are available from the start of a new community.
The vehicles are pretty fun since they all are designed to be different than any normal or upgraded vehicle in the base game. You’ll be able to do things like spraying fire to get Zombies off your car or shoot fireworks to lure Zombies towards your car one will even drop piles of meat out of the back to attract the Zombies. The weapons all utilize fireworks as their ammo and can deal quite a bit of damage to Plague Hearts very quickly. This DLC is a decent buy if you’re looking to add some more absurdity to the game and want some helpful items to make another play-through easier to start.
The second DLC that has been added to the game is DayBreak. In this expansion instead of just adding items, you can summon during the main campaign you’ll have a new mode added to the main menu. In this new game mode, you take the role as a randomly generated Red Talon member tasked with protecting a technician while they try to activate a military satellite console in order to get access to a system called ‘CLEO’. The mode is a literal horde mode where waves of Zombies will attack a barricade you and your teammates set up and try to defend. As you progress through the waves you will have pods dropping in containing new weapons and supplies from CLEO. The weapons are all very powerful and collecting these pods can propel your team to clearing very difficult waves. As you continue to clear wave after wave of Zombies you will reach milestones that will unlock a CLEO package that will grant you immediate access to special weapons on the first wave of DayBreak. As you continue to unlock CLEO packs they will start to become available in your main community.
Zombies aren’t the only aggressors that you’ll encounter in your desperate attempt at acquiring new weapons that could help humanity fight back against the undead tide. You’ll encounter many bloaters that will try to sneak in close enough with the Zombies so they can gas your team close to your walls causing your team to be unable to melee or get a clear sight on zombies at your barricades. Ferals also show up in abundance and they can be troublesome as they leap over your barricades and rush right towards your technician. Day-Z also introduces a new terrifying Juggernaut that has contracted blood plague; These Juggernaut’s are even more aggressive than their non-blood plagued counterparts and leave trails of red gasses that will cause your survivors to take damage to their health and contract blood plague.
On top of this, these Juggernaut’s are also horrifying…
I’ve really enjoyed this DLC and find it to be a very fun take on the whole “siege” horde mode. The co-op games are quick to jump into and depending on your team and finish quickly. I highly recommend this DLC if you’ve enjoyed the base game of State Of Decay 2 and are looking for some new content.
The newest “DLC” to State Of Decay 2 is actually available for free as it’s part of the 5.0 patch released on the 16th of November. In this new patch, your survivors will be able to equip crossbows and a bunch of new swords as weapons. I can’t wait to get on a play this new patch and if you’re interested in reading all the new content available in the ZedHunter or about reading everything changed in Patch 5.0 you can check out more at https://www.stateofdecay.com/
In conclusion, State Of Decay 2 is a solid game; The story isn’t a grandiose adventure where you’re tasked with saving the entire world or discovering the root cause of the Zombie outbreak your task is to save what’s salvageable. Even though you won’t always get what you want out of the procedurally generated survivors they often offer some nice lore, typically you’ll see a group of people with military fatigues and they’ll offer missions regarding taking back infested areas or convicts that are looking for a second chance where their abilities reflect their previous lifestyle. Within the base game you may find that it all becomes somewhat repetitive but ultimately the game plays like a build your own adventure; It’s most fun when you’re taking risks.
The biggest shortcoming within State Of Decay 2 is its buggy nature. It’s when you’re driving and accidentally slide into a wall, park a trashed car, lag during online play, or when Zombies are on the second floor of a house and they try to jump out a window. Now, this is not to say that the game unplayable or even not enjoyable because of the bugs. In my opinion, State of Decay 2 is good enough that you’ll enjoy the game even with strange occurrences happening within the engine.
The music and graphics of the game work very well, overall it’s a great looking game and there have been no instances in my experience where there were bugs causing players or enemies to be distorted.
Multiplayer is fun and a helpful feature. If you have a community that is late in the game and needs supplies you’ll want to jump into some multiplayer and help some other survivors out. The game loads additional containers for each character so there’s no competition for loot and trading is a viable option. The only downfall of multiplayer is that if you’re not hosting the game you’ll be tethered to your buddy but the distance is fairly large.